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Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani


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Melissa Rycroft

There are no roses in the ballroom, only a Mirrorball Trophy. That’s just fine with Melissa Rycroft.

One week after the most talked about season finale of ABC’s The Bachelor, Melissa Rycroft stepped onto the dance floor in heroic fashion on Dancing with the Stars. With just two days to prepare for her nationally televised ballroom dancing debut, Melissa displayed character and strength overcoming nerves, anxiety and the pressure to perform in front of a live audience. Paired with professional dancer, Tony Dovolani, Melissa “waltzed” her way into America’s hearts and into a third-place finish on Season 8 of the hit ABC series.

In April 2012, CMT Network launched Melissa’s latest television project, Melissa and Tye: A New Reality which explores the ups and downs of Melissa’s desire to explore her career in Los Angeles while maintain relationships with her family and friends in Dallas as her husband commutes each week to build his Dallas based business.

In December of 2010, Melissa married her longtime sweetheart, Tye Strickland, in a seaside ceremony in Mexico that received world-wide attention, Soon after, she took on co-hosting duties on Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve for ABC where she appeared alongside host Ryan Seacrest. In 2009, Melissa joined ABC News as a special contributor for Good Morning America where she’s appeared on the morning news broadcast delivering fun and uplifting stories from across the country and from Hollywood’s most glamorous red carpets.

Melissa was a member of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and appeared on two seasons of CMT’s Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team. She graced the cover of the April 13, 2009 issue of People Magazine and was featured among their 100 Most Beautiful People of 2009. Rycroft has also been named to Maxim’s Hot 100 list. Melissa graduated from the University of North Texas with a degree in Marketing. She resides in Dallas, TX and Los Angeles, CA.

Tony Dovolani

BACKGROUND:

Be still our beating, ballroom-dancing hearts—Tony's back for Season 15 of DWTS, and you can bet he's gonna bring a little extra fire to the floor this fall.

Born in Kosovo, professional ballroom dancer, instructor and judge Driton "Tony" Dovolani began folk dancing at age three. When he was 15, his entire family moved to the United States and Tony got the opportunity to attend the New England-based Fred Astaire Dance Academy. From that moment on, he knew he had found his passion.

Since that time, Tony has traveled the world and won several championships. Tony also had a featured role in the hit film Shall We Dance, and spent time coaching Jennifer Lopez.

Dovolani made his Dancing with the Stars debut in Season 2, when he was paired up with professional wrestler Stacy Keibler. And Tony was partnered with Melissa Rycroft in Season 8, where they came in third place.

How far will his fancy footwork and second chance with Melissa take him this time?

ACHIEVEMENTS:

• 2005 and 2006 World Rhythm Champion

• 2006 PBS American Ballroom Challenge Rhythm Champion

• 2006 Emerald Ball Open Professional American Rhythm Champion

• 2005 Ohio Star Ball American Rhythm Champion

• Current world and undefeated United States Open champion

PRIOR CELEBRITY PARTNERS:

• Martina Navratilova

• Chynna Phillips

• Wendy Williams

• Audrina Patridge

• Kate Gosselin

• Kathy Ireland

• Melissa Rycroft

• Susan Lucci

• Marissa Jaret Winokur

• Jane Seymour

• Leeza Gibbons

• Stacy Keibler

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She is my favorite dancer this season. I usually pick one of the guys but I think I enjoy her dancing the most. Elegant and beautiful lines.

Still love my Apollo and Emmet though

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