Dancing With The Stars Pros Ranked
Since its premiere in 2005, Dancing With the Stars has had over 25 seasons and countless celebrities and athletes tackle the challenge of ballroom dancing. As well as a new cast of stars every season, the show has also seen quite the revolving door of dancing pros trying to lead their famous partner to a Mirrorball Trophy. Over the years, there have been 45 different pros on the series and while some have made their mark, others weren’t as memorable, and some it seems just weren’t cut out for the role of Dancing With the Stars pro! Check out all the pros ranked:
45. Brian Fortuna
Many Dancing With the Stars fans might not remember the name Brian Fortuna, but those who watched from the very early seasons will remember him as a pro from the show’s fourth season. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much time for Fortuna to make himself memorable, as he and his partner, Miss USA 2004 winner Shandi Finnessey, were eliminated second. Fortuna’s very brief stint on the series makes it seem not fair to even rank him, which is why he landed last.
44. Inna Brayer
Inna Brayer is probably another name that most Dancing With the Stars fans don’t remember or know. Brayer only competed on one season of Dancing With the Stars when she was partnered with actor Ted McGinley in the seventh season. Much like Fortuna however, her stint as a pro ended as quickly as it began and she and McGinley were the second couple to be eliminated in the first week of the competition.
43. Jesse DeSoto
Dancing With the Stars has had quite a few one and done pros when it seemed they just weren’t cut out for the world of reality TV dancing competitions and Jesse DeSoto is another pro fans never saw again! DeSoto competed in season three with model and reality TV star Shannon Moakler, but the duo were only the second pair to be eliminated, making DeSoto’s time as a pro very short.
42. Andrea Hale
Dancer Andrea Hale wasn’t one of the pros who made a lasting impression on the show. Hale was cast as pro for the second season of the show which aired in January 2006 and was placed with ESPN sportscaster Kenny Mayne. The couple ended up being the first to be eliminated, which gave Andrea no time to become a well-known pro on the series.
41. Fabian Sanchez
Who remembers Fabian Sanchez? Probably not many Dancing With the Stars fans. The dancer was added as a pro for season six and was paired with Oscar-winning actress Marlee Martin. The pair ended up making it to the fifth week and were the sixth couple eliminated landing them in seventh place. While that is not a disastrous opening season for a pro, Sanchez did not return to the show and actually went on to work on the seventh season of So You Think You Can Dance as the Salsa/Mambo choreographer.
40. Anna Demidova
Of all the pros that only stuck around for one season, Anna Demidova was the most surprising to see go so quickly. The Russian dancer made her Dancing With the Stars debut in season nine where she was paired with iconic NFL player Michael Irvin. Together the pair danced their way to seventh place, beating out nine other duos, but that wasn’t enough to convince Demidova to return as a pro, and she hasn’t been seen again on the show.
39. Tyne Stecklein
Dancer Tyne Stecklein joined the seventeenth season of Dancing With the Stars, and there was a lot of pressure on her that season. Stecklein was paired with beloved children’s science education host Bill Nye aka Bill Nye the Science Guy and fans were ecstatic to see the icon back on their TVs which meant it was Stecklein’s job to keep him around. Unfortunately, that isn’t exactly how the season worked out and Stecklein and Bill Nye were the second couple to be eliminated and she never returned as a pro.
38. Henry Byalikov
After some time as a troupe member for the show, Henry Byalikov was promoted to a pro for season 18 of the series. For the season, Byalikov was partnered with long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad, and yet their stint was not one to remember as they were the first couple to be eliminated. Following a disappointing showing as a pro, Byalikov returned to the dance troupe for season 19, but never made his way back up to being a pro.
37. Damian Whitewood
It is never a good sign when your star partner ends up on more Dancing With the Stars seasons than you, but that is what happened to Damian Whitewood. Whitewood, who was known from Dance the Floor, became a pro for season 10 where he was partnered with iconic model and actress Pamela Anderson. Anderson ended up surprising most with her dancing abilities and while the pair didn’t win, they did end up in sixth place. While Whitewood did not return as a pro and went back to a member of the dance troupe for season 11, Anderson did return for season 15’s All-Stars season, where she was partnered with Tristan MacManus instead.
36. Elena Grinenko
Elena Grinenko joined Dancing With the Stars in season three where she found herself competing against her former Latin ballroom competition partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy. Unfortunately for Grinenko, her tenure as a pro was not as prolific as Chmerkovskiy’s. In season three she was partnered with journalist Tucker Carlson but they were eliminated in the first week. She did return for season four where she was partnered with NBA player Cylde Drexler, but they ended up being the fourth couple eliminated.
35. Charlotte Jorgensen
Charlotte Jorgensen was another pro who lasted only season on the show, but she did significantly better than many of the others! Jorgensen was one of the very first pros on the series when she joined for season one which only had six teams competing. For the first season, the dancer was paired with actor John O’Hurley and the two danced their way to second place! Despite such a great inaugural season, Jorgensen never returned as a pro.
34. Tristan MacManus
Tristan MacManus was promoted to a pro after being a dance troupe member in season 13. MacManus went on to be a pro in five consecutive seasons from season 13 to season 17, but unfortunately for him his best outing was his very first season when he and partner Nancy Grace placed fifth in season 13. In season 15, MacManus was partnered with Pamela Anderson for the All-Stars season, but they shocked everyone when they were the first to be eliminated! After more disappointing seasons with Dorothy Hamill and Valerie Harper, MacManus was done after season 17.
33. Jonathan Roberts
Jonathan Roberts was another Dancing With the Stars pros who started from the beginning! Roberts was an original pro who began in the first season with supermodel Rachel Hunter as his partner. After a couple of disappointing seasons with seasons two and four, Roberts best outing was with season five when along with Marie Osmond, he placed third. After placing 11th, 13th, and 15th in seasons six, eight, and nine respectively, Roberts hasn’t been heard from again on Dancing With the Stars.
32. Ashly DelGrosso
Ashly DelGrosso was an early fan favorite on Dancing With the Stars, and while she is still loved, she has since been outshone by other pros. DelGrosso was an original pro who ended up placing third in the first season with her celebrity partner Joey McIntyre. Things went off the rails to no fault of DelGrosso when she was partnered with Romeo for season two but when he was unable to perform, his father Master P stepped in. Master P has become known as one of the worst contestants to ever compete on Dancing With the Stars and it seemed to sour DelGrosso’s experience as a pro. After placing ninth with Harry Hamlin in season three, DelGrosso took a break before returning in season 10 where she was paired with Buzz Aldrin, but the pair placed tenth and DelGrosso seemingly retired.
31. Dmitry Chaplin
Dmitry Chaplin followed in the footsteps of his dancing coach Louis Van Amstel, when he landed a role as a pro on season eight of Dancing With the Stars. Chaplin was partnered with Holly Madison and the duo didn’t make it very far before being eliminated. Chaplin’s second season as a pro went much better as he and Mya ended up in second place in season nine and many believe they should have won. After a break, he returned for season 12 but only placed eighth with Petra Nemcova, and in 2018 actually headed over to the Ukrainian version of Dancing With the Stars!
30. Chelsie Hightower
Chelsie Hightower was only 20 years old when she was made a pro on season eight of Dancing With the Stars. Chelsie competed for seven consecutive seasons, and while she was definitely talented, the best she placed was fourth in her very first season with her partner Ty Murray. After leaving the DWTS, Chelsie opened up about the severe anxiety she suffered on the show, and how she changed her life by returning home and going to therapy.
29. Nick Kosovich
Nick Kosovich only competed twice on Dancing With the Stars, and while he may not have been particularly memorable, his skills were not overlooked. Kosovich’s first outing as a pro was the second season where he was partnered with actress Tatum O’Neal and the two were the second couple voted off. In season three, he was partnered with actress Vivica A. Fox and although they were eliminated in the fourth week, Kosovich was nominated for an Emmy for his choreography work on DWTS!
28. Corky Ballas
Dancing With the Stars fans had diverse reactions when iconic ballroom dancer Corky Ballas was brought on to the show as pro in season seven. In the season, Ballas was competing against his own son Mark Ballas, as well as many of his former students including Karina Smirnoff, Julianne Hough, Derek Hough, Tony Dovolani and more. Many felt that casting Ballas and partnering him with 82-year-old Cloris Leachman was a little ridiculous, and Ballas might have felt that way too because the incredible dancer did not return for another season.
27. Lacey Schwimmer
In 2008, Lacey Schwimmer became the first So You Think You Can Dance alum to be made a professional dancer on Dancing With the Stars for the seventh season — and she made the transition with ease! She made herself known with a third place finish with NYSNC’s Lance Bass, but the best she ended up placing was second with actor Kyle Massey in season 11. After six seasons, Schwimmer left the series.
26. Brandon Armstrong
Brandon Armstrong made his debut as a pro on season 27 of Dancing With the Stars, and immediately fans took notice. It was shocking when Armstrong and his celebrity partner Tinashe were eliminated fourth, but it seems it was because fans were angry about Tinashe’s previous dance experience. Either way, judges made sure to let Armstrong know just how impressed they were with his choreography, and while he didn’t have much time to make an impression, it was long enough for us to believe he is definitely a pro to keep an eye on.
25. Gleb Savchenko
For many, it seemed as though Gleb Savchenko was going to be another one and done pro, but that wasn’t the case at all. Savchenko came off of a stint on the Australian version of the show to be partnered with reality TV star Lisa Vanderpump in season 16. The two became the second couple eliminated and Savchenko was not seen for six seasons until he returned as a pro in season 23 with actress and singer Jana Kramer. The duo ended up placing fourth and while Savchenko has been unable to place in the top five in the seasons since, his charm and energy have made him an easy fan favorite!
24. Allison Holker
Allison Holker caused a bit of controversy right from the beginning when she became a pro in season 19 despite being a contemporary dancer who had limited experience in dancing and teaching traditional Latin Ballroom dance. In season 20, her unconventional style paid off however and along with Riker Lynch placed second! After more disappointing outings in seasons 21 and 23, Holker has yet to return to the Dancing With the Stars stage.
23. Keo Motsepe
Keo Motsepe joined Dancing With the Stars as a pro in season 19, and promptly exited again when he and his celebrity partner Lolo Jones were eliminated first. After two more disappointing seasons with Charlotte McKinney and Chaka Khan, some fans thought Motsepe might not be cut out to be a pro, but he was also handed some of the worst partners. Keo quickly worked his way into the hearts of fans though with his never-ending charm, ease of working with different partners, positive outlook and talent. In season 26 his dedication and hard work began to pay off as he worked his way into fourth place and things got better in season 27 with his third place finish with Harry Potter actress Evanna Lynch.
22. Louis Van Amstel
Louis Van Amstel had a rough start to Dancing With the Stars when he and his partner, The Bachelorette’s Trista Sutter, were the first couple eliminated in the first season. He continued to compete however and after a two season break following season six, Van Amstel returned to claim third with Kelly Osbourne. Many fans have felt that Louis Van Amstel never got his fair shake because of the partners he received and somehow he managed to stay charming and positive even when he was paired with Paula Deen in season 21, but has not been back as a pro since.
21. Edyta Sliwinska
Edyta Sliwinska was one of the most consistent pros on Dancing With the Stars for many seasons. Sliwinska was one of the original pros and she and boxer Evander Holyfield placed fifth in the very first season. After 11 seasons, Sliwinska has continuously been partnered with many celebrities with no dance experience, and along with three last place finishes, achieved a third place finish with Joey Lawrence in season three and second place with Jason Taylor in season six.
20. Alec Mazo
Former pro Alec Mazo may not be around anymore but he is certainly a pro that fans who have been watching since the beginning remember! Mazo has the distinction of being the very first pro to win when he and actress Kelly Monaco took home the Mirrorball Trophy in the first season. Things slipped for Mazo after he took two seasons off and returned in seasons four and five with back to back last place eliminations. He returned again for seasons seven and nine, but could not replicate the same success that he found in season one.
19. Alan Bersten
After four seasons training as a member of the dance troupe, Alan Bersten got his promotion to a pro in season 25. Like many pros, Bersten’s first season was pretty rocky and he was the second eliminated along with his celebrity partner Debbie Gibson. In the following two seasons, Bersten did much better with two fourth place finishes. Along with his seasons as a pro, Bersten has the won the hearts of audiences thanks to his dedication and ability to step in for injured pros which he did in season 22 when Mark Ballas injured his back and Bersten learned Ballas’s entire routine in one day and performed with Paige VanZant the following day.
18. Jenna Johnson
Back in season 23, Jenna Johnson made her debut as a pro after five seasons as a dance troupe member, and everyone was shocked when she and actor Jake T. Austin were the very first to be eliminated. After the rough outing, Johnson took season 24 off and returned in season 25 as part of the troupe before once again performing as a pro for the All-Athletes season 26, and she won! After her big win with skater Adam Rippon, Johnson was placed with Bachelor Nation’s Joe Amabile for season 27 and despite Amabile’s inability to dance the pair made their way all the way to fifth place!
17. Artem Chigvintsev
After beginning as a dance troupe member for Dancing With the Stars’ 18th season, Artem Chigvintsev was quickly promoted to a pro for season 19. His easygoing charm quickly made him a fan favorite, but unfortunately for Artem, this has also meant that he has been partnered with some difficult stars. Despite his positive attitude, he has yet to place better than sixth which he achieved with partner Lea Thompson in his first season as a pro and again in season 24 with Nancy Kerrigan. He is a talented dancer, but he has ways to go when it comes to working with his partners before he is a Dancing With the Stars champion.
16. Sasha Farber
It is impossible to not love Sasha Farber. The dancer joined the series in season 14 as a troupe member but quickly made his way to being a pro in season 17 when he was paired with Jersey Shore star Snooki. After placing eighth, Farber returned to the dance troupe for four seasons before returning as a pro in season 22. While Farber has undoubtedly some of the most original choreography, he has only succeeded in reaching third place with controversial skater Tonya Harding in season 26.
15. Lindsay Arnold
In the sixteenth season, Lindsay Arnold became the second youngest pro dancer in the show’s history when she competed in her first season with boxer Victor Ortiz. After placing eighth, it seems it was decided that Arnold wasn’t quite ready to be a pro and she became a member of the dance troupe from seasons 17-20 before she made a big comeback as a pro in season 22 with Alek Skarlatos where she placed third. While many pegged Arnold as “too shy”, her dancing and choreography spoke for itself as she placed in 4th, 3rd, 2nd, and then landed in first place with actor Jordan Fisher in season 25! Arnold is by far one of the most impressive pros, and only time will tell if she can secure another win.
14. Emma Slater
Emma Slater spent three seasons as a member of the dance troupe before she was named as one of the new female pros for season 17. Slater’s talent was immediately obvious when she took comedian and actor Bill Engvall all the to fourth place despite consistently low scores from the judges. For quite a few seasons, Slater was paired with some tricky partners but she worked hard and in season 24 took home the Mirrorball trophy with NFL player Rashad Jennings. As the seasons have continued, Slater has remained a fan favorite, but has yet to reclaim first place.
13. Anna Trebunskaya
Anna Trebunskaya hit the dance floor on Dancing With the Stars in season two, and went on to compete in 11 seasons, quickly becoming one of the most beloved pros. Trebunskaya placed second in her very first season with partner Jerry Rice and only returned to the top three once again in season ten with Evan Lysack. Despite all her patience and hardwork, she often found herself as one of the early eliminations and last competed on season 21 with actor Gary Busey before seemingly retiring from the show.
12. Julianne Hough
Before her brother became the star of the show, Julianne Hough was a force no one was ready for on Dancing With the Stars when she joined as the youngest pro ever in season four. Being so young at the time it seemed fans and judges weren’t prepared for just how good she was when she landed back to back wins in seasons four and five with her celeb partners Apolo Anton Ohno and Helio Castroneves. Her lasting legacy makes it hard to believe she was only a pro for five seasons before calling it quits following season eight. While she has returned as a judge, many preferred her being on the dance floor than behind the judges table.
11. Karina Smirnoff
Longtime fans of Dancing With the Stars have a soft spot in their heart for some of the original pros, including Karina Smirnoff. The gorgeous dancer joined the show as a pro in season three and right away made it all the way to second place with her partner Mario Lopez. Between the pair’s dancing skills and actual romance that blossomed, fans became invested in Smirnoff. Over 18 seasons as a pro, Smirnoff has only won once in season 13 with J.R. Martinez but has also continuously been in the top five. All she really needs to secure a higher spot on the fan favorite list is at least one more win, but she has yet to return since her season 22 outing with Doug Flutie.
10. Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Dancing With the Stars’ resident bad boy is of course none other than Maksim Chmerkovskiy and the show would simply not be the same without him. The “bad boy” of the show began as a pro in season two and has now competed in an impressive 17 seasons. His tough love approach and outspoken nature might rub the judges the wrong way sometimes, but it has proven effective with eight appearances in the top five. He only has one Mirrorball win with Meryl Davis in season 18, and his attitude seems to hinder his ability to be the all around pro that his brother has taken on. Maks is a no nonsense dancer, which is good in live competitions, but needs a little softening for the TV show.
9. Cheryl Burke
Cheryl Burke has become a Dancing With the Stars icon after she became a pro in season two. Burke immediately became the best of the best after winning seasons two and three with Drew Lachey and Emmitt Smith respectively. Despite not winning again in all the seasons since, the freestyle she choreographed with Drew Lachey still stands as the one to live up to every single season and the season three finale featuring Burke and Emmitt Smith remains the highest-rated DWTS season finale ever. With more than 20 seasons under her belt, Burke is one of the longest-running pros and while her talent is undeniable, it has been quite awhile since she has been seen in the top three.
8. Tony Dovolani
Tony Dovolani was one of the longest-running professional dancers on the series after spending 21 seasons as a pro from season 2 to 22. Out of all those seasons, he only reached first place once but it was the most impressive season of all because it was Season 15’s All-Stars with partner Melissa Rycroft. Aside from his big win, he placed third twice and landed in the top five two other times. While there is no doubt Dovolani is talented, after such a long time on the show it would be expected he would have more wins or even more top three finishes, but after exiting the show following season 22, it seems there will be no opportunity for Dovolani to improve his DWTS ranking. The dancer made it clear that he was not impressed with working with the celebrities, and after his attitude had been called into question many times, many believe that even his talent couldn’t make him a good fit for the role of a pro which is equal parts talent and working with very different personalities and skill levels in celebrities.
7. Witney Carson
In only her second season, Carson became a pro to contend with when she and actor Alfonso Ribeiro won the Mirrorball Trophy and became one of the show’s most beloved winning couples of all time. Despite not winning again, Carson has also proven that she has what it takes to hang with the seasoned pros especially when it comes to creating choreography that her partners can do, especially in season 20 when her partner Chris Soules was ushered along all the way to fifth place despite the fact he really couldn’t dance at all.
6. Peta Murgatroyd
Peta Murgatroyd became a member of Dancing With the Stars‘ dance troupe in season 12, and the very next season she was made a pro! Although things didn’t start off well as she and her partner Metta World Place were the first to be eliminated, she more than redeemed herself the next season! In season 14, Murgatroyd and her partner Donald Driver took home the Mirrorball Trophy, and right away she was a pro to watch out for. Her ability to adapt to each different star she is partnered with has meant that Peta is always a strong contender in the competition and she won yet again with Nyle DiMarco in season 22.
5. Mark Ballas
Many pros have come and gone over the years, but if there was one that fans would love to have back it would definitely be Mark Ballas. Ballas has been one of the biggest sweethearts on Dancing With the Stars since he became a pro on the show’s fifth season. His first season was a dramatic one after he and Sabrina Bryan were favored to win, only to be kicked off in week six, shocking absolutely everyone. Instead of letting it get him down, Ballas has become one of the most impressive pros on the show. He pushes his partners to do their absolute best while coming up with some of the most original and show-stopping choreography that fans have seen. After two first place wins with Kristi Yamauchi and Shawn Johnson as well as several more second and third places, Ballas stepped away from the show after 19 seasons, but he has remained in the hearts of fans as they hope for his return.
4. Kym Johnson-Herjavec
After a three season stint on Dancing With the Stars: Australia, Kym Johnson made her way over to the U.S. version of the show where she proceeded to be one of the most impressive dancers the show had season. After placing fifth with Jerry Springer in season three, Johnson and NSYNC’s Joey Fatone shot to final three in season four where they placed second. After some ups and downs, Johnson finally got her Mirrorball Trophy with partner Donny Osmond in season nine. After a surprising last place finish with David Hasselhoff in season 11, she returned to the top of the podium with the NFL’s Hines Ward in season 12. Although she wasn’t as successful in following seasons, fans can’t get enough of her real love story that came out of season 20 when she fell in love with her partner Robert Herjavec, and now the pair are married with twins!
3. Sharna Burgess
Like many of the other pros, Sharna Burgess began her time on Dancing With the Stars as a troupe member in season 13, and after three seasons was promoted to a pro in season 16. After a rocky first few seasons as a pro, things turned around when Burgess and her season 20 partner, war veteran Noah Galloway, stole the show and fan’s hearts when they placed third. The following season Burgess and Nick Carter placed second and she once again was runner-up with partner James Hinchcliffe in season 23. With 12 seasons under her belt, fans have appreciated Burgess’s dedication to the show and ability to choreograph with any star with any experience level. After many hard fought seasons she landed another second place with Josh Norman before finally achieving her first Mirrorball Trophy win with Bobby Bones in season 27. While many believe it to be the most controversial win in the show’s history, no one can detract from the incredible work Burgess had put in to get there.
2. Derek Hough
One season after his sister dominated season four, Derek Hough joined the show and it wasn’t long before he made his presence known. Out of his 17 seasons, Hough has now won an incredible six times which includes season seven with Brooke Burke, season 10 with Nicole Scherzinger, season 11 with Jennifer Grey, seasons 16 with Kellie Pickler, season 17 with Amber Riley, and season 21 with Bindi Irwin. In his entire career on the show, Hough has never placed lower than sixth and has even won Emmys for his incredible choreography. Derek’s place in Dancing With the Stars history has been cemented, but after exiting the show following season 23, some other pros have become the new faces of the franchise.
1. Valentin Chmerkovskiy
None other than Val Chmerkovskiy takes the top spot! While many might be surprised that Derek Hough isn’t in the spot, it is because Val has become the star in Hough’s absence. Val has embodied everything needed to be a successful pro on the series: charm, talent, an amazing personality, competitive spirit, and most of all he knows how to work the dances for the sake of the show. In his fourteen seasons, he only hasn’t been in the top five six times leaving him with one fifth place, four third places, one second place, and two big wins! His enthusiasm not only for performing but just being on the show in general has effectively made him the new face of Dancing With the Stars, and fans wouldn’t have it any other way.