It’s that time of year again… kids go back to school, the leaves change colors and Dancing with the Stars heads back to production, which means a lot of random contestants get thrown into the mix to fight it out on the ballroom floor. On Wednesday, the news leaked out that Olivia Jade was going to be on the show for its 30th season, per TMZ. This will be the first major TV appearance (aside from her Red Table Talk interview last year) after the college admissions scandal.
The dance competition series has become a place for celebrities to rehabilitate their image and show a different side to themselves, so Olivia Jade won’t be the first star to hope for a positive outcome whether she wins or loses that mirrorball trophy. There have been many controversial contestants over the years (cough, cough, Sean Spicer), who have caught the attention of many viewers — for better or for worse.
So we thought it’s the right time to look at a few of those contestants to not only see how they did on the dance floor, but whether their decision to do Dancing with the Stars was the right move. It worked out for some, but for others? Well, maybe not so much.
Sean Spicer’s inclusion on the Dancing with the Stars roster in 2019 drew the ire of many viewers, who just didn’t want politics on their favorite dance show, but producers courted the controversial former White House Press Secretary in the Trump administration. Host Tom Bergeron took to Twitter to denounce the political aide’s casting, tweeting that the show should “be a joyful respite from our exhausting political climate and free of inevitably divisive bookings from ANY party affiliations” but the producers decided to “go in a different direction.” Spicer didn’t dance very well, but Donald Trump’s tweets kept Spicer on the show far longer than he needed to be there.
A post shared by Carole Baskin (@carolebaskincat)
Did she or didn’t she murder her ex-husband Don Lewis? Nobody really knows that answer for sure, but the Tiger King documentary star tried to turn the narrative around in season 29 on Dancing with the Stars. All of her dances were cat-related (naturally) and viewers probably didn’t change their minds about her — the documentary left too many questions unanswered. It also didn’t help that Lewis’ family members ran a commercial during the season asking for tips about their loved one’s death.
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The movie I, Tonya was a big part of the Oscars season in 2018 so it gave the producers an idea to bring Tonya Harding on Dancing with the Stars: Athletes edition. They had already had Nancy Kerrigan on the show, so why not the beleaguered Olympic figure skater in the “whack heard ’round the world” saga? There were plenty of viewers who were not happy with this casting because over two decades later, they believe Harding never owned up to her participation in the horrific event. Besides her polarizing presence, she didn’t do too badly on the dance floor with a respectable third-place finish.
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Ryan Lochte came to the show in 2016 hot on the heels of his Rio Olympics scandal (Lochtegate), where he lied about being robbed at gunpoint by criminals posing as cops. The truth was Lochte and his teammates were drunk and vandalized a framed poster at a gas station — and it was the business’ security guards asking for money for the damage. He decided that sequins and sparkles might help his image after that international mess. But some people didn’t forget — the first week of the show, protesters rushed the stage and tried to attack Lochte while he was standing next to partner Cheryl Burke and Bergeron. The show had to amp up security after that scary incident, but his dancing wasn’t too bad.
We have to go way back into the Dancing with the Stars’ archives for this one. Eleven years ago, The Kate Plus 8 star wasn’t the easiest contestant to get along with, especially for partner Tony Dovolani. Besides dealing with her two left feet during rehearsals, the dance pro walked out on her after she threw a temper tantrum one week. Let’s just say, Dovolani was not disappointed when they were voted off the show in the ffth week.
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