20 Sketchy Things That Happened Behind The Scenes Of Dancing With The Stars

Dancing with the Stars (DWTS) is the one show that turns celebrities into (almost) professional dancers right before your very eyes.

As the show explains, “Each week these celebrities will leave their comfort zones and endure hours of grueling rehearsals to master new dance styles and technical choreography to perform a dance, which will be judged by a panel of renowned ballroom experts as well as voted upon by viewers. In the end, only one star will rise above the rest to be crowned champion and win the coveted Mirrorball trophy.”

Airing on ABC, the show has experienced much success since it launched its first season in 2005. Over the years, we’ve seen the likes of Zendaya, Vanessa Lachey, Nick Lachey, Kirstie Alley, and more strut their stuff on the dance floor. And while DWTS seems like so much fun, you may not realize that there are also some sketchy things happening behind the scenes. Check out what we found:

20 The Tea Party Allegedly Influenced Voting In Favor Of Bristol Palin

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Sarah Palin’s daughter, Bristol Palin, joined show during its eleventh season. And because she wasn’t exactly the strongest dancer on the floor, many wondered how she ended up getting a third place finish. According to the Washington Post, this may be due to the Tea Party’s “Operation Bristol” wherein “conservatives have been pushing for votes for Bristol, using blogs and Twitter to start a movement.”

19 Maks Chmerkovskiy And Derek Hough Were Feuding

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According to Hollywood Life, the feud began when Chmerkovskiy claimed that Hough “received biased favoritism from the show’s judges and producers.” He further claimed that this contributed to Hough winning several seasons. However, the Ukranian also later told Us Weekly, “Listen, I don’t have a problem with Derek. The producers have changed and it’s different now.”

18 ABC Has A Say In A Dancer's Outside Work

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One insider told Fox News, “When they signed onto the show they weren’t anyone, and therefore jumped at the opportunity to be part of the show. But the terms of their seven-year contracts and the exclusivity that it entails is keeping many of them frustrated. They have to get approval for any outside jobs, and are very limited by what they can do now that they are big stars.”

17 Producers May Pick Winners

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During an interview with AOL, actor Alfonso Ribeiro revealed, “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. There’s a lot that goes into pulling out a win on the show versus being the best.”

16 Meltdowns Are Filmed

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While talking to Glamour, Katz explained, “I'm like everyone's mom, so when someone is hurt or crying, [it's instinctual] to say, Don't shoot this,' but then I have to remember it's a TV show and I have to allow it. The thing I say to all the celebs is, If you say it on camera...' Those are the moments the audience likes to see. But if something really awful happens or someone says something terrible, we're not going to use it.”

15 The Show Is Scripted

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There are some reports indicating that DWTS participants are made to follow a script. However, the show’s bosses have denied this. With regard to Peta Murgatroyd and James Maslow, Wade told Glamour, “It was a genuine moment then when he [found out that was his partner]. We don't script it or do anything in that sense, but we look for what's really there.”

14 But Wendy Williams Refused To Follow The Script

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Despite Wade’s claims, one-time show contestant Wendy Williams insists that there is a script being followed. In fact, on her own show, Williams explained, “I know this as a participant, OK. I’m reading, I’m like, ‘Wait, this is not how I’m feeling today, and I wouldn’t say that. I’m not going to say that,’ I would tell the camera, so instead I would say what I want to say.”

13 Some Celebes Had Serious Commitment Issues

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During her interview with Glamour, Katz revealed that some celebrities came with major commitment issues. This was the case with Master P. She recalled, “We prayed that [he] would show up every week! Leah Remini was supposed to do the show about three seasons before she did, so when she signed on eventually, you still had that fear because you’re afraid.”

12 Master P Threatened To Walk

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Katz also recalled, “He wanted to wear his jacket with a logo on it and threatened to leave because of it, and I was like ‘OK, you can wear the jacket!” Fortunately for the show, crisis was averted. As you may recall, however, this rapper wasn’t exactly the best dancer around. In fact, at one point, he and partner Ashley DelGrosso only got 8 out of 30 for a paso doble performance.

11 The Show Has Backup Contestants

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As it turns out, the show can sometimes have a hard time getting commitment from the season’s participants. And so, to make sure that there is always someone ready to compete, DWTS often puts other celebrities on standby. In the case of Master P, Katz recalled, “I don’t think we’ve ever told this. I had another celebrity in a trailer that had been rehearsing for a week. He had wardrobe and everything just in case.”

10 There Are Jealousy Issues Between Dancing Pros

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During season 18 of DWTS, the contestants and their pro partners all participated in a “Switch-Up” week. During this time, reality star NeNe Leakes switched from Tony Dovolani to Derek Hough. And when she returned to Dovolani, the partners argued. Later on, during their rehearsal, Leakes told Dovolani, “If you want to go back to Candace [Cameron Bure], you call production so you can go back to Candace… I don't deserve an attitude. So goodbye.”

9 Fans Claimed Votes Weren't Counted For The Right Team

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Typically, votes from fans would determine if a dancing pair would stay on DWTS or not. However, in 2014, fans accused the show of making their votes count for another team. According to a report from Rumor Fix, screenshots emerged that votes made on Facebook for Peta Murgatroyd and James Maslow ended up tallied for Maks Chmerkovskiy and Meryl Davis.

8 Contestants Complained Of Unfair Competition

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In 2017, some fans and contestants slammed the casting of Glee alum Heather Morris as unfair since she has quite an advantage over other celebrities. Having worked as a backup dancer for Beyoncé, everyone knew that Morris certainly knew how to dance. However, despite delivering perfect dance routines, Morris was eliminated during the season’s sixth week.

7 Hope Solo Was Allegedly Slapped

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According to Access Online, soccer star Hope Solo detailed her experience with Maksim Chmerkovskiy in her memoir, writing, “He manhandled me in rehearsals from the start, pushing me, whacking my stomach, bending my arms roughly. I thought that was just how it went – how dancers worked with each other.” She continued, “But it kept getting worse. One day, Maks was trying to put me in a certain position and hit my stomach so hard with his open palm that I had a red handprint there for the rest of the day.”

6 Kirstie Alley's "Disconnect" From The Show

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On the show, it seemed like actress Kirstie Alley had a great time with partner Maks Chmerkovskiy. However, the two cut ties for good soon after, allegedly because of Scientology. Chmerkovskiy told Us Weekly, “Scientology happened. You can thank Leah Remini for that. A note was sent to a friend telling me I was ‘disconnected,’ as in, I am no longer allowed to be Kirstie’s friend. I find it ridiculous for an adult human being to ‘disconnect’ from someone.”

5 Contestants Are Prohibited From Bringing Their Own Make-Up Team

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Generally, celebrities bring their own team of makeup and hair professionals wherever they go. This allows them to remain camera-perfect at all times. However, once you enter the world of DWTS, you are not allowed to utilize your own glam squad. The show’s talent co-executive producer Deena Katz told Glamour, “Women have the biggest fear [about makeup on the show], and it's something we can't negotiate.”

4 Pairings Are Based On Personality And Body Type

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The show’s producer, Rob Wade, told E! News, “It’s based on height, build, and personality and compatibility. We don’t pair people who aren’t going to get on. It’s too intense. It’s not like The Bachelor or something, we couldn’t do that. That would just be a miserable experience for the celebrity, for us, and the viewer. You don’t want to see two people who don’t like each other and, quite frankly, we have made that mistake pairing people up who didn’t get on so well.”

3 Practice Sessions Are Long And Intense

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One-time DWTS contestant Vanessa Lachey said practice sessions are sometimes done six days a week. Moreover, each session would last at least three to four hours each day. Lachey also told Country Living, “It's a minimum because you actually need that. Some people go even longer.” As you can see, it’s a real commitment for everyone participating on the show.

2 Shoot Days Are Demanding

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During the same interview, Lachey also recalled, “They have to make every single one of those outfits, so there's at least two custom wardrobe fittings [each week]. Then there's interviews for all the packages, and then there's the packages [themselves].” Meanwhile, her husband, Nick Lachey, added, “On shoot days, it's an all-day thing. About 14-hour days.”

1 Everyone Gets Spray Tanned

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DWTS head makeup artist, Zena Shteysel, told Us Weekly, “Spray tanning is a major part of the grooming process, as this helps to hide imperfections and creates the illusion of tighter, leaner looking bodies. We always add a glow to the bodies before they hit the stage — South Seas Skincare Island Glow Body Bronzer is a favorite on set.” Moreover, all participants are asked to come in during “spray tan Sundays.”

Sources: Glamour, Us Weekly, Access Online, Hollywood Life

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