The 10 Most Shocking ‘Dancing With The Stars’ Contestants Of All Time

Jill O'Rourke
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Paula Deen Dancing with the StarsABC

The cast for Dancing with the Stars Season 28 was announced this week, and it caused a bit of controversy. Many objected to the inclusion of former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

But Sean Spicer isn’t the first shocking contestant to appear on the DWTS dance floor over the years. Several reality stars, politicians, journalists, and other contentious figures have been part of the cast. Check them out below.

Sean Spicer

Sean Spicer’s inclusion has sparked backlash among fans who oppose the Trump administration. Even host Tom Bergeron was against the former press secretary’s inclusion. He tweeted his hope that the new season would be “a joyful respite from our exhausting political climate.”

Rick Perry

Energy Secretary Rick Perry dancing in Season 23 of the show, but was the second contestant eliminated. The former Texas governor ran for president in 2016. It was another instance of the show highlighting a politician, and potentially alienating some of its fanbase.

Paula Deen

The celebrity cook appeared on Season 21 of DWTS. Her appearance came after controversy following a lawsuit against her citing discrimination and sexual harassment. During her deposition, Paula admitted to using the N-word in the past.

Briston Palin

A lot of people dislike Bristol’s mom Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska and 2008 vice presidential candidate. So when Bristol appeared on Season 11 and made it to third place despite her low scores, it raised some eyebrows about voting.

Tucker Carlson

Tucker Carlson was a less controversial figure when he appeared on Season 3. However, since then, he’s joined Fox News and become a widely disliked figure of conservatism. Looking back on his appearance now is likely to make some people cringe.

Geraldo Rivera

This Fox News host was the first contestant eliminated in Season 22. Geraldo has been involved in a number of controversies over the years, from falsely claiming he was at the site of a friendly fire incident, to his comments about sexual harassment. Bette Midler also accused Geraldo of groping her in the ‘90s.

Tonya Harding

The famous figure skater competed in an athletes-only season of Dancing with the Stars, and made it to the finale. However, Tonya’s career has been plagued by controversy due to a 1994 attack on fellow skater Nancy Kerrigan, orchestrated by Tonya’s husband and bodyguard. She was banned for life from the U.S. Figure Skating Association.

Ryan Lochte

This Olympic swimmer appeared on Season 23 of the show, after a controversy in which he lied about being robbed in Brazil during the 2016 Olympics. During his first appearance on the show, protesters stormed the set.

Tripp Palin Johnston

Bristol Palin isn’t the only member of the Palin family to compete on DWTS. Her son Tripp, to whom she gave birth when she was 18 years old, competed on Dancing with the Stars: Juniors last year. Tripp was 9 years old at the time. He didn’t go as far as his mom, and was eliminated in the first round.

Marla Maples

During Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, his ex-wife Marla Maples appeared on DWTS Season 22. The show didn’t ignore her marriage to Trump. In fact, their daughter Tiffany even appeared in one of the episodes, with Marla detailing her history with her ex-husband.

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