NEW YORK -- It may be hard to believe but more than 17 years have now passed since the debut of "Dancing with the Stars," and by now producers have found a formula for success. Stars from yesteryear join stars of tomorrow, reality personalities, and social media "phenomes" with three judges carefully looking on.
Athletes have also done well. Four former NFL players have won the Mirror Ball Trophy, and that bodes well for Adrian Peterson this season.
There is a focus on all great players, they are used to being coached, and accustomed to pushing themselves to their physical limits, but the other dancers are hardly willing to concede.
Ask any of them about their goal, and pretty much everyone will give you the same answer.
"There's no way I can go home early so I got to step up, do whatever she tells me to do, and be the best at it," said Tyson Beckford, model.
We talked right after this season's cast was introduced on "Good Morning America," after they'd all had their first rehearsals.
"Was there a moment when you panicked and thought, 'What have gotten myself into?'" Sandy Kenyon asked.
"I've definitely. I have had that moment, you know? It's like 'Oh my God! You know, I'm in it now,'" Peterson said.
"Harder than you thought?" Kenyon asked.
"Oh 1,000%! They're professionals and they make it look so effortless, but it is a lot harder than what you see on TV for sure," said Charity Lawson, "The Bachelorette."
One familiar face will sadly no longer be part of this, Judge Len Goodman who succumbed to bone cancer in April.
"Losing Len was heartbreaking and we all. It was just so... I can't talk about it, but I think it's really important to move on," said Carrie Ann Inaba, judge.
"And embrace the legacy and celebrate the legacy because that's what he would've wanted us to do," said Bruno Tonioli, judge.
The show must go on then and the reasons contestants give for being here are as varied as their different personalities.
"My daughter Kiva is such a huge fan. We watch it together, and I think she would've disowned me if I'd said, 'no,'" said Alyson Hannigan, actress.
"I think the show will be able to give me a sense of accomplishment, empowerment, and a level of like self-love," said Ariana Madix, reality TV star.
Madix is looking for redemption after being jilted, and left by a longtime boyfriend who took up with one of her co-stars on "Vanderpump Rules."
Co-host Alfonso Ribeiro calls this group eclectic, diverse, and varied, including two Latinas: Marvel TV star Xochitl Gomez and singer Lele Pons.
"Dancing with the Stars" premieres tonight on ABC.