It’s something truly magical when a partnership on DWTS really “clicks”: the pro & celeb really seem to get along well, the synergy is great, the chemistry is great, and it produces great results in their performances (and sometimes their love lives too… *cough*Mark&Sabrina*cough*). We remember their routines several seasons after they’ve been danced, collectively “awwwww” at their bonding during practice, come up with cutesy portmanteaus (I love that word!) of their names (anyone remember “Shark” & “Lancey”?), and contemplate how it could be humanly possible to create another pairing of their caliber & excellence.
And then there are the pairings that make us wish we had never tuned in.
Whether they were awkwardly matched, fought like cats & dogs, were loose cannons, or were just plain BAD – DWTS has definitely produced a few pairings that were real stinkers, and made us wonder what exactly the casting director was thinking (or imbibing!) that made him/her decide to create such a monstrosity. And more often than not, it was the celeb who was the culprit – so we cringed in embarassment for the unfortunate pro that was forced to put up with them week after week.
So in honor of those poor pros who got royally shafted in the partner department, I give you the top 5 Worst Celeb Partners in DWTS History…barf bag optional.
5.) TIE: Kenny Mayne (with Andrea Hale) or Tucker Carlson (with Elena Grinenko) - Under the category of “just plain BAD”: it was a draw for me when it came down to deciding which one of these first round cast-offs was worse. Kenny’s wooden, deadpan cha-cha in season 2 was “demented” and “like Pinnochio chasing Jiminy Cricket across the dance floor” according to Bruno; the best Carrie Ann & Len could say was that he was “committed” and “a hard worker”. Goofy-grinned Tucker’s cha-cha in season 3 consisted of him sitting down for the first 20 seconds, then more or less just walking through his routine with some awkward flailing arms – bad enough for Len to say he wished Tucker “had stayed sitting down for the whole dance”. Despite their best efforts (which is debateable), both were gone after week one, leaving first-time pros Andrea & Elena out of the game before they really got to show America what they were made of. Elena returned the following season and managed to pull out a slightly less painful (but still mediocre) 8th place finish with Clyde Drexler; however, neither of these ladies has been seen on the show since. We salute your patience & tolerance, ladies – you left us far too soon! *sniff*
4.) Jeff Ross (with Edyta Sliwinska) – File this one under both “awkwardly matched” & “just plain bad” – we knew this partnership was doomed when jokester Jeff spent the majority of his first lesson with all-business Edyta in season 7 just trying to pronounce her name correctly. He never really seemed to take the competition seriously, and it showed during his heavy-footed cha-cha in week 1 (for which still shares the record for the lowest scoring cha-cha - tied with two other celebs on our countdown!), in which he channeled his pirate side, donning a rhinestone eye patch in jest of a scratched cornea he suffered during dress rehearsal the night before. Definitely one of the more bizarre injuries sustained on the show, and probably an harbinger of doom for this odd couple – they almost seemed relieved to be let go after the first night. Don’t cry too hard for Edyta, though – she got a sort of consolation prize, in the form of filling in as semifinalist Cody Linley’s partner later in the season when Julianne Hough underwent surgery.
3.) Cloris Leachman (with Corky Ballas) - Under the heading of “awkwardly matched” & “loose cannon”, we have DWTS oldest contestant to date, the captain of the “Battleship Geriactrica” herself – season 7 celeb Cloris Leachman. While some might argue that Cloris made for good tv and her antics kept her in the competition far longer than she should have been, for a such a decorated ballroom vet like Corky, keeping up with her unpredictable behavior had to be a nightmare. Whether she was clowning around instead of practicing, keeping the censors busy with her colorful language on live shows, or trying to bribe the judges with cash, her body, or “favors” – Corky was forced to throw brilliant choreography & content out the window in favor of pandering to her outrageous hijinx (which is another word I love). I’ve had the good fortune to take a few group lessons with him, and let me tell you – the guy is truly BRILLIANT. And when he buckled down and forced Cloris to pay attention, the results were great – remember their foxtrot the first week & paso the 2nd week? Cloris was actually quite good when she wasn’t too busy yukkin’ it up! So it made it that much harder to watch when Corky begrudgingly played along to crazy themes & slapstick comedy (remember their jive, in which Corky had to pretend to fart on Cloris? *shudder*) instead of creating solid, entertaining routines that showcased Cloris’ amazing physical abilities at her age. If Corky ever were to return as a pro on DWTS, I hope that he’d get a partner that he could really display his skill with – but I worry that he may forever be “the guy that got freaky with that crazy old lady” to viewers. Alas, poor Corky.
2.) Steve Wozniak (with Karina Smirnoff )- Here we have a prime specimen of another awkwardly-matched, just plain BAD pairing: the out-of-shape, out-of-style computer nerd & the smoldering, sinuous seductress of the dancefloor. While Karina has been known to throw a lil ‘tude the judges way (anyone else remember the emphatic eye rolls & icy stares she gave the judges in season 5 when receiving her critiques with Mario?), we couldn’t help but cringe & feel sorry for our saucy Ukrainian in season 8 when “The Woz” huffed & puffed (and did, quite possibly, the most feeble attempt at “the worm” we’ve ever witnessed) through the lowest-scoring samba in DWTS history (10/30, in case you blocked it from memory out of trauma). And to add insult to injury, fans seemed to latch onto the lovable-but-helpless Woz, keeping him in the competion for 4 agonizing weeks – and forcing Karina to grin & bear it through an equally as terrible cha-cha, quickstep, & Argentine tango. Then real injury – a stress fracture in his right foot due to his weight, and a pulled hamstring sustained during rehearsals for the aforementioned samba of doom. A part of me wondered if there was anything else that could possibly go wrong with this couple (Allergic reaction to spray tan? Unfortunate rhinestone accident?) But for as truly helpless as Steve was, he was also one of the most affable, charming contestants I think the show has ever seen – truly grateful for each experience, both good & bad – so I couldn’t help but feel a tinge of regret (coupled with a big sense of relief!) when they were finally voted out in week 4. But while the Woz may have been a big teddy bear – please, honey, do yourself, America (and especially Karina!) a favor and stay away from the dancefloor!
And now, without further ado, the most loathesome, awkward, excruciating to watch, absolute WORST celeb partner in DWTS history…
1.) Master P (with Ashly Delgrosso) – This partnership altogether defies catagorization, as it was simply all-around terrible and doomed from the get-go. “P” filled in at the last minute for his son, Lil Romeo, who was originally supposed to be Ashly’s partner for season 2. And that’s where the trouble began. He flat out refused to wear dance shoes. Wouldn’t wear rhinestones, either. Count out smiling (or showing any sort of emotion other than boredom) during performances. Forget practicing for long hours – by week 4, he had only logged about 20 hours of practice, while other celebs had racked up over 100. Don’t get me wrong, there was one thing that P did well – he managed to make each dance look as un-dancelike as possible, moving as minimally as possible to appear as if he was just walking rather than moving to any sort of rhythm…and he did it consistently, week after week, despite scolding from the judges & the absolute lowest score to date for ANY dance in DWTS history (an 8 for his painfully bad paso doble). And the phenomenon of “Vote for the Worst” reared it’s ugly head – Ashly was forced to tolerate P’s obstinance for 4 weeks before being granted a reprieve when they were sent home. And perhaps the most baffling thing of all about P was his “motivation” (or lack thereof) for doing the show, uttered during the judges’ critique of his apathetic cha-cha: “I’m doing this for all the Katrina victims in New Orleans.” I sure hope he was planning to donate his $200k to Katrina relief efforts, then – because he sure wasn’t inspiring anyone with his dancing! For her endless tolerance & patience, I hereby nominate Ashly for DWTS sainthood for putting up with his crap for a month – St. Ashly of Utah, patron saint of abused dance partners. While Ashly maintains that she left the show to start a family (likely story! haha), I think we all know the real reason she hasn’t returned as a pro – she didn’t want another partner as awesomely bad as P.
So there you have it…the 5 worst celeb partners in DWTS history. Now you may be thinking to yourself, “Are you kidding me? There are far more than 5 terrible celeb partners that have been on DWTS!” To which I reply – of course there are! Which is why I wanna hear your opinions on some of the most marginal celebs to ever hit the floor. Got any (dis)honorable mentions? Did a truly terrible celeb slip my mind? Let’s hear it!