Are you a good dancer? Whether you have two left feet or whether you can samba the night away without a second thought, you can at least rest easy knowing that you don’t have to showcase your talents (or lack of talent) on national television. But the same can’t be said for the celebrities who appear on Dancing with the Stars. These guys trip and tumble for the whole world to see.
But it seems as though there’s so much more to this show than meets the eye. We see their glitzy costumes and their emotional sob stories, but what really goes on behind the scenes of Dancing with the Stars? Well, it turns out that there are so many secrets the producers refuse to tell us. And naturally, we’re going to expose them all…
The Dancers Are Often Waltzing Their Way Through a Script
Dancing with the Stars wouldn’t be complete without its fair share of drama. And whether that’s emotional stories, words of wisdom, or serious rehearsal mischief, there’s no doubt about the fact that this show brings drama into every single season and episode. But what if we told you that this reality show drama wasn’t exactly reality?
Yes, there’s been talk for a few years now that Dancing with the Stars is scripted. And while producers have tried to brush these rumors under the carpet, former celebrity contestants have come forward and noted that the producers write them scripts with added drama to keep the ratings up. So when the celebs are talking to the camera, much of it is made up for the sake of the show.
The Longer the Celebrities Stay on the Show, the More Bank They Make
Have you ever wondered how much the celebrities on Dancing with the Stars actually make? Well, it all depends on how long they stay. Although all of the stars reportedly receive a base appearance rate of $125,000, whether they’re there for two weeks or get to the final, they then get extra money the longer they stay.
While the exact figures aren’t known, it’s widely reported that the celebrities who get closer to the final get between $10,000 and $50,000 added to their check each week. So anyone who walks away with the glitterball could be sashaying away with almost $400,000 to their bank account. Not bad, huh?
Show Day Is So Hectic the Celebrities Have To Be Here, There, and Everywhere All at Once
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and an episode of Dancing with the Stars certainly isn’t a walk in the park. From the week-long rehearsals to the late-night training sessions, you’d think both the professional dancers and the celebrities must be pretty happy when show day comes around, right? Well, not quite.
Show day is the busiest of them all, and it’s been said that the dancers have to be in the studio for around 14 hours from start to finish to get everything done. Much of this time is taken up by hair, makeup, and wardrobe. According to Nick Lachey, who came ninth in season 25, “They have to make every single one of those outfits, so there are at least two custom wardrobe fittings [each week].”
The Pro Dancers May Have Job Opportunities Knocking at Their Doors, but They’re Not Allowed To Answer It
The professional dancers on Dancing with the Stars are forces to be reckoned with. Not only are they talented themselves, but they are also able to teach the celebs – who mostly have two left feet – how to go from the paso doble to the rhumba within just a few days. With this exposure, you would have thought that these dancers were overwhelmed with job offers. But that’s not the case.
According to an insider who spoke to Fox News, “They have to get approval for any outside jobs, and are very limited by what they can do now that they are big stars.” Apparently, this strict contract is what forced Julianne Hough out of the show, both as a professional dancer and as a judge.
There’s Always a Backup Celebrity Ready To Twirl Onto the Dance Floor if Something Goes Wrong
When you take untrained celebrities and whirl them around a dance floor, you’ve got to have contingency plans in place. And in almost every season of Dancing with the Stars, at least one of the chosen celebrities hasn’t been able to perform or continue with the show. This could be due to injury, schedule mix-ups, or other personal reasons that force them out of the competition.
Of course, ABC wouldn’t put on this million-dollar show without having backups ready to go, but what you might not have realized is that these backups aren’t just sitting in the wings and waiting to start rehearsals. They actually rehearse alongside the celebs who are on the show and even have wardrobe sorted for them, just in case they have to step in at a moment’s notice.
Before the Dancers Can Step Onto the Dance Floor, They Have To Learn All About the Tango – Quite Literally
One of the things that never changes about dance competitions is the fact that all of the dancers need to be suitably tangoed. And we’re not just talking about that specific dance genre. We’re talking about the fact that they all look like they’ve just come home from an all-inclusive vacation where they only wore bronzing tanning oil.
According to insiders, those who appear on Dancing with the Stars have to take part in a “Spray Tan Sunday” every week to make sure they shine on the dance floor. Every season, the glam team go through a whopping five gallons of spray tanner, and this is because it “helps to hide imperfections and creates the illusion of tighter, leaner looking bodies.”
The Winners Might Not Always Be the Worthiest of the Glitter Ball
One of the best things about watching a reality competition is that the sense of competition is always there – and that’s pretty exciting. Especially when it comes to Dancing with the Stars. We never know if a celeb is going to slip up – quite literally – and sometimes the underdogs just pull it out of the bag without us realizing it. But, unfortunately, the winners might not always be the worthiest.
According to celebs who have competed on the show before, the producers purposefully meddle in the competition to help those they like the most. Alfonso Ribiero even told AOL that “There’s a lot of manipulating going on with the producers. About what weeks you’re doing which dances, and are you doing your best dances early, or are you saving them for later.”
Contrary To Popular Belief, the Celebrities and Their Partners Aren’t Put Together To Create Drama
There have always been instances on Dancing with the Stars where a celebrity and their professional partner don’t quite see eye to eye. Of course, the pessimists and conspiracy theorists of the world would just go ahead and assume that the producers do this deliberately to create drama. However, that’s apparently not the case.
According to producer Rob Wade, the partnering is “based on height, build, personality and compatibility. We don’t pair people who aren’t going to get on. It’s too intense.” Well, you heard it here first, folks. While we’re happy to learn that this drama isn’t fabricated, it does make us wonder just how stressful the competition really is.
The Celebrity Dancers Are Normally Scouted Out for a Very Particular Reason
Although it’s always exciting to see each season’s celebrity lineup, you may sometimes wonder why those particular celebs made the cut. Sometimes you have Z-listers trying to make a comeback, sometimes you have people who are super trending – yes, we’re talking about you, Carole Baskin – and then there are others that just don’t make sense.
Well, apparently, there’s a reason for that. Although the producers of Dancing with the Stars scout out the famous faces they think will draw in a big audience, they also scout out celebs who are fans of the show. If they’ve seen that an actor or singer has been posting about the show on social media, they’ll reach out and typically receive a solid “yes” within seconds.
Thankfully, the Glitzy and Glamorous Costumes Don’t Just Get Thrown in the Garbage
Sure, we love watching Dancing with the Stars for the actual dancing – but have you seen the costumes?! This competition is all about glitz, glamour, and sometimes downright gaudy outfits. And on the one hand, we have to congratulate the wardrobe department for bringing together such epic costumes. But on the other hand, we can’t help but wonder what happens to them after the show.
After all, you don’t usually see women walking down the street with see-through, sequinned ballgowns or men in their finest dress pants and tightest tops. Thankfully, these outfits don’t just get thrown in the trash. Many of them are repurposed for other contestants and other seasons, but that’s only if the dancers themselves don’t want to buy them.
The Producers Have To Leave Their Emotions at the Door While the Show Is in Progress
The producers of any show need to ensure that they create a fun and entertaining show for both the contestants and the viewers at home. And while we don’t have any problem creating our own scoring system and judging the celebrity dancers as though we were professionals, the producers have to leave their emotions at the door.
That’s because, with a show like Dancing with the Stars, they have to be ready for many of the contestants to get injured. While anyone else would think it was their fault for creating such a concept, they just have to get on with the show and continue as best they can. While still helping them recover, of course. That’s the way show business works.
Every Single Year the Show Is Hit With the Same Question, and the Producers Always Know How To Answer It
The general concept of Dancing with the Stars is that, with the help of professional dancers and coaches, even celebrities without rhythm can bust a move on the dance floor. And most of the time, they choose celebs who are rather hopeless, to begin with. But every single year, the show is faced with criticism due to one type of celebrity they always choose.
Yes, one or two Olympians or professional athletes are almost always chosen to compete in each season of Dancing with the Stars. Although this is a great way for sports fans to see these athletes in a different environment, not everyone is happy about it. The show is constantly bombarded with complaints, stating that these athletes have an unfair advantage because they are more physically fit.
When the Celebs Are Set in the Makeup Chair, It’s the Producers’ Way or the Highway
Just as the dancers’ costumes have to stand out from the crowd and sparkle as much as they possibly can, the makeup also has to be on point. And this isn’t just for the dancers when they’re in the midst of their themed weeks. This is the case for every single performance or interview and is just as important for the judges.
Because of this, the makeup team on Dancing with the Stars is pretty busy. But they’re also pretty controlling. Apparently, the celebrity dancers, professional dancers, and judges cannot take in their own glam squads or products. Instead, only ABC-approved makeup and hair teams are allowed to set foot into the dressing rooms.
You’d Think That the Judges Would Wait Until After the Dance To Score It, but That Isn’t the Case
The judges are hugely important when it comes to Dancing with the Stars. They determine who sits atop the leaderboard and who goes home, and their job is certainly a stressful one. However, it seems as though these guys do things a little differently from how we’d imagine, as they don’t wait until the dance is over to score it.
Instead, judges are required to submit their scores when the dancers are only half-way through their routine. This is for practical reasons, as the production team needs to be able to display the scores on the screens in time with the actual show. While this makes sense, it also bamboozles us at the same time.
Many of the Celebrity Contestants Live up To Their Star-Studded Status and Are Extremely Demanding
While there’s no doubt about the fact that we would love to be famous for just the day, those who have been famous for a while often use their power and their status to be downright annoying. In fact, many become divas. Those who worked on the 23rd season of Dancing with the Stars would confirm that Amber Rose is one of those people.
According to insider sources, Rose would make diva demands on a regular basis. More often than not, she would leave a list with the producers, outlining what she wanted to be prepared and sent to her dressing room. Apparently, this did not sit well with the producers, and they were relieved when she was kicked off the show in ninth place.
The Costumes Don’t Always Fit Like a Glove, So Extreme Measures Are Often Taken
The costumes on Dancing with the Stars are truly magical, and while the design of these garments has to be commended, we also have to comment on how well they seem to fit the pros and the celebs. But it seems as though the wardrobe department isn’t always perfect when it comes to the measurements.
In fact, due to the number of costumes they have to make each week, the wardrobe department is often stretched when it comes to their time. Because of this, there’s no way they can make a new costume if it doesn’t fit the dancer. Former professional dancer and Dancing with the Stars judge Julianne Hough has noted that they instead get sewn into the costumes. Yes, pins and all.
Contrary To Popular Belief, the Professional Dancers Don’t Have Free Reign When It Comes To Their Performances
One of the best things about Dancing with the Stars is that the professional dancers get to showcase their talents and impart their wisdom on celebs who have only ever danced at A-list parties. It would be easy to assume that because they are the experts, they get free reign when it comes to the performances. But apparently, that isn’t the case at all.
Former Dancing with the Stars professional Kym Johnson has noted that the dancers are allowed to suggest songs they’d like to perform to at the start of the season. But that doesn’t mean that they’ll get to actually use them. The show’s producers decide who gets to dance to each song every week, and they may throw some curveballs in for good measure every now and then.
The Cast Romances Make Everyone on the Show Feel Super Loved Up
Every year without fail, the contestants on Dancing with the Stars get up close and personal – and this often results in cast relationships. Whether that’s a professional dancer with their celebrity counterpart, a professional dancer and a professional dancer, or two celebrity dancers, the show is full of love that makes everyone happy. But this isn’t just good news for the loved-up couple.
In fact, it’s been suggested that cast romances are encouraged by the production team. According to reports, producers try and push these romances because they create a buzz around Dancing with the Stars away from the actual dancing. While some of these romances have been more of a showmance, some of the relationships that blossomed on this show have continued for the long-haul.
While the Cast Are Friends on the Show, These Friendships Don’t Always Last After the Last Dance
When you’re spending hours and hours every week dancing with your partner, you’re bound to create a bond like no other. And many of the professional dancers have found lasting friendships with their celebrity partners over the years. And while Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy grew close during season 12 of Dancing with the Stars, they’re no longer friends at all.
According to reports, that’s all thanks to Leah Remini. After Leah wrote a book calling out the Church of Scientology, Kirstie Alley – a devout Scientologist – vowed to cut all ties with the people Leah called her friends. Unfortunately for Maksim, he had been friends with both Leah and Kirstie until the book came out. Now, Kirstie and Maksim are like strangers.
The Show Would Be Nothing Without the Professional Dancers, but They Don’t Get Compensated for This
The celebrity dancers wouldn’t be able to make a fool of themselves on the dance floor without the professional dancers’ help. But these guys aren’t paid nearly as much as we thought. In fact, the professional dancers are seriously underpaid when you think of how much they have to give up. Not only do they have to give up their time for Dancing with the Stars, but also potential job offers.
So how much do they actually get paid? Reports suggest that the professional dancers make around $5,200 per episode. This means that they ultimately walk away with an estimated $100,000 each season. Of course, this is a lot of money to most people, but compared to the celebrity dancers, it’s nothing at all.
If You’re Wondering Why You Don’t See Any Logos, There’s a Reason for That
Nowadays, you can’t turn on your televisions without coming across logos or advertisements of some sort. It seems as though we’re bombarded all of the time, but you might have noticed that it’s a little different when you watch Dancing with the Stars. In fact, there are no logos at all on this show, and for a good reason.
It’s been noted that Dancing with the Stars is under strict guidelines for licensing rules. And the show is not allowed to have any logos, sports teams, or brand names in front of the camera. Over the course of the show’s 29 seasons, only one contestant – Master P – has been allowed to wear a logo, and that’s only because he threatened to leave if he couldn’t wear his favorite jacket.
The Contestants Have To Do So Much More Than Just Dance
It would be easy to assume that the celebrity contestants on Dancing with the Stars only have to dance. Obviously, this is a challenging task in itself because they’re mostly novices who have two left feet – but they have so much more to do that we don’t realize. Their days are full of dancing, interviews, and press, and they don’t get a choice in the matter.
The contestants have to try and fit countless talk shows into their schedule while in the midst of their training sessions, and that’s all part of their contract. To keep people talking about the show and get people excited, they are booked for as many appearances as possible. We bet they’re absolutely zonked by the time the show comes to an end.
Many Potential Celebrities Are Given the Cold Shoulder
We already know that celebrity fans of Dancing with the Stars are often asked to appear on the show, but it seems as though things don’t work as well the other way around. Yes, the producers of this show are pretty hard to get, and they turn down potential celebs regularly, even though they might be super famous.
Producer Deena Katz spoke to Glamour about this process. She noted that many celebrities’ agents and managers would ask for their client to appear on the show, but she has to reject them. Apparently, “mostly the ones that are pitched to me aren’t the ones that end up [on the show], but it has nothing to do with them. It’s bigger than just putting 12 people on the show.”
Contestants Aren’t Just Chosen for Their Youthful Looks or Trendy Status
When you think of the contestants on Dancing with the Stars, you probably think of the young and hot celebs who make their mark every year. But that’s not what the show is about. The more you think about it and look back at past series, the more you’ll realize that the contestants come in all shapes and sizes.
In fact, there have often been times when the older underdog has walked away with the glitter ball. This was the case during season nine when Donny Osmond was asked to appear on the show. This legendary singer won himself the glitter ball just two weeks shy of his 52nd birthday, making him the oldest winner of the show so far.
The Producers Are in a Constant State of Worry During Each Season
Considering Dancing with the Stars is almost on its 30th season, you would have thought that the producers were used to the show by now. But it seems as though that isn’t the case. In fact, it’s been reported that the producers are in a constant state of worry from the minute the celebrities are announced until the winner lifts the glitterball trophy. But why is that?
According to Fame 10, this is because celebrities can often be pretty flaky. While they might agree to appear on the show and try their best until they’re forced out of the competition, that isn’t always the case. Some celebs back out at the last minute, and others leave halfway through the competition. This leaves them always on edge.
The “Accidents” on the Dance Floor Might Not Be Completely Accidental
It’s long been rumored that Dancing with the Stars isn’t quite as it seems. Over the years, many inside sources have suggested that many of the events that happen on the show are scripted for the sake of entertainment, and Vanessa Lachey has been caught in the midst of one of these rumors.
Vanessa appeared on season 25 of the show back in 2017, and one of her most infamous moments is when her skirt came off in the middle of her dance. We’ve already seen that the wardrobe department sews the contestants into their costumes, so how did that happen? Reports suggest that the producers actually planned the “accident” to increase voting.
Julianne Hough May Be Super Famous, but Her Place on the Show Didn’t Go Down Well
When you think of Julianne Hough, you might immediately think of Dancing with the Stars. After all, this professional dancer and all-around icon didn’t just dance on the show. She also made her way into the judging corner and became a judge on the show for three years. But not everyone was happy about this.
While there was no doubt that Julianne had an exceptional knowledge of dancing and the show, many didn’t think that her place on the judging panel was fair. After all, everyone knows the brother-sister duo of Julianne and Derek Hough. When Julianne was a judge, her brother was still competing on the show, making some people think he had an unfair advantage.
Heather Morris Was Also an Unwelcome Addition To the Celebrity Dance Team
But it seems that Julianne’s place on the show wasn’t the only thing that had fans up in arms. In 2017, Glee actress Heather Morris was announced as a new celebrity competitor on the show – but apparently, the Dancing with the Stars cast and fans at home weren’t happy about this. After all, Heather was once a professional dancer.
Yes, before Heather was singing and dancing along with Rachel Berry in Glee, she was working as a professional dancer. Not only was she a backup dancer for Beyonce, but she also appeared on season two of So You Think You Can Dance back in 2006. Many thought this gave her an unfair advantage over the other celebrity contestants.
The Show Takes Over Everyone’s Lives, and the Celebs Just Can’t Catch a Break
While it should come as no surprise to learn that both the professional and celebrity dancers on Dancing with the Stars have to put a huge amount of work into this competition, the scope of this work might surprise you. Many former contestants have noted that the show completely takes over their lives and leaves them more tired than they’ve ever been.
The celebrity contestants don’t have a single day off during their time on the show, and they have to stick to a strict schedule. They are expected to rehearse seven days a week, and that’s before we mention the early start and the late nights. For some contestants, it’s just too tough to bear, and they either pull out or have to leave due to injury.
Everyone Has Been Surprised at How Successful the Show Has Been
When you look at the concept of Dancing with the Stars from afar, it’s certainly different from what we’re used to. Our modern world rarely gives time to classically trained dancers, and they are often mocked when likened to dancers within pop culture. Even the producers of the show thought it would be a flop.
But it’s fair to say that Dancing with the Stars has become hugely popular, with millions of viewers tuning in each week to watch the celebs and professionals dance. When Tom Bergeron left his host role, he noted that “The thing I will always take away from this show is how unpredictable it was.” Well, long may it continue!