* 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).
* 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.
* 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."
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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).
* 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.
** [[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.
** 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.
* TheScrappy: Every season seems to have at least one contestant who serves as the lightning rod for audience hate.
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