Dancing With The Stars on ABC is now celebrating its 18th Season. This is a remarkable fact since so many other celebrity-based reality competition shows have gone to reality show heaven: I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, Celebrity Diving, Celebrity Duets, to name a few. Though most of the dancers are not A-list celebrities, there is never a shortage of colorful characters which is why we keep watching season after season. Enjoy our list of favorites and you might be surprised…they were not all winners!
1. Kelly Monaco
Nobody, unless you were a die-hard General Hospital fan, had even heard of Kelly Monaco until Season 1 of DWTS. Yet there were so many things that made us fall in love with her instantly. Aside from her obvious natural talent for dancing, she had a childlike innocence, vulnerability and sense of humor that appealed to a broad audience. But mostly we loved her because she had abs that we all would pay money to have and she could seriously rock a pair of leg warmers.
2. Kenny Mayne
We definitely did not like Season 2’s Kenny Mayne for his dancing. Oh no! His dancing was mocked and he was quickly eliminated. However, Mayne continues to be one of our favorites because he has remained a DWTS regular, participating in hilarious skits with Jerry Rice and Len Goodman. We appreciate them adding their little bit of silliness to the tense, ultra-competitive and often dramatically drawn-out finals episode.
3. Emmitt Smith
You have to admit Smith was so much fun to watch. Mostly because none of us could believe that a 5 ft. 9 in., 216 pound former running back could be anything close to graceful. He sure proved us all wrong and with charm, charisma and some seriously good moves he went on to win the mirror ball trophy with both skill and popularity.
4. Cameron Matheson
Not even close to making it to the finals, Matheson and the gorgeous Edyta Sliwinska were eliminated 8th in their season. The All My Children heartthrob is among our favorites because let’s face it, he is not hard on the eyes. He vowed to strip during the season finale and although he didn’t quite make it that far, he humored us by taking his shirt off from the sidelines.
5. Marissa Jaret Winokur
The once heavy, cancer survivor mom gave us more than her share to root for. She was a peppy inspiration and that took her very far in her DWTS season. She gave us a reason to believe that if she could do it, maybe even we could do it.
6. Kelly Osbourne
The fact that nobody seemed to think that Kelly Osborne would be any good on the dance floor gave us reason enough to root for this underdog. It was super fun to watch her prove everyone wrong and Samba her way to 3rd place in her season. It didn’t hurt to get to see the Prince of Darkness (her doting father Ozzy Osbourne) rooting for her every week.
7. Kirstie Alley
There aren’t a lot of things we don’t love about Alley. First, it is impressive that she danced her way from a size 12 to a size 6 during her 10 weeks on DWTS. But it was how she approached the entire competition with enthusiasm and humor along with a genuine friendly chemistry that she had with her partner that won our hearts. Even when partner Maksim’s leg gave out and he tumbled while holding Alley, who also fell to the floor, she recovered beautifully, dusting herself off and moving on. She was just a joy to watch.
8. Maria Menounos
Menounos and her partner 5-time DWTS winner Derek Hough made it all the way to the semi-finals and even had to battle romance rumors due to their undeniable chemistry. It was no doubt that she had skills on the dance floor but it was her notorious and bizarre laugh that she says sounds much like Flipper, along with her peppy personality that made us want to watch her reaction from the judges table every week.
The youngest contestant to ever compete in the show 16-year-old Zendaya narrowly lost out in the finale to Kellie Pickler. Her young fans did not handle the news well. She even reported that she was getting tweets from parents after her loss that said “My daughter is crying so hard and doesn’t want to go to school because she’s upset you didn’t win.” That’s a lot of pressure for a young celebrity to feel but just goes to show why this Disney star will always be an all-time favorite.
10. Lisa Vanderpump
DWTS seemed to have placed a ban on having any “housewives” on the dance competition. We were glad that the 52-year-old Vanderpump was the first to break that rule. Even though she fizzled out pretty quickly there was no shortage of drama, especially when they aired footage of her fainting spell during rehearsals, which some claimed to be the most graceful (translation: fake) faint in television history.
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