The best word to describe how the Dancing With the Stars season 32 cast feels about their pro dancer partners would be “excited.”
That’s exactly how Mauricio Umansky felt when he learned he would be competing with former mirrorball trophy winner Emma Slater. “Emma’s an absolute veteran and so good,” the Buying Beverly Hills star, 53, exclusively told Us Weekly on Wednesday, September 13, shortly after the season 32 cast was announced on Good Morning America.
In addition to calling Slater, 34, “the best pro, the best teacher, a really good communicator and an incredible choreographer,” Umansky said she also shares his same competitive spirit. “I needed somebody that was super competitive,” he shared. “And we’re just gonna go crush it and we’re gonna create magic.”
Some of the pros were just as pumped to discover which celeb they were paired up with for the new season, which premieres on Tuesday, September 26. “I freaked out, that’s for sure,” Daniella Karagach told Us of her partnership with Jason Mraz, noting that she and her husband, Pasha Pashkov, would listen to the Grammy winner’s music on road trips. “When I found out, I freaked out, but Pasha freaked even more, so that was great,” she joked.
Mraz, 46, for his part, noted that Karagach’s “new mom energy” has lent itself to teaching him how to dance. “She’s like, ‘Look, this is how we’re gonna do it, no games.” (Karagach, 30, and Pashkov, 37, welcomed their first child together, daughter Nikita, in May.)
Despite being jealous of his wife’s partner, Paskov told Us he is thrilled to dance alongside Vanderpump Rules star Ariana Madix following her highly publicized breakup with Tom Sandoval. The couple of nine years called it quits earlier this year after Madix, 38, learned of Sandoval’s affair with their costar Raquel Leviss. The scandal — subsequently dubbed Scandoval — was featured on season 10 of Pump Rules and will continue to play out during season 11.
“I know Ariana’s story and I think she’s here with a clear intention,” Pashkov shared. “She’s on a mission right now in her life, and I just want to be part of the journey and a good support system to bring it to life.”
Madix, 38, returned her partner’s kind words by telling Us, “I have only heard the best things about Pasha, so I was really, really stoked to have him as my partner.”
Upon meeting his partner Jenna Johnson, supermodel Tyson Beckford wasted no time testing out his ballroom dance abilities. “I lifted her off the ground ‘cause I wanted to know that, ‘Can I throw her around?’” he revealed, to which Johnson, 29, added that he lifted her “above his head.”
Johnson and her husband, Val Chmerkovskiy, are both returning to the DWTS ballroom eight months after welcoming their son, Rome, in January. Chmerkovskiy, 37, told Us he’s “excited” to be dancing with Marvel star Xochitl Gomez this season as she has developed a strong “physicality” due to her experience with stunts.
Gomez, 17, meanwhile, confessed she was “so nervous” to meet Chmerkovskiy that she forgot her own age during their first interaction. “I was like, ‘I’m 16. No, I’m 17. No, wait, I’m actually turning 18,’” she stated.
Check out the full cast’s reactions to meeting their DWTS partners in the video above:
Season 32 of Dancing With the Stars premieres Tuesday, September 26, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC and Disney+.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi