If you are part of the cool cats and kittens community that fell in love with Carole Baskin from the Netflix series Tiger King, then there‘s fantastic news for you all. Baskin is taking a break from her duties at the animal sanctuary to kill it at the Dancing with the Stars dance floor (pun intended).
To win the Mirror Ball trophy, the 59-year-old might need to pull out her claws against Jeannie Mai of The Real, rapper Nelly, Chrishell Stause of Selling Sunset, NFL tight end Vernon Davis, actress Anne Heche, Cheer coach Monica Aldama, and Jesse Metcalfe from Desperate Housewives. Catfish star Nev Schulman, actress Skai Jackson, Knick‘s basketball player Charles Oakley, actress Justina Machado, Kaitlyn Bristowe of The Bachelorette, Backstreet Boy AJ McClean, and figure skater Johnny Weir.
The big-cat rights activist and CEO of Big Cat Rescue revealed to Good Morning America her reasons to be part of the show. “Well, Tiger King really glamorized animal abusers and villainized me for trying to stop animal abuse, so I felt really betrayed by that, but what amazed me was how many people believe that false portrayal of me without doing anything to find out who I really am,” she said. ”It‘s been a nightmare since Tiger King aired.”
Baskin said she is hopeful that people will get to know the real “Carole Baskin” and forget about all the allegations and the misconstructed idea of her being a bad person. ”I really hope so, and the biggest thing for me is the longer my partner, and I can stay in the running, and in the competition, it will keep the cats’ forefront in the viewer’s eye,” she revealed. ”To me, that was where Tiger King missed the ball. It really should‘ve been focused on the animals, and so I’m hoping Dancing With the Stars will do that.”
The contestant also said if she plans to be merciless during her performances. “I am competitive, but I am competitive with myself,” she explained. ”I want to do the very best that I can possibly do.”
Season 29 of Dancing with the Stars is expected to be different from the previous shows for multiple reasons, including this is the first time the dance competition television series will be produced during a pandemic. Among the show’s novelties is the participation of iconic supermodel, businesswoman, actress, television personality, and author, Tyra Banks, who will serve as the new host and as an executive producer, in replacement of co-hosts Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews.
“OK, let‘s just keep this real: It is going to be so next level,” Banks said during an appearance in Good Morning America. “We’re doing all this crazy stuff, taking it into the next level, but still keeping the stuff that we know America loves. But you need to get ready because it’s going to be different.”
Although this season comes with tons of surprises, fans of the show can expect familiar faces. Professional dancers Sharna Burgess, Peta Murgatroyd, Val Chmerkovskiy, Cheryl Burke, Keo Motsepe, Jenna Johnson, Alan Bersten, Brandon Armstrong, Sasha Farber, Pasha Pashkov, Emma Slater, and Gleb Savchenko will be back on to the stage. Newbies like Britt Stewart and Daniella Karagach will also join the cast.
Watch Dancing with the Stars season 29 on September 14 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.