Dancing with the Stars is about to celebrate its 10th anniversary with season 20, premiering Monday, March 16 at 8pm on ABC.
Ten years of televised ballroom dancing has seen many memorable moments, stars, routines and professionals. From the oldest and the youngest to the best and the worst, here are 10 fun facts about the first 19 seasons of DWTS.
The Oldest Stars
There have been seven stars over 70 to compete on DWTS: Florence Henderson, Valerie Harper, Betsey Johnson, Cloris Leachman, Billy Dee Williams, Tommy Chong and Buzz Aldrin. Leachman and Aldrin were both over 80 when they danced, with Leachman the oldest at 82. However, Chong is the only star over 70 to finish in the Top 5, with the next best being Leachman in seventh place.
Season 9’s Donny Osmond is the oldest winning star, claiming the Mirror Ball two weeks before his 52nd birthday. Season 11 winner Jennifer Grey (50) and season 19 winner Alfonso Ribeiro (43) are the only other winners over 40.
The Youngest Stars
There have been nine teenage celebrities to compete on DWTS, the youngest being 16-year-old Zendaya, who finished second in season 16. Season 18’s Cody Simpson is the only teenage star who didn’t finish in the Final 4. As for pro partners, Mark Ballas is the go-to guy for teenage girls, dancing with one in all four seasons that featured female teen stars.
At age 17, season 8 winner Shawn Johnson is by far the youngest champion ever. All of the other winners were 25 or older.
A Very Happy Birthday
Season 4 winner Apolo Anton Ohno received a very special present for his 25th birthday: the Mirror Ball Trophy. On May 22, 2007, he turned 25 and was declared the winner of DWTS.
Most Perfect Scores
Season 11 winner Jennifer Grey and season 18 winner Meryl Davis are the only stars to receive six perfect scores during their seasons. As for the pros, it’s no surprise that Derek Hough leads all dancers with 36 perfect scores during his 14 seasons. The next closest are Cheryl Burke and Mark Ballas, each with 20.
Also, season 19 had the most perfect dances with 16, beating the previous record of 15 perfect routines back in season 4. As for the fewest, the first season only had one (two if you count the dance-off), while season 7 only had three perfect routines, all from winners Brooke Burke and Derek Hough.
Maintaining high scores throughout the season is tough, and adjusted for a 30-point scale, only four couples have ever kept an average of over 28 points for the entire season. The best average of all-time is season 18 winner Meryl Davis with 28.4, followed closely by season 6 winner Kristi Yamaguchi (clearly female figure skaters can dance). All-Stars winner Melissa Rycroft and season 8 runner-up Gilles Marini are the only other stars with averages over 28.
Longest Streak Without a 7 or Lower
Some pros are better at getting 8s, 9s and 10s from the judges than others. Val Chmerkovskiy holds the all-time record for most consecutive individual dances without getting anything lower than an 8 from any of the judges. Starting in season 15 with partner Kelly Monaco and continuing with Zendaya, Elizabeth Berkley and Danica McKellar, Val had 44 straight dances without a 7 or lower. However, he might be overtaken as Derek Hough has 37 in a row with his last three partners, Amber Riley, Amy Purdy and Bethany Mota.
As for stars, while many made it through an entire season without receiving anything lower than an 8, Gilles Marini is the only person to do it twice. In seasons 8 and 15, he was scored by the judges 26 times (including team dances), and he never received a single 7 or lower.
The Lowest Scores
In season 2, rapper Master P. received an 8 from the judges. That’s not from one of them, that’s a combined score. His Paso Doble got a 4 from Carrie Ann Inaba, but 2s from Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli, marking the only time in the show’s history that the #2 paddle has been used. In season 10, Steve Wozniak got a 10, with a 4 from Carrie Ann and 3s from Len and Bruno. Tucker Carlson and Michael Bolton are the only other stars to ever receive a 3 from a judge, both getting one from Bruno.
The Best Week 1 Scores
The first week is always a trial run, so earning a 9 from the judges is extremely difficult. There have only been 12 stars to get a 9 in week 1 (with pro Mark Ballas doing it five different times). However, there are only four couples who got all 9s in the first week (either a 27 or a 36): season 6’s Kristi Yamaguchi, season 17’s Amber Riley, season 18’s Charlie White and season 19’s Alfonso Ribeiro.
The Earliest 10s
There have been 11 couples who got a perfect 10 from at least one of the judges in the first three weeks of the competition, and pro Derek Hough is the only person to do it more than once (in fact, he’s done it three times). However, there have only been three times when a couple received a 10 in week 2. In season 2 Stacy Keibler earned 10s from Len and Bruno for her Rumba, in season 3 Joey Lawrence got 10s from Carrie Ann and Bruno for his Quickstep, and in season 10 Nicole Scherzinger got 10s from Carrie Ann and Bruno for her Jive.
The Earliest Perfect Score
Getting all 10s from the judges is the ultimate goal for every couple. It’s not easy to do it early, but seven couples have pulled it off in the first five weeks of the competition. In season 19, Janel Parrish and Bethany Mota set a new record by getting perfect scores in the third week of the show. Before them, season 5’s Sabrina Bryan and season 8’s Gilles Marini held the record by being the only stars to earn perfect scores in week 4.
(Image courtesy of ABC)