4 Singers Who Wowed Fans on ‘Dancing with the Stars’

When ABC launched Dancing with the Stars on June 1, 2005, it was thought of as summer TV filler that would last six weeks. The show, something of a spinoff of a similar British competition, is now judged by a panel of dance experts.

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With 2023 marking Season 32 of the show, Dancing with the Stars has become a cultural phenomenon and has featured an array of top-flight talent. Here are five singers that wowed judges and audiences:

1. Jennifer Lopez and Andrea Bocelli (April 2013)

The performance by Jennifer Lopez and Andrea Bocelli left Dancing With the Stars’ audiences in awe, reports Singersroom. It seems that two such noted performers may be tempted just to give minimal effort during a reality show performance. After all, they are both well known and lauded world-class talents.

But that was far from the case during the duo’s performance. Singersroom critics gave the two their highest praise, saying they showed incredible emotion, vocal mastery and impeccable and elegant dancing. “In terms of technique, both artists executed intricate movements flawlessly, without a single misstep,” wrote Singersroom’s critics. “This was truly a breathtaking performance from two of the world’s most celebrated talents who joined forces to craft something extraordinary. The uplifting music paired with the exquisitely choreographed dance promises to be a cherished memory for years.”

The heartfelt virtuosity was not lost on the audience, who was seemingly mesmerized by the performers as “every note seemed to touch a chord within the hearts of those present,” wrote Singersroom. “The combination of these two performers created pure magic on DWTS—it was simply breathtaking! They were able to create something special by harmonizing their vocals perfectly, making it difficult for anyone watching not to be moved by their amazing talent.

2. Kellie Pickler (May 2013)

Music fans may know that country singer Kellie Pickler is something of a veteran of reality shows. She competed on American Idol, starred in her own I Love Kellie Pickler TV series, and even co-hosted a daytime talk show, Pickler & Ben

If you think Pickler was done with competitions when she appeared on Dancing with the Stars in 2013, you haven’t watched her seemingly flawless performance that made her the first country star to make the finals.

Pickler did everything from the quickstep to freestyle moves as she performed songs including Ludovic Bource’s “Peppy and George,” Little Richard’s “Keep-a-Knockin,’” and Labrinth featuring Emeli Sandé’s “Beneath Your Beautiful,” according to Country Now. Her dance partner was three-time champion Derek Hough, but Pickler shone in her own right.

The Boot reports that the duo had perfect 30-point scores on three of their final dances. 

“I’m overwhelmed with joy,” Us Weekly quoted Pickler as saying. “I’m kind of speechless for the first time! Usually, I can’t be quiet! Usually, I’m just spitting out words left and right, and now I don’t know what to say.”

“I was shocked to have made it this far,” she added after winning the competition in Season 16. “We’ve made so many memories out here on this dance floor and in the studio. We’ve all worked so hard to be here, and it’s just overwhelming.”

As happy as the win was for Pickler, her husband, Kyle Jacobs, was brought to tears by the victory.

“I was like, ‘Baby, were you crying?’ And he was like, ‘Oh, I had something in my eye. I got some confetti in my eye.’ … He was so proud,” she told Us Weekly. “The first thing he said tonight was, ‘Baby, I love you, and I’m so proud of you. You did it.’”

3. Nicole Scherzinger (May 2010)

Nicole Scherzinger, the lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls, has a background in dance, which came to life when she and dance partner Derek Hough competed and dominated Season 10 of Dancing With the Stars

“I feel like I just won a Grammy,” Scherzinger is quoted as saying by the Associated Press. “A dancing Grammy.”

Although Scherzinger and Hough excelled at each stage of the competition, she is quoted by ABC News as saying she was shocked by the win. “I was genuinely surprised,” she said. “I had the most amazing people I was up against. It was so awesome; it’s still surreal.”

4. Chaz Bono (September 2011)

Perhaps it’s not surprising that the offspring of Cher and Sonny Bono excelled at a dancing competition, but he and dancing partner Lacey Schwimmer truly did themselves proud as they scored 17 out of 30 during the competition. 

Judge Carrie Ann Inaba told Bono: “I think people have been waiting all night to see you, Chaz, and you did not disappoint. You can dance!” according to ABC News.

“It felt good. It was fun. I really wanna enjoy every second of this, even the tough times,” Bono told ABC’s Nightline. “You’re in a state of nervousness all night. You don’t get to sit back and enjoy it. … I had a great time doing it; I think it was entertaining. I was in a total daze—you don’t think about the crowd. I’d like to be back as long as I can.”

Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images

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