According to multiple sources, AJ, a 42-year-old longtime member of the boyband Backstreet Boys, has signed on to compete on Season 29 of Dancing with the Stars when it premieres Monday, September 14 at 8PM ET/PT on ABC, Entertainment Tonight reported.
Us Weekly subsequently confirmed the ET report that AJ will be putting on his dancing shoes.
The Bachelor franchise host Chris Harrison asked Kaitlyn, who starred on Season 11 The Bachelorette, to join the Fall 2020 cast of Dancing with the Stars during a June episode of The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons — Ever!.
Shortly before ET reported AJ’s Dancing with the Stars‘ casting, the Florida native and tattooed father of two girls took to Instagram on Monday to tease “surprises” in store for his fans and “big things coming.”
AJ recorded a video of himself shirtless in the middle of a fitness session.
“I’ve been training really hard for the last five months. I’m finally starting to see proper definition building up and I’m finally starting to see some loss in body fat. I’m on a very strict diet — grain-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, no sodas of any kind — and [I’ve been] sober, completely sober, for almost nine months,” AJ told his followers.
“This amazing, but rigorous, workout is all due to my amazing trainer, Mr. Bobby Strong. He’s been a huge asset in my transformation, trying to get myself prepared and ready for what’s to come in the next few weeks. A lot of surprises coming from me.”
AJ continued, “I can’t tell you guys exactly what yet, but I’m doing this for two reasons: One, to get in the best shape of my life, and to be healthy and to be happy, physically, mentally, and emotionally, and there’s something else coming up. Can’t tell you what it is, but believe me, you’ll know why [I’m doing this] based on that.”
AJ, formally known as Alexander James, went on to thank his fans for all of their love and support.
“I’m excited. I still have a long way to go, but I finally feel comfortable enough to take my shirt off on-camera after five months of working my butt off. Let’s get that eight-pack back… We’re slowly getting there!” AJ concluded.
The complete lineup of celebrities competing on Dancing with the Stars this fall will be announced Wednesday, September 2 on Good Morning America, according to ET.
AJ wanted to show his friend Lauren support when she was set to perform a rumba to his band’s song “I Want It That Way.”
It’s unclear who AJ and Kaitlyn will be paired with, but all the pro dancers for Season 29 were unveiled earlier this month on GMA.
The returning professional partners for next season are Brandon Armstrong, Alan Bersten, Sharna Burgess, Cheryl Burke, Val Chmerkovskiy, Sasha Farber, Jenna Johnson, Keo Motsepe, Peta Murgatroyd, Pasha Pashkov, Gleb Savchenko, and Emma Slater.
Two former Dancing with the Stars Troupe members, Britt Stewart and Daniella Karagach, will also be joining the lineup of professional partners for this fall’s season as newbies.
Three married couples will be competing against each other on Season 29: Val and Jenna, Emma and Sasha, and Daniella and Pasha.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the professional partners will not be able to help or rehearse with each other through the season, and even pros married to fellow pros will be forced to live apart.
The new rule is an attempt to prevent two professional dancers — and potentially their celebrity partners — from getting sick if one person contracts COVID-19 during the season.
As previously announced, supermodel and former America’s Got Talent and America’s Next Top Model host Tyra Banks has joined Dancing with the Stars as its new host and executive producer because the show is embarking on “a new creative direction.”
Tom hosted Dancing with the Stars since it premiered on ABC in 2005 — a span that has covered 28 seasons and over 400 episodes.