Palin’s casting in 2010 drew a mixed response when first announced, but things got even more contentious once she actually started performing. Week after week, Palin survived the public voting, despite generally lower rankings from the judges. Needless to say, viewers were not happy, accusing Palin and the show of fraud, favoritism and ballot stuffing. Case in point: One angry viewer shot at his TV after watching an episode because he felt Palin was not a good dancer and that she was only on the show because of her famous mother.
Evans appeared in Season 3, but she only made it about midway through the season — not because she was voted off, but because she chose to leave. She withdrew from the competition hours after filing for divorce from her husband of 13 years, Craig Schelske. She issued a public statement at the time, announcing that she was pulling out of the show “to give my family my full attention at this difficult time.”
After Bono became the first transgender contestant on DWTS, conservative viewers and OneMillionMoms.com called for a boycott of the show, calling his casting “completely unacceptable” and saying that “Christians should not watch the show, no excuses!” At the same time, LGBT groups lauded his casting and urged their members to support Bono’s appearance on the show. Throughout it all, Bono kept a gracious face on and wasn’t eliminated from competition until the sixth round.
Robertson teamed with pro Mark Ballas in Season 19 of the show. During her time on DWTS, the Duck Dynasty star made waves when she defended her family, and specifically her grandfather, following his controversial antigay remarks to GQ in 2013. “The thing is, no matter what he would have said, we should have stuck by him, because he’s my grandpa,” Sadie said at the time, per Fox. “Yeah, he’s very opinionated, but he’s my family, and family sticks together.” Regardless, Robertson danced well and ended up finishing in second place.
Solo ended up in fourth place on Season 11 of the series, but apparently, she and pro partner Maks Chmerkovskiy didn’t end their relationship on great terms. In her 2012 memoir, Solo accused the dancer of being forcibly rough with her during their rehearsals for the show, and even claimed that he slapped her across the face at one point. She also claimed that the show was rigged and that Maks purposely caused drama to get extended airtime.
The former house majority leader, who left Congress in 2006 after a Texas grand jury indicted him on money-laundering charges, probably thought the show would help improve his image, but that didn’t quite work. While giving interviews on the talk-show circuit to promote his participation on Season 9, DeLay made headlines when he promoted the “birther” conspiracy theory about President Barack Obama. In the season’s premiere episode, judge Bruno Tonioli called him “crazier than Sarah Palin.” DeLay later left the series after getting stress fractures in both of his feet.
During White’s appearance on the show in 2012, the former Family Matters star caught a lot of heat for his rumored backstage drama with partner Kym Johnson. At the time, it was reported that White stepped on Johnson’s foot during a rehearsal, and then yelled at her when he thought she overreacted to the pain it caused. Fellow contestant Donald Driver and pro dancer Mark Ballas apparently had to intervene and diffuse the situation. His poor behavior earned him the nickname “Jerkel” (after his famous role, Urkel).
The king of trashy TV was one of the weakest dancers in Season 3 by far and everyone knew it. Despite continually earning low scores and finishing at the bottom of the leaderboard, Springer and his pro partner Kym Johnson managed to make it all the way to fifth place, coming ahead of much more capable contestants and proving that notoriety sometimes beats out actual talent.
Dick spent years battling substance abuse issues and enduring numerous stints in rehab before cleaning his act up enough to appear on Season 16 of DWTS in 2013. He ended up landing in seventh place. But his relationship with the show turned ugly again last year, when he was removed from the studio’s live finale by security guards after drinking and displaying erratic behavior.
To be fair, P only appeared on the show as a last-minute replacement for his son, Romeo Miller, who had injured himself in a basketball game. Still, it seemed like P could barely muster the energy to show up, let alone actually learn the choreography for a dance and perform it. He and pro partner Ashly DelGrosso hold the embarrassing record for the lowest score in the show’s history, after having scored a pitiful 8 from the judges for their paso doble. The duo was eliminated in the fourth week.