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''Dancing With the Stars'' is a US reality show where dancers and celebrities duke it out on the ballroom dance floor. The show has hosted two competitions per season since winter of 2006 (summer of 2005 was a one-off). The humor of the early weeks is in seeing the dancers trying to train the celebrities in the vagaries of each of the many styles of ballroom dance.

The show stars Tom Bergeron as host, with Erin Andrews currently serving as his co-host (former co-hosts were Lisa Canning, Samantha Harris, Drew Lachey, and Brooke Burke-Charvet). The judges are, in order of judging, Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, and Bruno Tonioli.

Derek Hough is the only professional dancer to have achieved five wins, a franchise record (he also achieved two back-to-back championships twice). Cheryl Burke and Julianne Hough also have won two championships back-to-back. Mark Ballas and Kym Johnson are the only professional dancers in the show to have two wins that were not back-to-back. Cheryl Burke and Tony Dovolani are the longest tenured professional dancers in the show, appearing in seasons 2 through 18, a total of 17 seasons and counting. Sharna Burgess, Brian Fortuna, Sasha Farber, Kym Johnson, Tristan MacManus, and Gleb Savchenko have appeared on two different versions of Dancing with the Stars. Kym Johnson is the only professional dancer to win two different versions of DWTS (she won twice on the American version and once on the Australian version. Damian Whitewood has appeared on the United States, Australian and Argentine version.

In general, it follows the ''StrictlyComeDancing'' celebrity formula: the show pairs a number of well known celebrities with professional ballroom dancers, who each week compete by performing one or more choreographed routines that are pertinent and follow the chosen theme for that particular weeks' prearranged theme. The dancers are then scored by a panel of judges. Viewers are given a certain amount of time to place votes for their favorite dancers, either by telephone or (in some countries) online. The couple with the lowest combined score provided by the judges and viewers is eliminated. This process continues until there are only two or three couples left; when they have competed for the last time one couple is declared the champion. Of the contestants, usually at least one has a bit of controversy around them, at least one is a 50-plus-year-old man with two left feet, at least one is a B- or C- list actor or actress, and at least one is famous in the world of sports (and these are most likely to win it all; eight of the eighteen winners have some sporting experience, with the rest (with the exception of J.R. Martinez) having dancing training beforehand).

Oh, the winners! Here are the winners of previous competitions (The (!!)s denote performers that surprised everyone by making it into the top 3, whether by actual skill or by being an EliminationHoudini):
* Season 1: [[Series/GeneralHospital Kelly Monaco]], beating out [[Series/{{Seinfeld}} John]] [[ToTellTheTruth O']][[FamilyFeud Hurley]] and [[Music/NewKidsOnTheBlock Joey McIntyre]].
* Season 2: Drew Lachey, beating out [[UsefulNotes/AmericanFootball Jerry Rice]] and Wrestling/StacyKeibler.
* Season 3: [[UsefulNotes/AmericanFootball Emmitt Smith]], beating out [[Series/SavedByTheBell Mario Lopez]] and [[Series/MelissaAndJoey Joey Lawrence]].
* Season 4: [[UsefulNotes/OlympicGames Apolo Anton Ohno]], beating out [[Music/{{NSYNC}} Joey Fatone]] and Laila Ali[[note]]daughter of MuhammadAli[[/note]].
* Season 5: [[IndyCar Helio Castroneves]], beating out [[Music/SpiceGirls Melanie Brown]] and Marie Osmond.
* Season 6: [[UsefulNotes/OlympicGames Kristi Yamaguchi]], beating out [[UsefulNotes/AmericanFootball Jason Taylor]] and [[Series/CSIMiami Cristian de la Fuente]].
* Season 7: [[Series/RockStar Brooke Burke]], beating out [[UsefulNotes/AmericanFootball Warren Sapp]] (!!) and [[Music/{{NSYNC}} Lance Bass]].
* Season 8: [[UsefulNotes/OlympicGames Shawn Johnson]], beating out [[SexAndTheCity Gilles Marini]] and [[Series/TheBachelor Melissa Rycroft]].
* Season 9: Donny Osmond, beating out Mya and [[Series/TheOsbournes Kelly Osborne]].
* Season 10: [[Music/PussycatDolls Nicole Scherzinger]], beating out [[UsefulNotes/OlympicGames Evan Lysacek]] and [[Creator/{{ESPN}} Erin Andrews]].
* Season 11: [[Film/DirtyDancing Jennifer Grey]], beating out [[Series/ThatsSoRaven Kyle]] [[CoryInTheHouse Massey]] and [[SarahPalin Bristol Palin]] (!!).
* Season 12: [[UsefulNotes/AmericanFootball Hines Ward]], beating out [[Series/{{Cheers}} Kirstie Alley]] (!!) and [[ChelseaStaub Chelsea Kane]].
* Season 13: [[Series/AllMyChildren J.R. Martinez]], beating out [[KeepingUpWithTheKardashians Rob Kardashian]] and [[Film/{{Hairspray}} Ricki Lake]] (!!).
* Season 14: [[UsefulNotes/AmericanFootball Donald Driver]], beating out Katherine Jenkins and William Levy.
* Season 15 (All-Star Season): [[Series/TheBachelor Melissa Rycroft]], beating out Shawn Johnson and [[Series/GeneralHospital Kelly Monaco]].
* Season 16: [[Series/AmericanIdol Kellie Pickler]], beating out ZendayaColeman, [[UsefulNotes/AmericanFootball Jacoby Jones]], and [[UsefulNotes/OlympicGames Aly Raisman]]
* Season 17: [[{{Series/Glee}} Amber Riley]], beating out [[Film/HighSchoolMusical Corbin Bleu]], [[Series/TheOsbournes Jack Osbourne]] and Creator/BillEngvall (!!)
* Season 18: [[UsefulNotes/OlympicGames Meryl Davis]], beating out Amy Purdy [[Series/FullHouse Candace Cameron Bure]] (!!), and [[Series/BigTimeRush James Maslow]].
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!!This show provides examples of:
* {{Acrofatic}}: Warren Sapp in Season 7 pretty much stunned everyone with the light feet on his hefty frame.
** Kyle Massey was pretty impressive in this department as well.
** Creator/KirstieAlley did better than pretty much anyone would've guessed, especially when you consider her age, too.
** Ex-pro Lacey Schwimmer and current pro Cheryl Burke for a time underwent backlash because of their weight (but that obviously didn't hinder their dancing skills).
* AmazonianBeauty: Several of the female athlete contestants, such as Laila Ali, Misty May-Treanor, Natalie Coughlin, and [[UsefulNotes/TheBeautifulGame Hope Solo]].
** [[StatuesqueStunner Martina]] [[WhenSheSmiles Navratilova]], [[CurvesInAllTheRightPlaces dig those hips and that butt]]!
* AmbiguouslyBrown: pro dancer Cheryl Burke.
* ArtificialLimbs: Season 18 contestant Amy Purdy has two artificial prosthetic lower limbs.
* AwesomeAussie: Sharna Burgess, Peta Murgatroyd and ex-pro Kym Johnson.
* CampGay: [[Series/StrictlyComeDancing Bruno Tonioli]], especially whenever the men are half naked or take their shirts off.
** AlwaysCamp
** Season 13 Contestant Carson Kressley plays this for all it's worth.
* BashBrothers: Childhood friends Mark Ballas and Derek Hough would often dance together, whether in dance trios, opening numbers, and special numbers.
* TheCutie: Chelsie Hightower and Julianne Hough. With Chelsie and Julianne gone, the Cuties are now portrayed by Witney Carson, Lindsay Arnold, & Jenna Johnson.
* CoveredWithScars: Season 13 contestant and Iraq war vet JR Martinez has burn scars over [[http://www.accesshollywood.com/jr-martinezs-dramatic-and-inspirational-journey-to-dancing-with-the-stars_article_53868 40% of his body]]. And a missing ear.
* DeadpanSnarker: [[SportsCenter Kenny Mayne]] during the Dancecenter segments. Tom Bergeron pretty much all the time.
* DistractedByTheSexy: Carrie Ann literally falls out of her chair after Gilles' Rumba in Season 15. HilarityEnsues.
* DramaticPause: It wouldn't be a talent show without one...
* EveryoneLovesBlondes: Formerly Julianne Hough and Chelsie Hightower, currently there's Witney Carson, Lindsay Arnold, Emma Slater and Peta Murgatroyd. Derek Hough too, come to think of it.
* {{Fanservice}}: It's ballroom dancing, thus it's a contractual requirement that the women's dresses reveal as much as possible.[[note]]Unless you are Shawn Johnson (season 8) or Zendaya (season 16), whose costumes were noticeably more modest (but still just as clingy). This was because they were underage at the time -- they were legally required to cover it up.[[/note]]
** Not to mention the abundance of he-cleavage.
** Kendra survived week 6 by doing a clothed exotic dance.
** Maksim lives and breathes this trope. He's [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6JfyvcVBzo sex on a stick]]. So does his BFF's Tony Dovolani: season 18 has him take his shirt off by twitter.
* FieryRedhead: ex-pro Anna Trebunskaya. Sharna Burgess too (though she's really blond).
* {{Filler}}: A whole lot of it in the last few weeks of each season. (The show fills up the same amount of time, only instead of 14 dancers, there's only 3.)
** Dear God, the elimination shows. They often find ways to stretch them out for two hours!
** Partially eliminated in season 17, when they eliminated the elimination show. Now permanently gone.
* {{Flanderization}}: The show originally started out as a fun competition that the celebrities learn how to dance different styles, and the first season ended with a winner (Kelly Monaco) that started out weak, but eventually became the most improved was considered an inspiration. Now, it become a fierce competition that the celebrities learn how to dance different styles professionally, and dancers like her (like Bristol Palin and Bill Engvall) are now thought as controversial and undeserved to win the show.
** Season 18 became rather controversial with the three finalists: season 18 champion Olympic skater Meryl Davis, runner-up amputee Amy Purdy and Candace Cameron Bure.
* FluffyFashionFeathers
* FourPointScale: anything short of falling into the audience will get you at least a four. Averted with [[spoiler: Michael Bolton's second dance of Season Eleven]] which earned him a ''3'' from Bruno.
** Which was promptly [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] by Tom... [[spoiler:''We have a 3?!'']]
* {{Gainaxing}}: Kelly Monaco actually made her partner Val rehearse their quickstep in a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqkgKlS3Lkg water-balloon filled bra]] to show how much of this happens during a dance and how uncomfortable it can be.
* GenreSavvy: Donald Driver in the Season 14 finals. After correctly identifying the types of freestyles his opponents would be doing, Donald decided not to go with the expected hip-hop theme and do something unexpected: country. And it was [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mjafhcdm0I awesome!]]
* HappilyMarried: Anna Trebunskaya and Jonathan Roberts. It's apparent [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ba-fZbd69Go&feature=related whenever]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqVE4Csnaas&feature=related they]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FV9a1eUi6MQ dance]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37TMRZUXbwA together]].
** Sadly subverted; they're divorced.
** Also Alec Mazo and Edyta Śliwińska.
* HoldUpYourScore
* LargeHam: ''Bruno Tonioli.''
-->[[{{Keet}} Ten!]]
** On the side of the dancers, Mark Ballas. He's got some pretty... unique facial expressions when he dances.
* MadeOfIron: They may look willowy and fragile, but it would be hard to argue that these dancers aren't tough, especially the women. Julianne was back and dancing less than a month after having an emergency appendectomy. The winner, however, might be Kym, who endured a knee injury with Jerry Springer and kept dancing, and a nearly broken neck with Hines Ward, and went on to '''win.''' Not surprisingly, she's an [[LandDownUnder Aussie.]]
** Mark Ballas suffered a back injury in season 16 but went on to dance with Alexandra Raisman; season 18 during the dress rehearsal his right shoulder pop out the night before their scheduled freestyle performance in which he hoisted his partner Candace Cameron Bure in his shoulders and swung around (amazingly, he did not change the choreography and went on to do that lift!)
* TheMeanBrit: Len Goodman fills this role here.
* MommasBoy: Hines Ward, proudly so. Jacoby Jones too. On the pro's side, Mark Ballas with his legendary Ballroom dancer mom, Shirley Ballas.
* MrFanservice: "Bad Boy of Ballroom" Maksim. His younger brother Valentin as well. Dancers will occasionally take off a season for various reasons, often with little fanfare. When Maks decides to take a season off, it makes the headlines.
** How about some Derek Hough, Mark Ballas, Henry Byalikov and Artem Chigvintsev? Also former pros Tristan MacManus and Gleb Savchenko had some following as well.
** Tony Dovolani in season 18, if twitter #takehishirtoff is any indication.
* OneHeadTaller: Val Chmerkovskiy and Derek Hough are quite taller than their respective season 15 partners, Kelly Monaco and Shawn Johnson. The height difference is so striking that it borders on HugeGuyTinyGirl.
** One that probably does qualify as HugeGuyTinyGirl is the Season 6 pairing of 6-foot-1 Tony Dovolani with 4-foot-11 Marissa Jaret Winokur.
* OneSteveLimit: Averted in season 17 with Bill Engvall and Bill Nye. There's also season 9 celebrity Mark Dacascos and pro Mark Ballas; season 9 also has pro dancers Anna Demidova and Anna Trebunskaya.
* OohMeAccentsSlipping: Mark Ballas speaks in his American accent but sometimes his British accent would occasionally come out.
* PimpedOutDress: Also a contractual requirement of ballroom dancing.
* PlatonicLifePartners: Evan Lysacek and Anna Trebunskaya of Season 10, reportedly. Particularly seeing as how she's, you know, married. Anna and Evan had fantastic chemistry and clearly had a blast together, but compare her [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxXYyhtqvRA waltz with Evan]] to [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37TMRZUXbwA this dance]] with her hubby, and the difference is instantly apparent.
** Not anymore, they're divorced.
** Mark Ballas and Cheryl Burke. When one of them was about to be eliminated back on season 18, they were holding each others hands.
* RealMenWearPink: For a show that requires male participants to wear shiny sparkly outfits and dance, it has attracted a substantial amount of athletes from sports such as MMA, boxing, and football. Almost every season has featured a major name AmericanFootball player. Season 12 alone featured Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward, boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard, and ChrisJericho.
* TheRunnerUpTakesItAll: While Season 8 Champion Shawn Johnson didn't suffer any setbacks, it was really second place finisher Gilles Marini whose career got a tremendous boost from being on the show.
** Season 5 runner up [[Music/SpiceGirls Mel B]] parlayed her appearance into several TV gigs. Season 5 champion Helio Castroneves was acquitted of tax evasion charges just before his win.
*** This isn't exactly unbelievable, since a large number of the winners have been pro athletes. The athletes simply do the show for fun either during retirement or during the off-season. Many don't have plans to leverage their success into other ventures, whereas the others might.
** Season 18 Amy Purdy as well.
* RunningGag: Maksim Chmerkovskiy manhandling Tom Bergeron after the judges commentary.
** Also Derek Hough "getting yanked" off camera, and pulling funny faces/poses on the last note of the DWTS theme nearly every time it plays when he's on camera.
* ShipTease: Meryl and Maks in season 18 do this constantly.
** WillTheyOrWontThey.
* ShirtlessScene
** WalkingShirtlessScene: Again, Maksim is an {{egregious}} example, but pretty much any male professional dancer gets a swing at this one.
** Season 18 Tony Dovolani that became a running gag.
* ShockingElimination: For a popularity contest, sometimes it is bound to happen.
** One of the most notable ones was the elimination of Sabrina Bryan in Week 6 of Season 5, which shocked and brought tears to everyone. And it happens AGAIN, in the SAME WEEK, to her in the All-Stars season! In a cruel coincidence, Sabrina was eliminated on Oct. 30, 2012...exactly five years to the day she was eliminated the first time!
* ShowgirlSkirt: For reasons that should be pretty apparent, these are especially common when contestants dance the samba.
* SiblingTeam: Derek Hough and Julianne Hough.
* SimpleYetAwesome: Kellie Pickler's freestyle counts as this. Instead of doing a [[BiggerIsBetter super-sized]] freestyle, her partner, Derek Hough, decided to just focus on the dancing and the emotion. Their contemporary dance was by far the best freestyle of season 16.
* SmokingIsNotCool: [[http://www.tmz.com/2012/05/30/maksim-peta-dancing-with-the-stars-kiss/ Commentators]] were more disgusted of Maksim Chmerkovskly and Peta Murgatroyd smoking than kissing, as they are professional dancers (and judging from the comments, they're not the only ones).
* SoundtrackDissonance: Oftentimes the music does not match what is traditional for the dance. The Paso Doble (the Spanish bullfighter dance) has been performed to songs such as [[KatyPerry "I Kissed a Girl"]] and the Monday Night Football theme. The Foxtrot (which is basically the ballroom dance most likely to be done to Rat Pack music) has been done to songs like The Guess Who's "American Woman" and BlackEyedPeas [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POaEp5LtiOo "Boom Boom Pow."]] Although sometimes doing so can produce [[CrazyEnoughToWork memorable results]].
* SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute: Brooke Burke replacing Samantha Harris as co-host.
** And now Brooke Burke is replaced by Erin Andrews.
* TakeThat: Guitar Hero once showed a parody of the show called "Washed Up Celebrity Dance-Off"
* TechnicianVersusPerformer: Season 1. Kelly Monaco (the Performer) won it over John O'Hurley (the Technician). Hotly contested, enough so that the two couples squared off in a TV special which O'Hurley won.
** Another pair of examples, different seasons, are Season 11: [[TheHills Audrina Patridge]] (the Technician) and [[CampGay Carson Kressley]] (the Performer). Patridge was even told multiple times by Bruno "you have excellent foot work, but you look like a [[GettingSmiliesPaintedOnYourSoul Barbie]]."
** Many of the seasons start out eliminating the "terrible" performers and then working to the "uninteresting" technicians. Then the [[TheMario balanced]] dancers and finally to those that have a balanced mix of both.
** Many times, the line can be drawn between current and former pro athletes (Technicians) vs. actors or musicians (Performers.) The athletes usually have exceptional coordination and strength; however, since so many sports encourage a "game face" that shows zero emotion to avoid showing an opponent you're tired or in pain (which might give them a psychological advantage,) they come across as wooden. The actors, on the other hand, are much better at emoting and generally being entertaining (it is their job, after all,) but are much more likely to be uncoordinated or simply more vulnerable to fatigue. This was actually discussed at least once by the pro dancers.
* ThatMakesMeFeelAngry: former host Brooke Burke frequently invokes this by asking contestants to reflect upon the judges' scores.
* TransAtlanticEquivalent: Of ''StrictlyComeDancing''.
** Counts as a MarketBasedTitle as well.
*** Actually, ''Dancing With The Stars'' is the title for all the non-British versions, since ''Strictly Come Dancing'' is a pun on ''Film/StrictlyBallroom'' and the old BBC show ''Come Dancing'' (the latter of which didn't export, so no one would get the reference outside Britain).
* VitriolicBestBuds: The show has been known to make fast and lasting friends out of the couples. However, because it's a high stress competition, they have been known to snap and snark at each other. Mel B and Maksim probably take the cake.
** The three judges(!)
* WardrobeMalfunction: Kelly Monaco had one of these during a dance, but managed to keep everything covered and finished the dance.
** And as of Season 13, Nancy Grace had a nip slip after finishing her second dance. The camera awkwardly panned to show premade footage of audience members just sitting there staring.
** In season 14, professional dancer (not celeb) Maria Menounos had an unfortunate malfunction where one of her breasts popped out entirely of her top. Courtesy of the eight second delay, all home viewers saw was the Dancing With The Stars logo for a few seconds while she adjusted her top.
* WhatWereYouThinking:
** Some people had this reaction to [[Music/PussycatDolls Nicole Scherzinger]] being let on as a contestant in Season 10. A group of amateur celebrity dancers vs. a woman who ''dances for a living''... nope, no unfair advantage there, no sir.
** The same was said for Wrestling/StacyKeibler (a member of Wrestling/{{WCW}}'s Nitro Girls dancing troupe and an NFL cheerleader before that) in season 2.
** Same with Sabrina Bryan, who had studied Jazz and Tap most of her childhood, and actually released a Dancing fitness video called ''BYOU,'' and Kristi Yamaguchi, Evan Lysacek, Charlie White and Meryl Davis, who were professional figure skaters (essentially professional dancers on skates.)
** And with ZendayaColeman, whose [[ShakeItUp current show]] centers around a dance-style variety show.
*** It could be said that professional dancing celebs are brought on to counter the athlete celebs. Until J.R. Martinez won in season 13, you had either a celeb with dancing experience or an athlete win it all (six dancers and seven athletes so far).
*** The official stance of the show (at least initially) was that ballroom is very much its own domain, and having experience in another area of dance (hip-hop, tap, music video choreography, etc.) doesn't really lend itself to ballroom (with the obvious advantages of stamina, flexibility, etc.) They have said that they would veto anybody with a blatant disadvantage, such as Mikhail Baryshnikov, but that may have changed in recent seasons.
** Letting Bristol Palin compete on All Stars, who was a mid-tier dancer in her season.
** Perhaps a better example: Bringing on contestants who were clearly too elderly and frail to handle a grueling dance competition, like Cloris Leachman or Buzz Aldrin.
*** Leachman wrote in her memoirs all contestants do have to pass a basic physical, though the standards might not be very high.
** Season 17, making Julianne Hough and Maksim Chmerkvosky as the replacement judges for a week. Does the producers think that she will not generate envy or getting personal to the pros?
** Also in Season 17, Corbin Bleu. A trained dancer and regular Broadway actor. [[SarcasmMode Totally not destined for the finals, right?]]
** Season 18 probably had the biggest one of all with Abby Lee Miller of Series/DanceMoms being invited as guest judge. You could see the pro dancers were clearly displeased with this decision (Still, you can argue that Abby had some dancing knowledge as opposed to other guest judges in the season).
* ZettaiRyouiki: Brandy. Season 11. Grade [[strike:A]]''S''! Hot ''damn''.
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