Season 23 of Dancing With the Stars is finally here!
While this season boasts a number of strong competitors, including Ryan Lochte, Calvin Johnson, and Amber Rose, Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez might be the one to beat.
Will Hernandez take home the coveted Mirrorball trophy?
According to ESPN, the competitors for this season recently sat down on Good Morning America and Hernandez was the only one who proved she had the skills necessary to win it all.
The gold medalist was asked to show off her robot dance skills during the interview and wowed fans and fellow contestants alike.
Later, Hernandez’s partner Val Chmerkovskiy shared a video of him and Hernandez performing a short routine together. The two clearly have great chemistry, especially since this is so early in the season.
Hernandez won a silver and gold medal as a gymnast in the Rio Olympics.
Despite coming off an Olympic appearance, and juggling both school and DWTS, Hernandez told People that she isn’t ready for a break just yet.
“I don’t need a break,” the 16-year-old explained. “I used to always watch Dancing with the Stars with my family. Right after a workout we would just come home and put the show on.”
Hernandez also recalled when she first learned that she would be competing on DWTS.
“I remember having a workout at the Olympics and my coach was like ‘Oh year, by the way, you’re doing Dancing With the Stars,” she revealed. “And so I was freaking out.”
Laurie Hernandez isn’t the only Olympian trying to take home the grand prize this year.
Following his scandal in Rio, Lochte is set to compete alongside Hernandez for the Mirrorball.
Of course, Lochte will have to get past his fabricated robbery story if he wants a shot at winning it all.
For Hernandez, she only has to worry about her performance on the dance floor.
“I’m just so excited to be here,” she gushed. “This is such a great experience.”
Considering her skills in gymnastics and her reliable partner, People is reporting that Hernandez is the one to beat this season.
“I think Laurie obviously is the one everyone’s got their eye on,” James Hinchcliffe, an IndyCar star, admitted. “Half of what her profession is, is dance anyway. And she’s such a great personality, such a fun person, great character, huge smile. It’s easy to love her on the dance floor and off in the voting world, that’s gonna be tough for sure.”
The professional dancers on the show couldn’t agree more with Hinchcliffe’s assessment.
In fact, both Lindsay Arnold and Sharna Burgess believe that Laurie will have a lot of success this season.
“Oh yeah, she’ll be incredible,” Burgess shared.
“I fell like Laurie is gonna be pretty incredible,” Arnold agreed. “When you watch her compete in the Olympics, she has so much grace. I would say she’s the most graceful of the five that competed, so I’m like dang, she’s gotta have some serious moves. I’m assuming she’s gonna be really great.”
As far as Val is concerned, his brother and DWTS veteran, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, is going to keep close tabs on him as the series progresses.
Maksim is teamed up with Amber Rose this season and believes his team is the “biggest competition.”
“I think we don’t know, because we have to see people first,” Maksim told the outlet. “I think Laurie and Val are the frontrunners, but Vegas thinks that we’re right there, so you never know.”
Fans can watch Hernandez and Val in action when Season 23 of Dancing With the Stars airs Monday night on ABC.
Tell us! Do you think Laurie Hernandez is the one to beat this season on Dancing With the Stars? Let us know in the comments and check out Laurie in action in the clip below.
[Image via ABC]