'DWTS' Trivia: Name Past Contestants Who Weren't Exactly 'Stars'

Monday, 25 Feb 2013 12:20 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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ABC's wildly popular celebrity dance competition "Dancing With The Stars" won't launch its 16th season for a few more weeks, but it's already ignited a slew of rumors about which celebrities will be taking to the ballroom floor.

In recent years, the show has extended its "star" categorization from actors and singers to Olympic and professional athletes, reality TV personalities, astronauts, politicians, renowned war veterans, and news anchors.

"Dancing With the Stars" will premiere Monday, March 18, at 8 p.m. EST on ABC. The cast for the upcoming season will be announced live Tuesday on "Good Morning America."

Here's a look at seasons past and some of the notable contestants who don't fall into the traditional "star" classification:

Bristol Palin – Seasons 11 and 15
Bristol Palin, daughter of the one-time vice presidential hopeful Sarah Palin, competed on the fall 2010 season of "DWTS." With her professional partner Mark Ballas, Palin finished third. She also appeared on the all-star season, where she was eliminated in the fourth week of competition.

Palin's success on the show attracted negative attention, including death threats and the delivery of a "mysterious white powder" to the "DWTS" set, according to the Huffington Post.

• Tom DeLay – Season 9
The former U.S. House Majority Leader, whose daughter Danielle is a professional dancer, competed on the ninth season of "DWTS," but was forced to withdraw from the competition in week three because of stress fractures in his feet.

• Nancy Grace – Season 13
Nancy Grace, a legal commentator, television journalist, and HLN host, made her dancing debut on season 13 of the show in 2011. She and her partner lasted eight weeks and were eliminated just one week shy of the semifinals. Actor, motivational speaker, and former U.S. Army soldier J.R. Martinez won Grace's season. Martinez sustained severe burns over 34 percent of his body while serving in Iraq.

• Buzz Aldrin – Season 10
Aldrin, the Apollo 11 astronaut who was the second man to walk on the Moon behind Neil Armstrong, was also the second to be eliminated from his season of "DWTS," which aired in 2010. He and his partner were booted after dancing the waltz to Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World."

• Shawn Johnson – Seasons 8 and 15
Gymnast Shawn Johnson became America's sweetheart during the 2008 Beijing Olympics where she picked up a gold medal for her balance beam routine, and silver medals for her team, all-around, and floor exercise performances. She went on to place first on season eight of "DWTS" in 2009. At 17, she was the youngest competitor on the show.

Johnson returned for the all-star season, where she took second behind reality TV star Melissa Rycroft.

• Giselle Fernandez – Season 2
An Emmy Award-winning television journalist who has anchored for CBS and NBC, Giselle Fernandez appeared on season two of "DWTS" in 2006. She was eliminated after dancing the tango in week three.

• Tucker Carlson – Season 3

Tucker Carlson, a Fox News political commentator and editor-in-chief of the news and opinion site The Daily Caller, competed on season three of "DWTS" in 2006.

"I'm not defending it as the smartest choice, but I think it's the most interesting," he told the Washington Post of his decision to appear on the show. "I think if you sat back and tried to plan my career, you might not choose this. But my only criterion is the interest level. I want to lead an interesting life."

Despite four-hour-a-day ballroom lessons, Carlson was the first contestant to be eliminated after dancing the cha-cha-cha to "Dancing in the Street" by David Bowie and Mick Jagger.

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