My Favorite Contestant of All
DiMarco competed on Season 22 in 2016. He was partnered with professional dancer Peta Murgatroyd. DiMarco is one of two deaf contestants to compete on the show along with Marlee Matlin from Season 6. DiMarco and Murgatroyd won Season 22. I must say that his smile hooked me right away, and I grew to admire his perseverance and strength. Talk about going outside of your comfort zone; he danced in silence and did it better than most hearing people. The most amazing moment was when they shut off the music so that the ballroom was silent during a portion of their dance to show what it might be like to dance from DiMarco’s perspective; it was awe-inspiring. I can’t say enough about this young man as a person and as a dancer.
Galloway was on Season 20 in 2015 and was paired with professional dancer and choreographer Sharna Burgess. Now, you may think I chose him because he danced with a prosthetic leg and only one arm, but I chose him for his strength, poise, and graceful movement. Galloway was a great example of someone overcoming adversities and shining brighter than anyone else on the dance floor that season. Galloway and Burgess finished the competition in third place in Season 20.
Lachey was a celebrity dancer on the second season in 2006 with professional dance partner Cheryl Burke. They went on to win the season with a freestyle that some say is the most famous dance in the show’s history. I liked Lachey because he was an excellent dancer and the chemistry he between him and his partner was off the charts. They just complemented each other so well. I don't know if he would have made the list if he had a different partner, but he did a great job dancing with Burke.
Being a true Fresh Prince fan, I was thrilled that Ribeiro was competing in Season 19.
He partnered with professional dancer Witney Carson. He became the fourth celebrity dancer in the show's history to receive a nine from each judge in week one, and he went on to win the season. Ribeiro mixed fun, talent, and enthusiasm to make the perfect contestant for the show. Every week I looked forward to seeing what he would come up with next, and when he did the Carlton, I was transported back to my teenage years.
I Didn’t Get the Mirror Ball, But I Got the Girl Award
On February 24, 2015, Shark Tank entrepreneur Robert Herjavec was announced as one of the contestants for Season 20 and partnered with Kym Johnson. The "I may not have gotten the mirror ball, but I got the girl” award goes to Herjavec. Rumors ran rampant during the season about a possible romance between Herjavec and Johnson, and in 2015 he confirmed their relationship. In February of 2016, the two became engaged and were married in July of the same year. I guess the song in the movie White Christmas is true, the best things can happen while you're dancing!
Made Me Happy Award
Buzz Aldrin competed on Season 10 of DWTS and should be under the poor dancer category, but he gets a reprieve from me. Instead, I’ve given him my “made me happy” award. He performed a foxtrot to "Fly Me to the Moon" and then in the second show a waltz to "What a Wonderful World.” His moves were stiff, but coming from an 80-year-old living legend, I expected it. What I did not expect was the joy I felt just watching him dance; I don't know what it was about him, maybe he reminded me a little of my own grandpop, but he just made me smile.
I honestly expected Tommy Chong to be bad, but he came out the first week and gave it his all. He even had a few good moves. He and his partner Peta Murgatroyd were at the bottom of the judges' leaderboard, but the fans kept him in until the semifinals. I was glad because you could see the improvement and joy he brought to the dance floor.
These next contestants, while they stepped outside of their comfort zones to embrace dancing, missed the mark entirely.
Worst of the Worst
Partnered with Edyta Sliwinska, Geraldo Rivera made me cringe whenever he came on to dance, and I was very happy when he was eliminated early in Season 2. I found his performances uncomfortable to watch because of the persona he presented on air and the way he approached the dances.
Check out some great DWTS dancers who deserve honorable mention below: