Dancing With The Stars Contestants Who Let Us DownPublished on April 5, 2017. Updated August 27, 2020
Dancing With the Stars has seen super competitive seasons, and others that were rather lacking in talent, but either way almost every season has had stars that were expected to do well right away. Either for physical ability, previous dance experience, or sheer confidence, many fans picked out some stars to be frontrunners who ended up being extremely disappointing in the competition! From natural athletes, to stars who were promoted as big draws for the season, many times they didn’t last nearly as long fans expected or wanted them to! So, here are some Dancing With the Stars contestants who let us down:
13. Nick Lachey
Over the years, there are some celebrities who have proven to just have a natural groove for ballroom dancing, and a lot of them have been members of boy bands or girl groups. When Nick Lachey joined season 25 many thought the former 98 Degrees singer would have an advantage thanks to his time learning choreographed moves with the boy band. The likes of Joey McIntyre (New Kids on the Block), Joey Fatone (NSYNC), Mel B (Spice Girls), Lance Bass (NSYNC), Nicole Scherzinger (Pussycat Dolls), Nick Carter (Backstreet Boys), Normani Kordei (Fifth Harmony), and Ally Brooke (Fifth Harmony), all used the skills they learned to either win their seasons or at least land in the top three, but the same couldn’t be said for Nick Lachey. Many expected a longrun from the singer on the show, especially after his own brother won season 2, but instead he was eliminated fifth and had a very unmemorable stint on DWTS.
12. Sabrina Bryan
Season five of Dancing With the Stars kicked off in September of 2007, and right away there were some who were expected to do better than others. One of those contestants was Sabrina Bryan, who had danced before and was best known as a part of the girl group The Cheetah Girls. Her past experience, as well as her off-screen blossoming romance with partner Mark Ballas at the time, meant Bryan was pegged for a top contender all season. Despite landing three of the highest scores in weeks one, three and four, the pair ended being eliminated sixth in what is still considered one of the show’s most shocking eliminations of all time. After the disappointing finish, Bryan was brought back in season 15 for the “All-Stars” season and many hoped she would get her redemption, but once again she was eliminated sixth, landing in eighth place!
11. Shannen Doherty
Season ten of Dancing With the Stars boasted 11 pretty popular stars from reality stars to athletes and it also included former Beverly Hills, 90210 and Charmed actress Shannen Doherty. Following her time on Charmed, Doherty had fallen off the radar and many were excited to see her back in the spotlight and maybe boost her career with her turn on the dancefloor in 2010. Unfortunately, all of the high hopes, expectations, and excitement fans had for seeing the actress compete came to an end extremely quickly. After the first two episodes, Doherty and her pro partner Mark Ballas became the first to be eliminated despite scoring higher than the three pairs that were eliminated after them.
10. Charlotte McKinney
Season 20 of Dancing With the Stars was arguably not the best cast in terms of popular stars, so that meant ABC took different angles to get audiences excited for the season. A lot of the focus prior to the March 2015 season was on model and actress Charlotte McKinney because of her extremely good looks. If some fans did tune in to see how the blonde bombshell would perform on the dancefloor, they were greatly disappointed. She tied for last place in the first week, and although she showed improvement in week two, she once again fell to the bottom of the leaderboard and was only the second person eliminated along with her pro partner Keo Motsepe.
9. Michael Sam
It didn’t take long for producers, judges and fans to realize that athletes did particularly well on the series, and much to everyone’s surprise, many NFL players were exceptionally light on their feet. One of the biggest draws for season 20, aside from Charlotte McKinney, was former NFL player Michael Sam. In 2014, Sam became the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL, gaining him celebrity status well outside of the sport. Partnered with Peta Murgatroyd combined with the success of previous football players and his popularity, it seemed like Sam would go far, but despite all of this, he was eliminated third right behind Charlotte McKinney.
8. Kristin Cavallari
Season 13 of Dancing With the Stars saw a good mix of celebrity contestants and one of the most popular was reality star, fashion designer and wife of NFL player Jay Cutler, Kristin Cavallari. Due to her positive attitude, and dedication to staying in shape, many assumed that Cavallari would be a top contender for the season, but she ended up being a disappointing dancer. Kristin along with Mark Ballas ended up being eliminated third in the competition.
7. Jake T. Austin
Season 23 had a lot of contestants for fans to get excited about and one of the lesser known was former Disney child star Jake T. Austin. Despite not being as recognized as some of the other contestants in his season, fans know that Disney stars often performed well on the show and there was a lot of buzz about Austin including a possible romance between the actor and his pro partner Jenna Johnson. With the added interest of a romance, usually fans like to keep those stars around to see what would happen, but he never got the chance! Austin and Johnson were eliminated first in the competition despite receiving better scores than politician Rick Perry who ended up being eliminated second.
6. Denise Richards
Although “frontrunners” are often picked out once the cast is set, for some seasons it is harder to determine who will do well, and season eight was one of them. The March 2009 season saw a bit of everything from Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak to Jack-Ass actor Steve-O to rapper Lil’ Kim. Denise Richards’ popularity and her beauty had her pegged as one of season eight’s top contestants, but she ended up greatly disappointing fans. The actress only made it into the second week of eliminations before she became the second contest voted off along with her pro partner Maks Chmerkovskiy.
5. Melissa Joan Hart
Over the many seasons, audiences have seen just how far popularity can carry a contestant, and a lot of times fans expect some stars to do well just because of that. Season nine was one of the rare seasons that saw 16 contestants all competing for the Mirror Ball Trophy, and among them was beloved Sabrina, The Teenage Witch star Melissa Joan Hart. Aside from a few athletes and singers with dancing experiences there was no telling who would do well and Melissa Joan Hart seemed like a promising contestant. While she did manage to make it further than many on this list, the actress’ fan base couldn’t pull her through any further than week six where she was eliminated eighth overall.
4. Michael Irvin
With so many contestants on the season, season nine also saw former star football player Michael Irvin make his way to the dancefloor. With many football players doing well, the same was expected of Irvin, especially because of the fact he was an extremely talented and agile wide receiver which was sure to translate well into dancing. While he did well, he didn’t do nearly as well as many had thought and ended up in seventh place after recording the lowest score six times in his seven week stint on the show! Irvin proved fancy footwork on the field doesn’t always mean big things on the dancefloor.
3. Shannon Elizabeth
Season six of Dancing With the Stars aired in March 2008 and also featured one of the show’s favorite real-life romances. Actress Shannon Elizabeth and her pro partner Derek Hough made a gorgeous dancing pair and an even better real life couple, but their romance couldn’t push her through the competition. She looked like she could really compete, but when it came to the dances she was mediocre, and eventually she was eliminated in week seven, placing only sixth overall.
2. Aaron Carter
If being an athlete is always a pretty good indication that a contestant will do well, usually singers fare just as well. Pop singers especially have had at least some experience with choreography thanks to music videos and concerts, and for that reason many thought Aaron Carter’s participation in season nine would be a huge comeback for the singer! For the season, Carter was partnered with Karina Smirnoff and while he didn’t do too poorly, he definitely didn’t compete nearly as well as many expected. He only had a high score twice, and was close to elimination three times being in the bottom two or three before he was finally eliminated in week eight, finishing in fifth place.
1. Mischa Barton
Season 22 of Dancing With the Stars saw a strong lineup for stars, but as soon as casting was announced, one star in particular was dominating headlines: Mischa Barton. After exiting the hit series The O.C., Barton’s personal life and career in Hollywood had been in turmoil and many were excited that she was ready to step back into the spotlight. Rumors of her bad attitude had plagued the actress, and her passionate fans were hoping she would prove everyone wrong and be a strong, healthy competitor. Due to all of the lead-up of her participation on the season, Barton became one of the biggest Dancing With the Stars’ letdowns when she proved that, not only was dancing not one of her talents, she wasn’t going to try hard either. Many contestants put in hard work to become surprising contenders, and instead Barton disappointed everyone with her bad attitude and was eliminated second.