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What to Expect on Tonight’s Season 18 Premiere of ‘Dancing with the Stars’

(ABC News) – “Dancing with the Stars” returns for its 18th season tonight and much has changed since Amber Riley was crowned last season’s champ.

The top headline is that Erin Andrews has replaced Brooke Burke-Charvet as co-host, alongside Tom Bergeron.

Bergeron spoke with People magazine recently and said Burke-Charvet has been helping Andrews with her transition onto the show, even though Burke-Charvet was shocked when she heard the news last month she wasn’t coming back.

“She and Erin have exchanged phone calls and voicemail messages. Erin was very complimentary to Brooke,” Bergeron told the magazine. “So, in the midst of a difficult situation, there’s a whole lot of maturity going on.”

Bergeron is excited for Andrews to join the show, but sad to see his former colleague go.

“I agreed with Brooke that the timing could have been better. We had drinks this week, as a matter of fact, and I gave her such props for how she handled it,” he said. “She handled it with poise and humor and I was so impressed with that.”

Along with a new host, there’s of course a new cast that includes double-amputee snowboarding champ Amy Purdy, former hockey star Sean Avery, and Meryl Davis and Charlie White, the dynamic ice dancing duo that just won gold in Sochi. Maksim Chmerkovskiy, the bad boy of the ballroom and favorite, will return after sitting out last season to much fanfare to dance with Davis.

Outside the ballroom, viewers can now vote to switch celebrities and their pro partners mid-season!

We’ll be liveblogging the show (at 8 p.m. ET), so watch with us and tell us what you think! Even if you’re not home to watch the show or don’t have access, we’ll keep you updated on the dances and the judges’ comments.

You can check out our liveblog here or click the link below if you’re on a mobile device. The module below will automatically update — no need to hit refresh. See you tonight!

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Melissa Lambrecht