‘Dancing with the Stars’: Mortifying Performances These Contestants Will Never Live Down

Part of our attraction to reality TV is the possibility of humiliation — and that doubles for any show featuring non-professional dancers trying to dance. Though Dancing with the Stars sees many celebrities prove themselves on the dance floor, we often remember the stars who didn’t do so great. It makes for compelling television, and it reminds us that even the most acclaimed celebrities and athletes can’t be good at everything.

Let’s look at a few celebrities who were humiliated on Dancing with the Stars, ranked from bad to absolutely cringeworthy.

17. Season 5: Marie Osmond faints

Eliminated: Week 2

After mounting an unsuccessful bid for the presidency, former Texas governor Rick Perry was on Dancing with the Stars. That’s pretty humiliating, right? It only gets worse when Perry actually starts dancing to “God Bless Texas,” a routine that ensured his merciful finish in 12th place.

“I don’t know what part of it was crazy good,” Goodman said of the dance. “It was pedestrian.”

Next: Her partner’s lack of recovery didn’t do her any favors.

15. Season 12: Kirstie Alley’s partner can barely recover

Eliminated: Never! Hines Ward took home the mirror ball trophy.

One of Dancing with the Stars‘ most horrifying injuries didn’t actually occur live on the dance floor. However, it’s certainly worth including here. During rehearsals Ward attempted a daring move and accidentally dropped Johnson beneath him, causing the former NFL wide receiver to fall directly on her neck.

Johnson went to the hospital in a neck brace after moaning that she “couldn’t feel her arms.” Ward said he was “sick” about what happened. Luckily she was cleared for their next performance, a tango that scored them perfect 10s. The duo eventually won the whole competition.

Next: This swimmer faced an Olympian-sized scandal. 

13. Season 23: Ryan Lochte gets shamed by protestors

Eliminated: Week 7

Jerry Springer’s dancing skills left a lot to be desired during Dancing with the Stars. Luckily, the TV host had partner Kym Johnson to help him, and they managed to pull through seven episodes.

It wasn’t easy to watch his awkward hip shaking and offbeat steps, but Springer had an upbeat attitude — and an even better sense of humor. “At my age we don’t shake hips, we replace them,” he said in one episode. And Springer exited with the same good-natured grace. “Thank you for having me. And thank you for letting me go home,” he said during his elimination.

Next: He’s good with a microphone — not a dance partner.

11. Season 11: Michael Bolton should’ve stayed in the dog house

Eliminated: Week 1

Lolo Jones ruined a long history of Olympic athletes excelling on DWTS with her lack of coordination during her first dance. It’s easy to see when the track and field athlete spoils the choreography — a moment that wasn’t lost on the judges who criticized her accordingly.

That ended up being her only performance on the show, as Jones was the first one eliminated. The former Olympian later recounted her heartbreak on Facebook, with a post that read: “When I was dancing last night and messed up I had flashbacks of the three Olympics and that people constantly tease me about. I thought oh no here it comes again. People are going to ridicule me. I’m so tired of feeling embarrassed.”

Next: This mustachioed newscaster just didn’t have the moves.

9. Season 22: Geraldo Rivera’s Trump impression creeps everyone out

Eliminated: Week 2

Fox’s daytime talk show host, Wendy Williams, never got past fumbling with her feet during her thankfully short time on the series. Despite partner Tony Dovolani’s best efforts, Williams’ lackluster performances got them eliminated second.

During her brief stint, Williams received some harsh criticism. In Week 2, after delivering a less-than-stellar fox trot, judge Len Goodman said: “Your story was about hard work and struggling to achieve your goal. But it (the dance) was a struggle, a dance more suited to the radio.” Ouch.

Next: This “mad scientist” loses it on the dance floor.

7. Season 17: Bill Nye tears his ligament

Eliminated: Week 5

Jon & Kate Plus 8 star Kate Gosselin bombed hard during her short stint on the series’ 10th season — particularly while trying to pull off a paso doble themed around her, ahem, strained relationship with the tabloid press. The dance is stiff, slow, and strange, especially since Gosselin remains stone-faced the whole time.

Social media users compared her lackluster Next: This bad pairing led to an early exit.

5. Season 22: Mischa Barton looks so uncomfortable

Eliminated: Week 8

OK, so this didn’t involve a dance routine but we must include it based on sheer embarrassment alone. Pro bull rider Bonner Bolton was red-faced after cameras caught an awkward moment with partner Sharna Burgess. In the season premiere, Burgess tried to put his arm around Bolton’s waist. Unfortunately, he misjudged his position and his hand strayed too low. Burgess quickly adjusted his hand, but the clip went viral — later dubbed #handgate on social media.

Burgess, for her part, had no qualms about defending her partner. “Anyone who has the ridiculous idea that it was intentional … is straight up stupid … ” she tweeted. “Next: This sexy reality star’s performance focused too heavily on her looks.

3. Season 7: Kim Kardashian barely tries

Eliminated: Week 4

Unsurprisingly, the computer programmer who helped build Apple from the ground up isn’t a great dancer. Steve Wozniak managed to last only four weeks on the show during its eighth season. He received the night’s lowest scores for all but one week. Not surprising, given the tough comments he received from the judges.

His cha-cha was so all over the place that Tonioli gave it this hilariously graphic depiction: “It was like a Teletubby going mad in a gay pride parade.”

Next: This television broadcaster experiences a humiliating wardrobe malfunction.

1. Season 13: Nancy Grace exposes herself