Paula Deen is leaving the kitchen for the ballroom.
The former Food Network star has reportedly been cast in season 21 of “Dancing With the Stars,” along with Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys, Triple Crown-winning jockey Victor Espinoza and the previously announced Bindi Irwin of “Crocodile Hunter” fame.
Deen, who was dropped by the food cabler in 2013 after making headlines for racially charged comments, had been asked to join past seasons of “DWTS,” though ABC declined to comment on her current casting.
Carter will also compete for the Mirror Ball trophy in season 21. The official “DWTS” Twitter blasted out the news Wednesday morning, tweeting, “We’re not playing games with your heart,” referring to lyrics from the famous Backstreet Boys song.
The boy-bander, who rose to superstardom in the ’90s, also confirmed his casting on Twitter, complete with a throwback dance video to his Backstreet days.
— Nick Carter (@nickcarter) August 26, 2015
American Pharoah champion Espinoza has also been cast in season 21. ABC shared the news on Twitter this week, posting a photo of Espinoza wearing a bedazzled helmet, while he wrote, “It’s time to learn how to dance.”
Deen, Carter and Espinoza join the Crocodile Hunter’s daughter, Irwin, who was the first celebrity dancer to be revealed for the upcoming season. She announced that she’d be competing this fall during the Aug. 24 broadcast of “Good Morning America.”
“This will be a completely new adventure for me and I’m excited to share my journey,” she said. “Life is about daring to dream. I’m in love with this city [Los Angeles] and ready to fall in love with the music and dance to come.”
As for Deen coming back into the limelight after her TV contract was not renewed with Food Network, ABC’s hit competition series has served as a launching pad or comeback vehicle for many contestants in the past who have parlayed their “DWTS” fandom into successful career ventures.
The full cast and their pro partners will be unveiled Sept. 2 on “GMA.” “Dancing With the Stars” returns Sept. 14 on ABC.