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Mark Ballas Returns to ‘Dancing With the Stars’ for Season 31 After 5-Year Absence

Mark Ballas Returns to 'DWTS' for Season 31 After 6 Years
Mark Ballas. Mediapunch/Shutterstock

Comeback king! Mark Ballas will once again be hitting the dance floor on Dancing With the Stars, five years after he exited the show after season 25.

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The professional dancer, 36, is set to make his return on season 31 of the dance competition, ABC revealed on Thursday, September 8, as part of the full cast announcement.

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The Texas native is partnered with TikTok star Charli D’Amelio, who will make her DWTS debut when the season premieres on Disney+ on September 19. Charli’s mom, Heidi D’Amelio, will also be showing off her moves in the ballroom, alongside partner Artem Chigvintsev.

Along for the ride are DWTS mainstays including Cheryl Burke, Peta Murgatroyd, Emma Slater, Gleb Savchenko, Val Chmerkovskiy, Sasha Farber and Witney Carson. The show’s inaugural season on the streaming service will also see A-listers including Selma Blair, Teresa Giudice, Bachelorette Gabby Windey, Jersey Shore’s Vinny Guadagnino, Wayne Brady and more compete for their chance at a mirrorball trophy.

Prior to leaving the show in 2017, Ballas starred on 19 seasons of the fan-favorite reality show, winning the coveted mirrorball trophy twice — both times with Olympians as partners. The Alexander Jean singer first claimed victory during season 6 with Olympic figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi, taking home the top prize two years later with Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson by his side. He was last paired with electric violinist Lindsey Stirling and the duo placed second in the season 25 finale.

Ballas’ long-awaited return comes on the heels of multiple DWTS pros revealing their decision to take a step back ahead of season 31.

Last month, Sharna Burgess and Lindsay Arnold announced that they would not be competing on the upcoming season, with each dancer citing their respective families as the reason they decided to sit this one out.

“I wanted to let you all know that I have decided not to be a part of Dancing With the Stars this season,” Arnold, 28, shared via Instagram at the time, calling the choice “one of the hardest decisions to make.”

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“Ultimately, I have chosen what I feel is best for myself and my family,” she added, noting that she and husband Sam Cusick, with whom she shares 2-year-old daughter Sage, plan to “grow” their family.

Burgess, for her part, welcomed her first child, Zane, with husband Brian Austin Green in June. Last month, the 37-year-old Australia native explained that part of the reason she opted not to return to the ballroom was because she “was not ready to spend, at minimum, 10 hours a day away from Zane,” she said in her Instagram Story video.

Still, the new mom “will be there in some capacity,” she teased at the time, adding, “We’re still talking about that.”

Season 31 of Dancing With the Stars premieres on Disney+ September 19 at 8 p.m. ET.

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