Alexa PenaVega & Carlos PenaVega to Compete on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars”

Alexa PenaVega and Carlos PenaVega are ready to pasodoble their way into the television history books.

The 27-year-old half-Colombian American actress and her 26-year-old actor/singer husband will compete on Season 21 of Dancing with the Stars.

Alexa PenaVega & Carlos PenaVega

The PenaVega’s are the first-ever married contestants to face-off against each other on ABC’s celebrity ballroom dancing competition.

Alexa will be partnered with professional dancer Mark Ballas, while has been matched up with Witney Carson.

But they’re not the only Latinos breaking out their dancing shoes this upcoming season…

ESPY Award winner Victor Espinoza is jockeying into position in his own quest to claim the show’s highly coveted mirrorball trophy.

The 43-year-old Mexican jockey, who rode American Pharoah to Triple Crown greatness earlier this year, has been paired up with Karina Smirnoff.

Other contestants on this season of Dancing with the Stars include Paula Deen, Tamar Braxton, Chaka Khan and Nick Carter.

Here’s the full list of the contestants and their pro dancer partners:

  • Alexa PenaVega partnered with Mark Ballas
  • Andy Grammer partnered with Allison Holker
  • Bindi Irwin partnered with Derek Hough
  • Carlos PenaVega partnered with Witney Carson
  • Chaka Khan partnered with Keo Motsepe
  • Gary Busey partnered with Anna Trebunskaya
  • Hayes Grier partnered with Emma Slater
  • Kim Zolciak Biermann partnered with Tony Dovolani
  • Nick Carter partnered with Sharna Burgess
  • Paula Deen partnered with Louis van Amstel
  • Tamar Braxton partnered with Valentin Chmerkovskiy
  • Victor Espinoza partnered with Karina Smirnoff
  • Alek Skarlatos partnered with Lindsay Arnold

Castroneves to Perform on DWTS: All-Stars with Chelsie Hightower

Hélio Castroneves will begin his quest for a second mirror ball trophy when Dancing with the Stars‘ first All-Star season premieres in just over a month… And, now he’s received his partner assignment.

ABC revealed the pro partners who’ll guide celebs including the 37-year-old Brazilian auto racer Kirstie Alley, Pamela Anderson and Bristol Palin in their second time on the dance.

Helio Castroneves

Castroneves, the fifth season champion of the hit celebrity ballroom dancing competition, will perform with pro Chelsie Hightower. He’d previously performed with Julianne Hough, who won’t be participating in the show this season. 

Here’s a look at the pairings:

Season 4 champ Apolo Anton Ohno & pro Karina Smirnoff
Kirstie Alley & her season 12 pro partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Joey Fatone & his season 4 pro partner Kym Johnson
Season 8 champion Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough
Bristol Palin & her season 11 pro partner Mark Ballas
Season 3 champ Emmitt Smith & his pro partner Cheryl Burke
Kelly Monaco & pro Val Chmerkovskiy
Melissa Rycroft & her season 8 pro partner Tony Dovolani
Pamela Anderson & pro Tristan McManus
Season 2 champ Drew Lachey & pro Anna Trebunskaya
Gilles Marini & pro Peta Murgatroyd

Meanwhile, the All-Stars edition’s 13th contestant will be voted on by the public. Carson Kressley, Sabrina Bryan and Kyle Massey are all jockeying on for viewer votes before the August  24 deadline, with the winner being revealed on Good Morning America August 27.

Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars will premiere on September 23.

Martinez to Guest-Star on “Army Wives”…

J.R. Martinez is heading back to primetime…

The 28-year-old former Salvadorian American Dancing with the Starschampion and All My Children alum will guest-star on Lifetime’s Army Wives.

J.R. Martinez


Martinez, an Iraq War vet, will play an Army soldier-turned-physical therapist who works with wounded veterans, according to Entertainment Weekly.

It’s a role that hits close to home for the former U.S. Army soldier who has gone on to become a motivational speaker…

Martinez served in Iraq as an infantryman and was severely injured when his vehicle hit a landmine in 2003. He suffered severe burns to more than 40 percent of his body. After numerous surgeries, the 28-year-old went on to play Brot Monroe on All My Children before winning the mirrorball trophy with Karina Smirnoff during his run on Dancing with the Stars last season.

Martinez is set to film the episode next month in Charleston, S.C.

Army Wives returns Sunday, June 24 at 10:oo pm ET. Martinez’s episode is scheduled to air in August.

Martinez Claims Dancing with the Stars Title

Despite a late perfect-score challenge from Rob Kardashian in the last two nights of performances, J.R. Martinez has become the first Hispanic American to win the coveted mirror ball trophy on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.

“Thank you America for believing in us,” the 28-year-old Iraq-war-vet-turned-actor said before turning to his partner Karina Smirnoff,  adding: “You are amazing and I’m so grateful that I was able to be a part of your first mirror ball trophy!”

J.R. Martinez wins Dancing with the Stars

Throughout the 10-week competition, Martinez was one of the show’s frontrunners. The El Salvadoran-American actor continually wowed the judges and overcame an injured ankle in the final weeks to claim the title in the show’s 13th edition. His grit, determination and sheer dancing talent inspired viewers, and even led to a cover story in People magazine.

During the grand finale, Martinez, Kardashian and Ricki Lake had to reprise their favorite dances of the season. Those scores were then combined with Monday night’s totals and all the votes from the viewing audience. Despite earning the highest marks after that round, Lake was knocked out of the running and had to settle for third place.

Then, the final two dancers – Kardashian and Martinez –performed an instant samba to music selected for them during the show. They both earned perfect scores of 30 points, and Kardashian led Martinez by the slimmest of leads — with 113 points to 112 after four rounds of dancing in the two-night finale.

But after combining Monday night’s scores with the scores from Tuesday’s performances and the public voting, Martinez was the competitor with the highest combination of judges’ and viewers’ scores.

Martinez’s Fantastic Freestyle Dance on DWTS…

J.R. Martinez may have faltered slightly during his first dance in last night’s Dancing with the Stars finale, but he harnessed his Latino power to reach perfection in his freestyle routine…

The 28-year-old wounded-Iraq-veteran and All My Children star and his dance partner Karina Smirnoff shook their bon bons to a salsafied version of Kat DeLuna‘s hit song “Whine Up.”

J.R. Martinez Dancing with the Stars Final Freestyle Dance

“In the freestyle, Karina and I decided to do a salsa-inspired routine because of the fact that I am Latin,” said Martinez.

The routine featured several flashy tricks from the El Salvadoran-American dancing sensation and his partner, including elaborate twists and turns. Their biggest risk: a dangerous neck straddle!

“Karina wanted to do this lift where I hook my leg to her neck. She’s had surgery on her neck before and I just think it’s too dangerous.”

The “go big or go home” mentality paid off, as Martinez and Smirnoff earned a perfect score of 30.

Unfortunately, the dancing duo’s cha-cha to Jennifer Lopez’s “Let’s Get Loud” earned a shockingly low 24, which Martinez blamed on the ankle injury the suffered last week.

”I was too soon in my steps and I think I panicked because I did roll my ankle in my shoe. I just went and took a step too quick,” said Martinez. “The cha-cha was something I was doing well all week. I had it, but I was off and I found myself one step ahead of her. I knew I was going to be penalized for that.”

Martinez and fellow finalist Ricki Lake are tied for second place going into tonight’s show, three points behind leader Rob Kardashian.

Martinez: Dancing’s First Hispanic-American Winner?

Despite a poor showing during this week’s performances due to an ankle injury, J.R. Martinez has made it to finals of Dancing with the Stars in his quest to become the first Hispanic-American to win the show’s coveted mirrorball trophy.

JR Martinez

For the first time this season, the 28-year-old wounded-war-vet-turned-actor and his partner Karina Smirnoff saw themselves in the bottom two during Tuesday’s results show after their third place showing on Monday.

But it appears Martinez’s public support is stronger than ever as soccer star Hope Solo was the celebrity sent packing.

Upon learning he was moving on to next week’s finals, the former All My Children star took a deep breath and closed his eyes.

During backstage interviews, Martinez said he was “frustrated” with his hurt ankle.

“The expectation was still high for myself despite the injury,” Martinez told Access Hollywood. “All week when we were rehearsing, it was like ‘oh man if I nail this…it would be an opportunity to show America a different side of J.R. Martinez than what they’ve gotten to know.’”

Martinez could now become the second Latino and first Hispanic-American winner in show’s 13-season history. He’ll compete against Ricki Lake and Rob Kardshian in next week’s finale shows.


Martinez: Dancing Through the Pain…

Coming off last week’s oh-so-perfect performances, J.R. Martinez experienced a setback in his quest to make it to the finals of Dancing with the Stars.

The wounded-Iraq-veteran-turned-soap-star twisted his ankle at this week’s rehearsals, leading to some serious problems during his paso doble routine with partner Karina Smirnoff. Martinez looked like he was in serious pain throughout the dance…and, hobbled on one foot during his critiques.

JR Martinez dances through the pain

Dancing judge Len Goodman didn’t take it easy on the 28-year-old El Salvadoran-American’s dance, despite the injury.

“I know you suffered an injury,” he told Martinez after his precarious performance. “But we can only call it as we see it.”

Martinez managed to score better in his remaining dances, scoring a 27/30 on his Argentine tango performance and 6/10 for his third place finish in the cha cha relay.

Despite ending the night with a disappointing 56 points, Martinez didn’t end up at the bottom of the leaderboard. He ended up in third place, seven points away from last place finisher Hope Solo. Meanwhile, Ricki Lake and Rob Kardashian ended up tied at the top of the leaderboard with a total of 67 points each.

Tune in to tonight’s results show to see which couple won’t be making it to the finals.

Martinez Sambas to the Top of the DWTS Leaderboard…

Hey may say he doesn’t know how to be sexy, but former “All My Children” star J.R. Martinez does know how to shake his bon-bon…

Performing a sizzling samba and even playing the drums to Gloria Estefan‘s “Conga” on Monday night’s ‘80s-themed “Dancing With the Stars” performance show, the 28-year-old wounded-Iraq-veteran-turned-actor showed just why he’s a frontrunner.

Martinez and his dancing partner Karina Smirnoff received a total of 28 points from the judges, including the pair’s first 10, to earn the highest score of the night.

Martinez tapped into his Latin roots to get “inspired” and perfect the complicated Brazilian dance.

“One of the advantages that I think I have in the Samba this week is the fact that I am Latin,” said Martinez in the pre-dance clip. “Being raised by a single mother, I was always dancing with my mother and I think that will help me do well with the samba.”

Meanwhile, Smirnoff pushed him hard to help Martinez capture the dance’s sexual energy.

“It’s funny, she kept telling me, ‘Be sexy here! Be masculine!’ and I would do something and she’s like, ‘That’s not sexy! That’s
not masculine!’” said Martinez after the dance. “And I was like, ‘I don’t know how to be sexy!’ I really don’t. It’s not my thing. I don’t think I’m a sexy and masculine type of guy, but tonight, it was fun.”

Boy, did the judges respond to the pair’s high energy dance!

“You were like a loin-shattering sex machine,” said Bruno Tonioli. “You had so much fire down below, it was like a volcano!”

Meanwhile, Carrie Ann Inaba told Martinez just how hot she thinks he is: “Hey papi, muy caliente!” she said. “That is the way to dance that samba.”

If the dancing pair survive tonight’s elimination round, Smirnoff says they’ll tackkle a quick step for next week’s Broadway-themed performance show.

War-Vet Martinez’s Emotional Night on DWTS…

Dancing with the Stars” contestant-to-watch J.R. Martinez received one of the longest standing ovations in the show’s history during Monday night’s episode after discussing the life-altering injuries he suffered while serving in Iraq.

During “Personal Story Week,” the war-vet-turned-soap-star discussed how he sustained burns to 40% of his body when the Humvee he was traveling in hit a landmine while serving in the Army back in 2003. The 28-year-old El Salvadoran-American followed up his poignant story with an emotional moving rumba to Tim McGraw’s “If You’re Reading This,” a song about soldiers killed in action.

Martinez and dancing partner Karina Smirnoff received 26 out of 30 points. The pair tied for second place with Chynna Phillips and Tony Dovolani, only one point behind Ricki Lake and Derek Hough, who earned 27 points.

“It was a touchy night,” says Martinez. “It was really emotional. Karina was telling me in order to get to really that place that we wanted to get to and pay the tribute and honor the men and women and their families the way [we wanted to], I needed to be an open book tonight. I needed to be willing to go to that place and tap into that time in my life when it wasn’t all pictures and fame and everyone caring, and I felt so alone.”

As for the audience response, “it was really moving,” he admitted. “I’ve never cried in front of that many people before. I can honestly say it’s the biggest stage I’ve ever cried on. I think the clear message behind that is that people really appreciate our men and women in the military.”

So what’s next for Martinez after such an emotional week?

“Something completely fun,” he says of his plans to dance a fox trot during next week’s “Movie Week.”