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Dancing with the Stars: 25 Most Shocking Moments

Dancing With the Stars Most Shocking Moments

TV Guide Editors
Dancing With the Stars Most Shocking Moments
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Dancing with the Stars' 25 Most Shocking Moments

Dancing with the Stars is a pretty simple and straightforward show: celebrities dance, judges judge, viewers vote, and someone is crowned winner of the season. But it gets more complicated than that, and sometimes it gets downright shocking. In its 28 seasons, DWTS has been the forum for all manner of surprises and stunning moments, from unbelievable castings to gruesome injuries, feuds, wardrobe malfunctions, and even some high-profile firings (ahem Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews) that made the public's collective jaw drop lower than the dip in a tango. While there have been many shocking moments in DWTS' 15-year history, only 25 were so flabbergasting that we're still talking about them all this time later. Check out the 25 most shocking moments in Dancing with the Stars history. 

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Property Brothers' Jonathan Scott Joins Drew's Performance

Drew Scott was supposed to be the only Property Brother on DWTS when he had a turn on Season 25; his brother Jonathan is said to have turned down a request to compete on the show. Evidently, he couldn't resist at least trying it out, because during Drew's "Most Memorable Year" stint, Jonathan crashed the party and turned the duet into a threesome. 

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Producers try to give Zendaya a spray tan

As you might've guesed, she refused.

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Sharna Burgess' nip slip

Sharna Burgess admitted her skin almost matched her red hair in Season 22, when she had a wardrobe malfunction that left her feeling embarrassed. 

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Melissa Rycroft's 'boob came out'

Melissa Rycroft, a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, got a perfect score with her partner in a 2009 episode, but the win came with a tiny bit of drama. Her breast became partly exposed and she very clearly shouted, "My boob came out!" Luckily, viewers at home were too focused on her stellar performance to notice. 

6 of 26

Heather Morris' elimination

You'd think that a former backup dancer for Beyoncé (and Glee's top dancer) would be a shoo-in to win the show, but Morris revealed that rehearsing for the competition was a lot harder than we might think. 

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Juan Pablo Di Pace & Cheryl Burke eliminated

Fuller House star Juan Pablo wowed judges in Season 27 -- even earning a perfect score of 60 in Week 7. Still, his stellar performances weren't enough to keep him in the competition, and he was axed in a brutal double elimination so stunning even Len Goodman said, "There is no justice here."

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Melissa Gilbert rushed to the ER

Actress Melissa Gilbert suffered whiplash and a concussion on DWTS in 2012, causing her to be rushed to a hospital. Gavin DeGraw, ever the gentleman, carried her down the stairs.

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Someone mixes up Bachelor in Paradise cast

Sometimes, we all have our days. That's the only excuse we can think of that that colossal whoopsie in Season 28, when someone on the show apparently thought they spotted the cast of Bachelor in Paradise in the audience. Twitter, of course, did its thing.

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Kym Johnson hospitalized after fall

Pro dancer Kym Johnson took a nasty spill in a rehearsal during Season 12. Practicing with her partner Hines Ward, who won the season, Johnson fell after Ward accidentally dropped her. Johnson landed on her neck and had to be hospitalized for the injury. She wore a neck brace for some time. 

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Jaleel White snaps at partner Kym Johnson

Us Weekly recounted how in a season 14 rehearsal, Jaleel White yelled at Johnson after he accidentally stepped on her foot. It apparently got so bad, with White allegedly getting in her face and calling her an idiot, that Mark Ballas intervened.

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DWTS cast members in a fatal accident

Not all DWTS shocking moments happen on screen -- and not all of them are minor. The DWTS family was involved in a tragic loss in 2018 when a DWTS tour bus was involved in a crash that happened in Ames, Iowa. Snowy weather conditions caused a 50-car pileup, resulting in one person's tragic death. DWTS Season 25 winner Jordan Fisher and dance partner Lindsay Arnold were both on the tour but not in the vehicle involved in the accident. Some crew members did sustain minor injuries. 

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Hope Solo accuses Maksim Chmerkovskiy of being mean to her

The Olympian and Season 13 contestant said in her 2012 memoir that Maks "manhandled me in rehearsals from the start, pushing me, whacking my stomach, bending my arms roughly," adding that he was rough and mean. He called her a "sh--ty person" so we're guessing these two don't get together for the holidays. 

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Cheryl Burke couldn't stand Ian Ziering

Burke reportedly told executives the 90201 alum "made me want to slit my wrists," adding: "I was like crying to executives, [saying] 'Is there any way to please to just eliminate us?'" That sounds fun. 

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Kate Gosselin whines so much she made Tony Dovolani want to quit

Kate Gosselin apparently got on Tony Dovolani's nerves so bad that in one rehearsal he yanked off his mic and said: "I'm done, I'm done today. I quit!"

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Christie Brinkley's competition-ending arm break

Supermodel Christie Brinkley had to end her time on DWTS before it even got started when she broke her arm in rehearsal -- five days before the premiere. Her daughter Sailor took her place.

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Tom Bergeron throws shade at Sean Spicer casting

When former Trump spokesperson Sean Spicer was cast in Season 28, many people were bothered by such a divisive figure -- someone caught telling several lies on behalf of the administration -- was put in a family-friendly entertainment show like DWTS. Critics said Spicer's casting helped normalize the administration's record of repeating known falsehoods, but none of these critics were as close to the show as host Tom Bergeron. When the news came out, he said publicly that he'd hoped DWTS could remain a "joyful respite from our exhausting political climate and free of divisive bookings from any party affiliations." This is by no means an inflammatory statement, but given that Bergeron was publicly speaking out against his bosses, it's clear he was cloaking intense feelings about it as best he could -- a startling rebuke of the hands that fed him. 

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Sasha Farber proposes to Emma Slater

Nobody watching DWTS on October 4, 2016 could believe their eyes when Sasha Farber dropped to one knee -- not for a dance move but to propose to fellow pro dancer Emma SlaterThey married in 2018 in front of Dancing friends Julianne HoughNick and Vanessa LacheyDrew Scott, and Cheryl Burke; as of 2020, they're still going strong.

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Michael Bolton demands an apology from Bruno

Singer Michael Bolton was so bad at doing what Bruno called "the worst jive in 11 seasons" that when his critique came back, it evidently hurt his feelings. After he got kicked off, he whined about it on Good Morning America and even demanded an apology. "You heard the tone. Even Len [Goodman] stopped him and said, 'That's inappropriate,' and I think he should apologize publicly and be reprimanded for it." Wow, a bad dancer and thin-skinned. Not a great combo. 

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Two men rush the stage during a Ryan Lochte performance

During his Season 23 turn, which came after he was caught lying about an incident in Brazil during the Olympics, Ryan Lochte was nearly ambushed by two audience members who rushed onto the stage. "I was really hurt when I saw that, and I was in shock," Lochte later told Entertainment Tonight Canada.

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Simone Biles eliminated

What the what? Simone Biles, the most decorated gymnast in America, got sent packing ahead of the Season 24 semi-finals in a moment that still baffles. The week of her departure included a rumba that earned her two sets of perfect scores, but it didn't matter: voters determined that her time was up, a development that even left the judges speechless

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Brandy & Maksim Chmerkovskiy eliminated

This one sticks out in DWTS fans' memory as particularly egregious. In Season 11, Brandy got the boot -- even after a perfect score in the semi-finals -- in favor of Bristol Palin. Fans were so angry that they forced ABC to defend its voting system after they accused the show's staff of tampering with the vote. 

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Bobby Bones wins in Season 27

Called the 'biggest upset in DWTS history' at the time, the country radio personality's win was a huge shock given that he was an underdog in Season 27, to put it mildly. He received some of the season's lowest scores, never scoring higher than an 8 of 10. Some viewers were furious, calling his win a total farce. 

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James Van Der Beek announces his wife's miscarriage

James Van Der Beek revealed in the Season 29 semi-finals that his wife Kimberly suffered a miscarriage over the previous weekend. Carrying their sixth child, Kimberly was late in her pregnancy, according to an Instagram post Van Der Beek wrote after the reveal, and the loss was unexpected and devastating for both of them. He ended his routine sobbing audibly on the floor with his professional partner, Emma Slater, then took his crying daughter Olivia, 9, from the audience and held her. He was eliminated that night. 

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Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews fired

The biggest DWTS shock of all time is surely the day fans found out Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews were not returning as hosts. It must've been a shocker, especially for Bergeron who had been with the show since its debut in 2005. He received nine Emmy nominations for Outstanding Host for a Reality Competition, winning in 2012. Both took the loss in stride though, staying upbeat and positive online. 

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Tyra Banks named host of Season 29

After the news of Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews' firing from the show, DWTS second most-shocking moment had to be the day America's Next Top Model queen Tyra Banks was announced as the show's host (and executive producer) for Season 29. No answer as to why the monumental change was made has been public yet, but whenever that highly classified file drops, we can safely assume that jaws are going to drop all over again.