Season 28 premieres Monday on ABC

By Aurelie Corinthios
September 11, 2019 12:57 PM

The Dancing with the Stars season 28 contestants are gearing up for Monday’s premiere — and Kel Mitchell likes his chances.

Skyping into PeopleTV’s Reality Check on Tuesday outside of rehearsals in Los Angeles, the Kenan & Kel star weighed in on some of his competitors and revealed that so far, he’s been most impressed by Dawson’s Creek star James Van Der Beek.

As it turns out, Van Der Beek, 42, has already “competed” on the show as part of a storyline on the sitcom Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23. While his character crashed and burn on that version, Mitchell, 41, predicts things will go much better for the actor in real life.

“Definitely this version will go a lot better,” he said. “He’s a beast, okay? Me and him, nonstop. When I’m in there, he’s in there. Every time I go to rehearse, I see James.”

“The other day, he was in there by himself, just practicing,” he continued. “So shoutout to James. That was a surprise I did see which I thought was very, very cool, that he was in there before his partner got there. He’s definitely in the zone.”

Kel Mitchell (left) and James Van Der Beek
Justin Stephens/ABC (2)

Still, Mitchell is determined to take home the Mirrorball Trophy himself.

“I like to say I’m my biggest competition, so then that way you can’t really get off of your game plan,” he said. “I like to look at it like, ‘Okay, let me just beat what I did yesterday, let me be better than the day before, and just focus on that.'”

And as he throws himself into rehearsals, the comedian says his background in hip hop has helped when it comes to memorizing choreography.

“I am loving it, it’s very exciting,” he said. “I can’t tell you who my partner is yet, but she’s awesome, an awesome coach. Our first dance is tango and it’s no hip movements or stuff that I’m used to, so shoutout to all ballroom dancers. I have so much respect for them. I am feeling muscles I’ve never felt before. It’s some serious, serious technique that needs to be learned. It’s awesome.”

Along with Mitchell and Van Der Beek, The Supremes’ Mary Wilson, Queer Eye‘s Karamo Brown, supermodel Christie Brinkley, country star Lauren Alaina, NFL legend Ray Lewis, The Office star Kate Flannery, pop star Ally Brooke, former NBA star Lamar Odom and President Donald Trump’s former press secretary Sean Spicer round out this seasons’s celebrity competitors. Their pro dance partner pairings will be unveiled during the premiere.

Season 28 of Dancing with the Stars premieres Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.