* ActorShipping: A good amount of the fandom tends to ship the pros with either each other or their celebrity partners (if they don't already have significant others), and the show often contributes in adding fuel to the fire. Val is the most common victim of this, being shipped with his Season 16 partner Zendaya ("Valdaya") and Season 19 partner [[Series/PrettyLittleLiars Janel Parrish]] ("Janelskiy"). Other examples of this are Sharkaroo ([[SharkTank Robert Herjavec]] and Kym Johnson, which did turn out to be RomanceOnTheSet after all) in Season 20 and Switch-Up pairing Alemma (Alek Skarlatos/Emma Slater) in Season 21.
** Alemma aside, Season 21 did a decent job in averting this by being the first season to have a married couple (Carlos and Alexa [=PenaVega=]) competing against each other, as well as featuring plenty of dances dedicated to significant others (such as Tamar's rumba in Week 4) and two pregnancy announcements (Allison in Week 4 and Nick Carter's wife Lauren Kitt in Week 8).
** Perhaps one of the most well-known examples of a classic ''Dancing'' showmance is the partnership between Meryl Davis & Maks Chmerkovskiy, the eventual winners of Season 18. Everything about them indicated a romantic relationship in the making for them, to the point that, during the finale, Maks even mentioned the possibility of marrying Meryl and having kids named Boris and Oleg with her. None of it came true (Maks ''did'' eventually become a father, but it was with Peta Murgatroyd rather than Meryl), but they still seem to be good friends.
** Thanks to a bit of flirting in their first package, Sharna and Bonner got this treatment in Season 24, with many believing the people voting for their "showmance" got them farther into the competition than they would have otherwise.
* BaseBreaker:
** Martina Navratilova's GirlinessUpgrade. Many people's reactions were [[BeautifulAllAlong that she looks beautiful]], others especially lesbian fans of a certain age rather [[UnnecessaryMakeover disliked the look]] and demanded why she wasn't allowed into a tux.
** Heather Morris in Season 24. Her packages and performances showed her to be friendly and humble. However, some viewers resented her for the simple fact that she was a celebrity contestant... by way of being a professional dancer. She may well have more impressive dance creds than some of the pros on the show. In week 4 the audience comments caught on camera were "which one's the celebrity and which one's the professional", and the other pro dancers were caught commenting on how she was better than her fill-in partner. This may have been a contributing factor for her being the only person to ever be eliminated as the highest scorer.
** Carrie Ann's insistence on taking off a point for having a lift in a dance that doesn't traditionally include lifts. Some fans see it as a necessary evil for her to balance out the judging panel, since otherwise Len is the only judge enforcing adherence to the traditional dances. Others see it as excessive and unnecessary, especially since she counts even a split second of feet off the ground (which is sometimes even ''accidental'' on the part of the dancers) as a lift and will often end up scoring a dance even lower than Len does because of it.
* CreatorsPet: While there's no denying he's a talented dancer and choreographer, the constant shilling of Derek Hough (to the point where the judges declared that he and his ''professional dancer partner'' deserve to win ''before the other finalists got their last dance'') turned off many fans.
** The shilling, plus that he has, thus far, been given reasonable contenders while even the other "wonder triplets", Julianne Hough (his sister) and Mark Ballas (Mark's parents raised Derek and Julianne), have been handed less-than-stellar (or popular) partners.
** Zigzagged, Len (the head judge) is not the biggest fan of Derek, sometimes Len's criticism has nothing to do with Derek's partner at all. Nor is he a big fan of Mark Ballas who took creative risks (just listen to him criticizing the zombie paso doble routine.)
** During the Hough-less Season 22, we instead get a Network's Pet in the form of Ginger Zee, who got Val as her pro partner and, despite delivering less-than-stellar dances most of the time, receives more praise than the fanbase feels she deserves, just because she's the chief meteorologist on ''Good Morning America'', which tends to report quite a lot on ''Dancing''.
*** She also received the first perfect score, and made it to the finale, against arguably a much more talented cast. [[http://www.inquisitr.com/3101886/ginger-zee-dancing-with-the-stars-controversy-is-the-fix-in-for-the-finals/ Articles were written]] questioning whether there was some sort of "fix."
** Val himself seems to be developing into one; between seasons 19 and 24 he's won twice and been consistently given one of the best female stars of the season. The only time he missed the finals in those seasons was with Tamar Braxton, and even that was not because of her skill level (she easily could have made the finals) but because she withdrew due to medical problems.
* EliminationHoudini: Marie Osmond, Music/MasterP, Michael Irvin, Cloris Leachman, Billy Ray Cyrus, Bristol Palin, Kendra Wilkinson, Hope Solo, Melissa Gilbert, Bill Engvall, Chris Soules, etc.
** Season 21 avoided this to a certain degree, with all of the weakest celebs being eliminated during the front half of the competition. Still, a lot of people weren't pleased to see Alek Skarlatos, who among the remaining celebs wasn't exactly the best, in the final three just because of his personal story, much like what happened to Noah Galloway in the previous season.
** Season 24 had two big ones in Bonner Bolton and David Ross, both of which clearly weren't the best dancers, but kept being saved by the public vote. At least a case could be made for David, a funny and likeable guy who was well aware that he wasn't up to par with the rest of the contestants but still enjoyed himself and developed a sweet partnership with his pro, Lindsay Arnold. Bonner, on the other hand, didn't have much of an excuse, as he remained stiff even in later weeks and never really seemed to try connecting with the audience.
* EnsembleDarkhorse: Sharna Burgess, who is considered one of the better pros and even nicknamed "Lord Sharna" by a good portion of the fanbase, but hasn't scored a mirrorball yet. Troupe member Jenna Johnson could also qualify.
* GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff: To say this show made Bindi Irwin popular in North America would be an understatement. It really is no wonder she was her season's champion.
* GrowingTheBeard: After losing its audience share due to the overblown double night set-up and a general negative reaction to reality shows, the change in format to have only one show a week has paid off, as has getting Erin Andrews to take over the sidekick role from Brooke Burke.
* HilariousInHindsight:
** In week 2 of season 20, Nastia Liukin and Derek Hough danced a rumba to "[[Music/EdSheeran Thinking Out Loud]]". Season 20 was the season the dancer on the song's music video, Brittany Cherry, made her official debut in the troupe.
** During Nick Carter's first dance in Season 21, his pants' button popped out, reminding him of Joey Fatone's microphone coming loose during [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erqnVLOTxTg his first dance]] in Season 4, which was set to the Bee Gees' "You Should Be Dancing". [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3Ikg7QQc2M Guess what song Nick ended up dancing to]] on Famous Dances Night five weeks later?
** Back in season 19, Sadie Robertson, Mark Ballas and Emma Slater performed a trio Foxtrot to "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" by Frankie Valli. Fast forward to season 23 and Ballas was absent from the pro list... but only because he was to to be the final actor to portray Valli in ''Theatre/JerseyBoys'' as the play completed its historic 11-year Broadway run.
** During the 10th anniversary special episode in Season 20, some of the most notable football players to do the show, including Jerry Rice, Kurt Warner, past winners Hines Ward and Donald Driver, and Jacoby Jones, performed a special Paso Doble group number with Anna (who had previously been partnered with Jerry in Season 2 and Kurt in Season 11), Karina (who was Jacoby's partner in Season 16), and, for some reason, Emma. Her inclusion in the performance is all the more interesting after her victory with Rashad Jennings in Season 24.
* HollywoodPudgy: Former pros Lacey Schwimmer and Cheryl Burke for a time underwent backlash because of their weight, though that obviously didn't hinder their dancing skills.
* HoYay: ''Ubiquitous.'' Lest we not forget Mark Ballas and Val Chmerkovskiy going head to head.
** The {{Music/Madonna}} dance by Carson Kressley with the Chmerkovskiy brothers is ''dripping'' with this. There's no doubt it was intentional.
** What likely started it was the season with Steve Guttenberg. One week, his partner, Anna Trebunskaya, had to take a day off. To avoid having him fall behind, her then-husband, Jonathan Roberts, filled in to help Steve. This led to them performing their all-male Tango (which Tom dubbed "The Man-go,") on the results show that week.
** Then there was the (in)famous kiss between Bruno and Donny Osmond.
** Bethany Mota's samba: Derek Hough and troupe member Sasha Farber's accidental(?) kiss.
** Season 21 also had its fair share of homoerotic undertones, for the most part involving, oddly enough, Carlos [=PenaVega=] (who's not only married to a woman but was also competing against said woman), such as the footage of him and Val practicing hip action for Carlos' salsa with his actual partner Witney, and an entire montage dedicated to Carlos and Alek's bromance in the finale.
** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMc7JiNpshQ Team Bruno's tango]] had [[{{Series/Full House}} Jodie Sweetin]] dancing with Peta Murgatroyd and a shirtless Creator/NyleDiMarco dancing with an also shirtless Keo Motsepe for a bit. As some people have said, that was the most Bruno thing anyone has ever seen.
** Season 24's finale gave us a whole montage of Peta's partner Nick Viall and his love for Peta's fiancee Maks, including him and Maks wearing matching "I ♥ Maks" and "I ♥ Nick" shirts.
* JustHereForGodzilla: Every season will have someone notable enough to be cast that will encourage viewers to tune in.
** Season 17 itself had a quite well known cast for that time, with [[Series/JerseyShore Snooki]], [[Series/SavedByTheBell Elizabeth]] [[Film/{{Showgirls}} Berkley]], Creator/BillEngvall, Valerie Harper, Amber Riley from ''Series/{{Glee}}'', and even Creator/BillNye himself.
* NightmareFuel: Marie Osmond's [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5U6uOGT3GOE freestyle dance]] a.k.a. the [[FanNickname Dreaded]] [[AddedAlliterativeAppeal Doll Dance]]. Makes a grown man cry indeed...
* 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, and ''exactly five years to the day she was eliminated the first time'', no less!
** Season 17 suffered a nasty chain of them starting from Christina Milian (who got the first 10 of the season that week) to Elizabeth Berkley (got a perfect score in 1 of her dances and had a 14 point lead over Bill Engvall).
** Despite constantly getting judge praise, almost getting the first perfect score of the season (in the Most Memorable Year week she had a 39), and being one of the best dancers, Season 20's Willow Shields was eliminated in the seventh week, to the shock of everyone on the show and most people watching.
** Season 24: Creator/HeatherMorris' elimination not only came right after her pro partner Maks returned to the show after a calf muscle injury forced him to take a four-week sabbatical (Morris danced with troupe member Alan Bernsten in the meantime), but they'd got ''the first perfect 40 of the season'' that week. Many feathers were ruffled that night.
*** Note that in all of her performances bar Disney night[[note]]Ironically, this dance was Jazz -- one of the styles she specialises in[[/note]] she had been in the top three, and was the highest scorer for both dances in the week she was eliminated (compared to Nick, who was the lowest scorer in both dances that week). In all weeks prior, either the lowest or second-lowest couple was eliminated, and the show has never seen someone with a perfect score be knocked out (outside of finals).
*** Even more feathers were ruffled after Simone Biles was eliminated in the semifinals, despite geting a ''perfect 80'' from her two dances that night, a full ten points more than the other contestant up for elimination. Unfortunately, that contestant, Cubs catcher David Ross, may well have the most fan support in the history of the program.
* TearJerker:
** Chris Irvine's Rumba dedicated to his [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0U3O5YMMlg0 late mother]].
** Katherine Jenkins' waltz dedicated to [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBui4OZNgHE her late father]].
** The reaction of Hines Ward after he and Kym Johnson completed their Argentine Tango three days after Kym nearly broke her neck.
** JR Martinez's rumba to "If You're Reading This". The dance was dedicated to his fellow soldiers who didn't come home from Iraq and Afghanistan. There wasn't a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSdHRF25VPs dry eye in the house]] when the dance was done.
** Len Goodman's story on how he can no longer dance due to his knees...then joining in on Nastia Liukin and Derek's Viennese Waltz in his honor.
** Nick Carter and Sharna Burgess' Foxtrot to "Comin' Home, Part II", dedicated to Sharna's father and grandmother, during Hometown Glory week.
** Their week 8 contemporary dedicated to Nick's wife.
** Back to Hometown Glory week, [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPBmIriuCZQ Alexa PenaVega and Mark Ballas' rumba]] to the theme from ''Film/SomewhereInTime'', which was a tribute to Ballas' parents, the great professional Latin dancers Corky and Shirley Ballas.
** Bindi Irwin's contemporary to "Every Breath You Take" in Most Memorable Year Week. For that matter, the package beforehand counts as this too. There probably wasn't a dry eye in the audience after the package and dance. Turned UpToEleven after her freestyle to "Footprints in the Sand", when Derek surprised her by having a picture of young Bindi with her father displayed prominently on the wall at the end. Bindi took one look at it and crumpled into tears in Derek's arms.
** Speaking of Most Memorable Year week, Creator/LeaThompson's contemporary to "Dance with my Father".
** Most Memorable Year Week strikes again in Season 22, with Doug Flutie's tribute dance to his parents (who died literally within ''an hour'' of each other after being married for decades), set to "[[Film/TheMuppetMovie The Rainbow Connection]]".
** Two weeks later, during Switch-Up Week, it was Creator/NyleDiMarco who turned on the waterworks as he and Sharna danced a Viennese Waltz to "I Get to Love You" and scored the first 10 of the season.
*** Not to mention [[https://youtu.be/UqVB638qHfI Nyle's freestyle]], set to Disturbed's version of "The Sound of Silence."
** [[Series/DuckDynasty Sadie Robertson's]] Viennese waltz to [[WesternAnimation/{{Up}} "Married Life"]] during Movie Week in season 19.
** Jennifer Grey's emotional first dance that paid tribute to her late ''Film/DirtyDancing'' costar Creator/PatrickSwayze.
** [[https://youtu.be/r-2ezzt8aeY James Hinchcliffe's freestyle]], set to narration by James about his life-threatening accident.
** Florence Henderson attended the season 23 finale to meet up with Maureen [=McCormick=], who played her daughter on ''Series/TheBradyBunch''. Florence would be hospitalized the day after the finale, and would die of heart failure the day after that.
** Season 25's "Most Memorable Year" night got pretty emotional all around.
*** The dances Frankie, Nikki, and Victoria did were all uplifting, but it was hard to watch the packages beforehand as they talked about their struggles with memory loss (Frankie), near-paralysis (Nikki), and ''everything'' Victoria's had to go through.
*** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8L5ZRjvzVXo Terrell's waltz]] for his late grandmother, who died in 2012 after spending years with dementia. And he burst into tears afterward.
*** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RKcoh9W3L8 Lindsey Stirling's waltz]] for her late father, which also had Mark wearing one of her dad's old hats and scarves, which also made it her last dance ''with'' her father. And she burst into tears afterword.
*** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tztp1tkjRU8 Jordan's comteporary]] was dedicated to his grandparents, who became his adoptive parents after his mother was declared unfit to raise him. He burst into tears ''before'' the dance after watching his own package declaring how much he loves them, and immediately ran to them in the audience after finishing the number.
* TheScrappy: Every season seems to have at least one contestant who serves as the lightning rod for audience hate.
* TheWoobie: As the first (and so far only) black professional dancer on the show, many fans were excited about Keo's introduction in Season 19...only for him to be immediately eliminated in week 1. As of Season 25, Keo has been the first or second eliminated in every season he's competed in (save for Season 22 with Jodie Sweetin, where he made it to week 8). Even Erin once mentioned it in a blooper from dress rehearsals: "It's the first elimination of the season, which usually means Keo's going home."