The Worst Dancing With The Stars Contestants Of All Time

"Dancing With the Stars," which first premiered back in 2005, takes a mix of reality television stars, athletes, and celebrities and pairs them with professional dancers in an attempt to teach them how to ballroom dance. Each week, the couples compete and are given constructive feedback and scores by judges. Those scores are then added to viewer votes to determine who stays and who goes — and the last couple standing is awarded the coveted Mirrorball Trophy each season. There have been some magical partnerships that have totally wowed the crowd, and, for the most part, the celebs and their pros usually end up forming really close relationships. Some of those bonds even end up becoming love stories. But there is a flip side.

Not every celebrity who competes on "Dancing With the Stars" is cut out for the hard work and dedication it takes to learn how to ballroom dance. And, with more than 360 celebrities joining the show over the course of 32 seasons, one can imagine that there have been some contestants who weren't exactly a delight to work with. At the same time, there have been a few who just weren't good at ballroom dancing, no matter how much practice they managed to get in each week. We're taking a look back at some of the worst "Dancing With the Stars" contestants ever.

Master P

Master P competed in season 2 with pro Ashly DelGrosso-Costa. Although he wasn't the first person eliminated from the season, Master P's performance wasn't exactly noteworthy. In fact, he's been called one of the worst contestants to ever take the dance floor. "He did absolutely nothing but stand there and only wear his team Miller shoes that he was just coming out with early," former pro Cheryl Burke told Us Weekly in August 2020. "He was trying to sell shoes. Hopefully, he did," she added. 

What some people may not remember is that Master P wasn't supposed to be a part of the season. His son, Romeo, was originally cast but was forced to drop out because of an injury he suffered while playing basketball. Although nothing went as planned, Master P says he doesn't regret participating in the show. "I had a great time," he said in 2018 (via the New York Daily News). He explained that he decided to compete because he wanted to bring some positive vibes back to his home city of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. "I know people were going to make fun of me and laugh, but I say it's worth it because I wanted to make sure that we brought that light and hopefully bring some of the people back together. And it worked," he explained.

Kate Gosselin

Reality star Kate Gosselin was partnered with ballroom pro Tony Dovolani on season 10 of "Dancing With the Stars." Although she seemed excited about the opportunity, her Type A personality didn't really jive with taking direction, which caused a rift between her and Dovolani. Things got so bad, in fact, that Dovolani actually walked out of rehearsals and said he was quitting the season. "When I decided to quit nothing major happened, it was just a build up of things where I just said that I didn't sign up for this," he told Hollywood Life after the season was over. "I respect talent. I respect hard work," he added. Dovolani eventually agreed to finish out the season with the promise of a better partner in season 11 from production. 

Gosselin and Dovolani finished in eighth place, but the season had an impact on Dovolani's life that went far beyond the ballroom. In a 2012 interview with Anderson Cooper, Dovolani took a shot at Gosselin. "I always feel bad for you because you got stuck with Kate Gosselin. I remember watching her dance. I'm still traumatized by that experience," Cooper said (via Today). "Wait, wait. Anderson, did you just call it a dance? We didn't dance," Dovolani replied. Elsewhere in the interview, Dovolani said that he sought therapy while working with the mom of eight.

David Hasselhoff

David Hasselhoff joined the season 11 "Dancing With the Stars" cast, partnered with pro Kym Herjavec. While many people were looking forward to seeing what "The Hoff" would bring to the dance floor, his night one cha-cha was so bad that he ended up being voted off straight away. He earned fives across the board from the judges, landing him in last place on the leaderboard. Being that the viewers' votes weren't enough to save him, he quickly exited stage left. "It's been a great ride. I feel bad for Kym because she worked hard trying to get me where I was going. I'm so proud that my daughters are here and they got to see me come this far," he said in a post-show interview, according to the Daily Mail.

During his exit interview on "Good Morning America" the next day, Hasselhoff admitted that he knew that he "wasn't going to be the judge's favorite," but admitted, "All I wanted to do was have fun," adding, "I gave it 120%, and I didn't let back at all." To this day, Hasselhoff's one and only dance is one of the worst cha-chas in the history of the show.

Michael Bolton

Michael Bolton may be a talented musician, but his footwork didn't get him very far on season 11 of the dance competition show. It's safe to assume that if David Hasselhoff's dance was even a hair better, Bolton would have been the first contestant eliminated on the season. The "When a Man Loves a Woman" singer took to the floor with pro partner Chelsie Hightower, but he didn't have the goods to carry him far in the competition. His week two jive to the song "Hound Dog" was scored very poorly and received some extra harsh criticism from judge Bruno Tonioli. "I am a dog lover, but you make it so hard for me. You should have taken your bone and gone back to the dog house. You did it all very, very, very badly," Tonioli told him, scoring him a three out of 10, according to ABC News.

During Bolton's interview on "Good Morning America" the next day, he said that Tonioli owed him an apology. "I think he should apologize publicly and be reprimanded for it," Bolton said. He didn't end up getting an apology, with producers releasing a very clear statement, insisting that Tonioli was in the clear. "Bruno's role as a judge is to give his honest opinions on the quality of the dances he's judging, which is what he did in this case ... While we respect the feelings of our celebrities and dancers, we don't feel Bruno should be expected to apologize for doing his job," the statement read.

Steve Wozniak

Apple co-founder Steve "Woz" Wozniak was a bit of an odd choice for "Dancing With the Stars," but producers decided to roll with it nonetheless. "We cast Steve because he was the most left-field booking imaginable. He did the most distinctive inter­pretation of the Worm ever seen on any dance floor. Bruno Tonioli is still shuddering at the memory," showrunner Conrad Green told The Hollywood Reporter in 2015. Wozniak joined forces with Karina Smirnoff on season 8 but was ushered out of the ballroom fairly quickly, being eliminated in 10th place. Although head judge Len Goodman told Wozniak that there was an improvement in his dancing abilities week over week, Wozniak put up some of the lowest scores we've ever seen on the show. 

His week three samba earned him a score of 10 out of 30, and his week four Argentine tango bumped him to a 12. "Last week was so terrible that almost anything that happened would have been an improvement," Goodman said of Wozniak's last dance on the show (via the New York Post). Despite not making it very far, Wozniak is left with happy memories from his time on "DWTS." 

"I stood up and represented geeks in a way," he told Seattle news station King 5 in 2017. "When you work hard at something and say I'm going to enjoy it, how lucky am I that I even got to do that?" he added.

Tucker Carlson

Although there had only been two seasons prior, producers broke the mold when they cast Tucker Carlson on season 3 of "Dancing With the Stars." No, he wasn't a mainstream celebrity, a C-list movie actor, or even a reality television star. He was a news anchor in the political sphere. Carlson was paired with Elena Grinenko, who made her debut on the show the very same season. The two debuted their very first dance together, a cha-cha to "Dancing in the Street," but the judges were less than impressed. Bruno Tonioli may have been the harshest critic of Carlson, calling the dance an "awful mess." And the scores weren't much better. Carlson received a 12 out of 30, pretty much guaranteeing that he'd be the first person eliminated. And he was.

But Carlson hasn't expressed any regret in doing the show. "I loved it. I loved it. I loved it," Carlson told the audience after his elimination (via NBC News). "Right before I came out here, and I said, 'No matter what happens, thanks for convincing me to do this,'" he said, referring to a message he left his friend, Kenny Mayne.

Clyde Drexler

Generally speaking, athletes tend to do extremely well on "Dancing With the Stars." Call it the dedication to a craft, the experience with long, hard days, or just the awe that viewers are in while watching their favorite players try something completely out of their comfort zones. Athletes are almost always fan favorites, except NBA player Clyde Drexler. Drexler joined the season 4 cast and was paired up with pro Elena Grinenko for her second and final season on the show. Drexler appeared to show a glimpse of progress when he wasn't eliminated in week one — or weeks two, three, or four — but his time on the show came to an end on week five along with a side of serious criticism from judge Carrie Ann Inaba.

"You're the worst dancer in this competition ... and tonight was really bad," Inaba told Drexler following his rumba to Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On," according to CBS News. Drexler's scores seemed to be okay the first few weeks, but the rumba was clearly not his dance, and he earned his lowest score of the season — a 13 out of 30. From there, he was swiftly eliminated from the competition.

Buzz Aldrin

Just about everyone was excited to see Buzz Aldrin on the dance floor, but he quickly proved that ballroom was not as easy as walking on the moon. Partnered with Ashly DelGrosso-Costa on season 10, Aldrin seemed ready to give dancing a try. However, he landed in last place in week one — and again in weeks two and three. He and DelGrosso-Costa performed a cha-cha to the song "Cupid" in week one, earning themselves a 14 out of 30. His week two foxtrot to "Fly Me to the Moon" earned even lower scores — a 12 out of 30 — but, evidently, the sentimental song really pulled at the heartstrings of viewers, who simply couldn't help but vote for him. However, Aldrin's week three waltz to "What a Wonderful World" marked the end of his time on the show with a score of 13 out of 30.

"I never thought I'd walk on the moon, but I certainly never thought I'd dance on TV," Aldrin said after being eliminated (via Today). "I did this show for the fighter pilots out there, the military people and the elder geezers like me who would just like to see an elder come back week after week," he added.

Chaka Khan

When Chaka Khan was cast on season 21 of "Dancing With the Stars," fans expected some serious spunk and a lot of fun. However, Khan came out on the dance floor with partner Keo Motsepe with a cha-cha week one that earned her a 13 out of 30. She was given a second chance to prove herself in week two, as there wasn't a week one elimination, but her foxtrot only scored a 15 out of 30, and she was sent home. In 2021, Motsepe said that Khan was his worst partner on the show — ever.

"I'm going to get a call from her," he told Us Weekly after saying her name. "I remember asking her, 'Why do we have to rehearse like at 11:00 p.m.? Like every night!' And she goes, 'That's when I started working.' ... I was like, 'Oh, so you sleep during the day? So, your morning is, like, South African time, pretty much?'" he explained. "And she goes, 'Yes, honey!' ... So, I had to adjust my schedule, you know? ... It was just a challenging season," he added.

Gary Busey

Gary Busey joined season 21 of "Dancing With the Stars" alongside pro Anna Trebunskaya for what was sure to be the most entertaining train wreck — and Busey did not disappoint. Believe it or not, Busey seemed to have a bit of charisma, and he wasn't bad at ballroom. His scores were very much middle-of-the-road, and he had nary a three or a four paddle held up. His week four jazz to "That'll Be the Day" earned him a 19 out of 30, but he didn't have the votes to keep him in the competition. When it was time for him to leave, however, there was some drama. 

"I'm not finished," Busey said following his elimination (via the Daily Mail). "The fact that I've been eliminated is false," he continued, adding, "because my spirit with Anna will remain in this room throughout the show. So you won't see us dancing, but we'll be there." 

Cloris Leachman

Cloris Leachman was cast in the seventh season of "Dancing With the Stars," and many fans were really excited to see how she would do. Leachman didn't fare all that poorly — but she's on this list for a reason. You see, she had shown serious improvement week over week alongside Corky Ballas and even earned an eight out of 10 for her tango from judge Carrie Ann Inaba on week four. But it was her week six cha-cha that ended her time on the show. The dance itself was unimpressive, especially for a few weeks into the competition. And the judges were sure to let her know.

"My darling, you've got to be the only person in the world able to sell such nonsense as a cha-cha. And people buy it! They buy it," Bruno Tonioli told her, according to Reality TV World. "We lost Toni Braxton for this, and that kinda makes me sad because it's unfortunate to watch a great dancer leave the competition and then watch this," Carrie Ann Inaba said. "I know I'm going to be hated by all of you, but it's the truth," she added.

Penn Jillette

Penn Jillette was the first and only magician to be cast on "Dancing With the Stars," but even magic couldn't help him in the ballroom. He and Kym Herjavec made their debut dancing a cha-cha-cha to "Fool in Love" and did just about as well as you'd expect. They earned a 16 out of 30 before heading into week two — and the first elimination of the season. Their quickstep was a smidge better, with a score of 17 out of 30, but Jillette just didn't have the goods, and he was the first of the season to exit the competition. The best word to describe Jillette on "DWTS" would have to be clumsy. But it's not really his fault; after all, he is 6 feet, 6 inches tall and wears a size 15.5 shoe. 

Nevertheless, Jillette gave it his best shot, and he was well aware that he wasn't the most elegant of ballroom dance hopefuls. "If I worried about embarrassing myself, I certainly wouldn't have gone into showbiz. If I were trying to avoid embarrassment, I wouldn't have stumbled my way through 'Dancing with the Stars,'" he wrote in a 2010 op-ed for the Los Angeles Times.

Kim Kardashian

One might think that Kim Kardashian would be a shoo-in to win "Dancing With the Stars" given her level of fame, but dance fans weren't impressed. She was partnered with Mark Ballas on season 7, which, on paper, sounds like a clear front-running team, but Kardashian appeared to have two left feet. She danced a foxtrot and a mambo in week one and made it past elimination, but she wasn't as lucky following her week two dance. Her rumba to "You Give Me Something" earned her a 17 out of 30, but saw her saying her goodbyes at the end of the night. 

As it turns out, Kardashian didn't really enjoy doing the show. In an interview with ET in 2018, season 27 contestant Milo Manheim revealed that he received some advice from "The Kardashians" star about doing the show. "She doesn't like dancing as much as I do, and I was like, 'I'm about to do Dancing With the Stars, tell me, how was your experience?' And she was like, 'Milo, it's the worst! Like you get injured, you feel like an idiot.' ... So that was kinda my advice from her," he said.