The Dancing with the Stars season 22 cast will include a celebrity contestant that will present a unique challenge for his pro partner. According to recent reports, America’s Next Top Model winner Nyle DiMarco has signed on for the reality dance competition. Nyle is deaf, so his partner might need to start brushing up on her ASL (American Sign Language).
E! News recently confirmed that Nyle DiMarco will be the second deaf contestant to compete on Dancing with the Stars. Actress Marlee Matlin, and her pro partner, Fabian Sanchez, came in seventh place during season 6.
Nyle, who describes himself as “sexually fluid,” was the first-ever deaf contestant to compete on America’s Next Top Model, and he was supposed to be the show’s very last winner — last year, CW announced that the modeling competition would be ending after season 22. However, Variety reports that VH1 is reviving the show without Tyra Banks as its host, and Nyle DiMarco’s appearance on DWTS could generate interest in the ANTM reboot.
According to PureDWTS, DiMarco’s pro partner will be Peta Murgatroyd. An interpreter will attend all of their practices to help them communicate with one another, but it should help that Nyle can read lips. On ANTM, he used a text-to-speech app on his phone to communicate with the other contestants on the show. However, it would be difficult to do this while practicing dance moves.
While talking to the Washington Post about competing on America’s Next Top Model, DiMarco explained why being deaf actually gave him an advantage over his fellow competitors.
“American Sign Language requires a lot of facial and body expression,” he said.
“The way [deaf people] communicate is naturally very expressive and shows a lot of emotion.”
Dancing with the Stars competitors also have to be capable of expressing emotion when they dance if they want the audience to connect to their performances, and this often proves difficult for some of the celebrity contestants. It sounds like this won’t be a problem for Nyle, so his main focus will likely be on trying to dance to music that he can’t hear, memorizing his routines, and working on his technique. During an interview with TV Guide, Marlee Matlin explained that she relied on her partner to help her feel the music.
“Fabian is my music,” the actress said. “He expresses the music to me, and then I absorb it from him and feed off of him.”
During an interview with MTV News, Nyle DiMarco revealed that he’s pursing acting roles in addition to high-profile modeling contracts. He’s already starred on the ABC Family series Switched at Birth, a show with multiple characters and cast members that are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Marlee Matlin actually plays a recurring character on the show, but there’s no word on whether she encouraged DiMarco to join Dancing with the Stars.
Nyle isn’t just using his ANTM fame to further his career — he’s also using it to help the deaf community. He told MTV News that he’s given a lot of inspirational presentations at deaf schools, and he’s also scored a role as “a spokesperson for LEAD-K, a visual civil right movement to end the nationwide epidemic of language deprivation by promoting language equality, American Sign Language (ASL) and English, as a basic human right for all Deaf babies, leading to a new generation of Deaf children who are Kindergarten-ready.”
Nyle DiMarco said that he wanted his America’s Next Top Model win to “shatter misconceptions about Deaf people.” Perhaps he’s hoping that he continue doing this by competing on Dancing with the Stars.
As the Inquisitr previously reported, other likely DWTS season 22 celebrity competitors include Fuller House star Jodie Sweetin, The Facts of Life actress Kim Fields, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, and MMA fighter Paige VanZant. Paige’s partner will be Mark Ballas.
Nyle DiMarco’s pro partner didn’t compete during the last season of DWTS. Peta Murgatroyd’s season 20 partner was football star Michael Sam, and her season 19 partner was actor Tommy Chong. Peta’s only DWTS win came during season 14 when she was paired with retired Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver.
The complete Dancing with the Stars season 22 cast will be announced on March 8 on Good Morning America. Do you think Nyle DiMarco and Peta Murgatroyd have a shot at the Mirrorball Trophy?
[Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images]