The Magic of ‘Dancing With the Stars’: Reliving the Victorious Moments of Every Winner

On Season 32 of Dancing with the Stars, Marvel star Xochitl Gomez won the renamed Len Goodman Mirrorball trophy. It was a thrilling victory for the 17-year-old and her fan favourite pro, Val Chmerkovskiy, who became a father earlier this year.

When the show debuted in the summer of 2005, a lot has changed. Len Goodman, the top judge of DWTS from its inception, most famously retired at the end of the 2022 season and passed away in April 2023.

The passion for dancing, whether it be to a sophisticated waltz or a spicy salsa, hasn’t altered, though. The programme has made ballroom dancing a major focus point ever since it debuted.

“Words like “Paso Doble,” “promenade,” “frame,” and “connection” are now commonly known to the general public as a result of the show,” states Ken Richards, president of USA Dance, the sports organisation approved by the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee. It has elevated ballroom dance and elevated it to a conversational subject. People are approaching the water cooler in the office now and saying things like, “Hey, did you see Cheryl and so and so doing the quick step last night?””

Not only that, but Dancing with the Stars has encouraged others to show out on the dance floor. “It used to be that someone would walk into a dance studio and say, ‘I just want to learn a couple of steps so I can be ready for my friend’s wedding or New Year’s Eve,’ but now people come in and say, ‘I want to compete in dance.'” Richards continued.

Dancing with the Stars has had a huge cultural impact after 18 years and 32 seasons.

The whole list of Dancing with the Stars winners since the show’s 2005 premiere can be found here.

Dancing with the Stars winners

During the last week of competition, underdogs Kelly Monaco and Alec Mazo overcame actor John O’Hurley and his partner Charlotte Jorgensen by coming from behind.
During the last week of competition, underdogs Kelly Monaco and Alec Mazo overcame actor John O’Hurley and his partner Charlotte Jorgensen by coming from behind.


Dancing with the Stars Season 1 Winner (2005)
Winner: Kelly Monaco

Pro partner: Alec Mazo

Dancing with the Stars’ first champion was Kelly Monaco, who is best known for her role as Sam McCall on the ABC soap opera General Hospital. At first, she and Mazo had the lowest score, but after their freestyle in the finals, judge Carrie Ann Inaba questioned, “Are you the same girl who I called an awkward mover in the second episode? You were amazing.” Monaco also said, “All my life I’ve been the underdog… I’ve never won anything in my life and this

Dancing with the Stars Season 2 Winner (2006)
Winner: Drew Lachey

Pro partner: Cheryl Burke

Accomplished as a co-host of season five, he also choreographed three North American tours of Dancing with the Stars and the All-Star season. Currently residing in Cincinnati with his spouse Lea, who works as a choreographer for 98 Degrees, and their two kids, Lachey and Burke received flawless scores for their tango, Paso Doble, and freestyle during the show.

Dancing with the Stars Season 3 Winner (2006)
Winner: Emmitt Smith

Pro partner: Cheryl Burke

Carrie Ann Inaba said to Smith before the finale, “What’s so great about you is that you are the everyday man who became a dancer before our eyes in the past ten weeks.” Smith spent 15 seasons as an NFL running back, primarily with the Dallas Cowboys.

Dancing with the Stars Season 4 Winner (2007)
Winner: Apolo Anton Ohno

Pro partner: Julianne Hough

Apolo Anton Ohno was a short track speed skater who competed in the Winter Olympics and won eight medals. In Season 4, he and Joey Fatone broke the record for the most perfect seasons.

Dancing with the Stars Season 5 Winner (2007)
Winner: Hélio Castroneves

Pro partner: Julianne Hough

While many of their routines are remarkable, their difficult-to-master quickstep in week eight was hailed as a marvel as they donned matching pale yellow costumes and danced to “Hey Pachuco” from the movie, The Mask. The Brazilian car racing driver, a four-time Indianapolis 500 champion, really impressed the judges.

Dancing with the Stars Season 6 Winner (2008)
Winner: Kristi Yamaguchi

Pro partner: Mark Ballas

Kristi Yamaguchi, a former Olympic figure skater who won gold in the 1992 Games and twice placed first in the World Championship, is the first female winner of the show since Kelly Monaco. She and Ballas topped the judges’ standings for eight weeks. “This is definitely for all those women out there to continue to be strong,” Yamaguchi said.

Dancing with the Stars Season 7 Winner (2008)
Winner: Brooke Burke

Pro partner: Derek Hough

After winning season 7, Brooke Burke—a television personality, entrepreneur, author, and fitness expert—went on to host the show for eight seasons. She is passionate about health and wellness and has a fitness app called BB Body for self-care, fitness, and health. Burke and Hough never failed to impress the judges; during rehearsal, Hough remarked, “There are moments in there when I feel like I’m dancing with a professional.”

Dancing with the Stars Season 8 Winner (2009)
Winner: Shawn Johnson

Pro partner: Mark Ballas

Shawn Johnson, an artistic gymnast, won the gold and three silver medals in the Olympic games for women’s gymnastics when she was just 17 years old. She and Ballas defeated Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke in the closest-ever DWTS finale, with their freestyle routine sealing the victory.

Dancing with the Stars Season 9 Winner (2009)
Winner: Donny Osmond

Pro partner: Kym Johnson

With a career that has spanned over six decades, Donny Osmond has been a singer, actor, television series host (with a talk show, game show, variety show), bestselling author, motivational speaker, and even a race car driver. Add Dancing with the Stars champion to that title. At first he had a rocky start, but by week 5 he was earning rave reviews. And Osmond wowed the judges especially when he did the Argentine Tango, jumping jitterbug and freestyle. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba said his dancing was “artistry in motion.” As Kym told Good Morning America, her partner, a lifelong performer “is the ultimate profession.” Osmond, a grandfather, is the oldest recipient of the Mirrorball trophy. He was 52 when claimed the top prize.

Dancing with the Stars Season 10 Winner (2010)
Winner: Nicole Scherzinger

Pro partner: Derek Hough

“She was a massive fan of the show and she really wanted me to do it. I was like, ‘I’m always up for a challenge,’ but I didn’t realise how hard it would be. I didn’t give Derek Hough a day off in the few months we did this show,” the singer-songwriter, actress, and lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls told ET. She received her highest scores with the Paso Doble, Argentine Tango, and Jive.

Dancing with the Stars Season 11 Winner (2010)
Winner: Jennifer Grey

Pro partner: Derek Hough

In her memoir Out of the Corner, Grey attributes the discovery of her illness to Dancing with the Stars. “The fact is this reality show saved my life,” Grey told USA Today. “A show I only did for my daughter and because Marlee Matlin had told me it was a life-changing experience. It set the ball in motion of facing my fears. In a way, the accident that I thought was maybe one of the worst things that happened to me saved my life.” Additionally, Grey said the show altered her relationship with dance, realising she loved it and had not danced in 20 years due to fear of rejection or the girl from Dirty Dancing who couldn’t learn how to dance.

Dancing with the Stars Season 12 Winner (2011)
Winner: Hines Ward

Pro partner: Kym Johnson

The wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers was the first active NFL player to win the show. Following his flawless score and samba dance, Carrie Ann Inaba referred to Ward as “the MVP” of the season. The wide receiver also stated that the show would have an impact on his playing time, saying, “Every time I score a touchdown, you will see a DWTS routine somewhere in the end zone.”

Dancing with the Stars Season 13 Winner (2011)
Winner: J.R. Martinez

Pro partner: Karina Smirnoff

In the grand finals, the actor and Iraq War veteran defeated rivals Ricki Lake and Rob Kardashian with a narrow margin. Martinez thanked the United States for believing in them and told Smirnoff, “You are amazing.”

Dancing with the Stars Season 14 Winner (2012)
Winner: Donald Driver

Pro partner: Petra Murgatroyd

“You are the one to beat,” said Carrie Ann Inaba following their seductive performance. “You had the strategy of a champion,” added Bruno Tonioli. “We’re going to bring the Mirrorball back to where we feel it always started: in Titletown,” Driver told Jimmy Kimmel after his win. The Super Bowl champion and wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers earned perfect tens for their final Cha cha cha, where the athlete took off his shirt.

Dancing with the Stars Season 15 Winner (2012)
Winner: Melissa Rycroft

Pro partner: Tony Dovolani

While dancing the samba to “Life is a Highway” for the grand finale, Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani were greeted by Len Goodman with the words, “You have been my greatest pleasure to watch.”

Dancing with the Stars Season 16 Winner (2013)
Winner: Kellie Pickler

Pro partner: Derek Hough

Derek Hough and Kellie Pickler received a flawless score of thirty for their jive to “Keep-a-Knockin'” and a thirty for their intense freestyle to “Beneath Your Beautiful.” For the singer-songwriter whose grandfather was present in the audience, taking home the Mirrorball held particular significance. “He persuaded me to participate in the show.” Pickler claimed on Good Morning America that he has never missed an episode of a season and that the Mirrorball is “going in his bedroom.”

Dancing with the Stars Season 17 Winner (2013)
Winner: Amber Riley

Pro partner: Derek Hough

The Quickstep and Samba (Fusion) to “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher” in the season finale earned Amber Riley and Derek Hough five perfect scores. Following the Glee star’s collection of the Mirrorball, she gave a motivational speech to women, saying, “I want to let women of all sizes out there know you can do whatever you put your mind to! Doesn’t matter what size, what colour you are—you can do whatever, whatever, whatever you put your mind to.”

Dancing with the Stars Season 18 Winner (2014)
Winner: Meryl Davis

Pro partner: Maksim Chmerkovskiy

During the finale, Davis and pro partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy got perfect scores, and after 14 seasons, Maks got his first win. “There’s a reason it didn’t happen before,” he said. “It was meant to happen with this one,” he noted about the champion Olympic ice dancer. Season 18 saw the debut of “The Switch Up,” where viewers could vote and change up the celebrity/pro pairings for a week.

Dancing with the Stars Season 19 Winner (2014)
Winner: Alfonso Ribeiro

Pro partner: Witney Carson

Len Goodman remarked the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actor, “You dance like Frank Sinatra sings,” during the finals after “Carlton” and Witney’s jive amazed everyone. The star claimed he waited ten years to try to win the Mirrorball.

Dancing with the Stars Season 20 Winner (2015)
Winner: Rumer Willis

Pro partner: Val Chmerkovskiy

As is customary on the reality dance competition, Willis persevered despite a rib injury to win first place; the victory was especially sweet for her professional partner Val Chmerkovskiy, who had advanced to the finals but had never taken home the trophy. Later that year, Willis would put her exquisite tango and dancing skills to great use when she made her Broadway debut as Roxie Hart in Chicago. Willis also gave credit to Dancing With the Stars for helping her gain confidence.

Dancing with the Stars Season 21 Winner (2015)
Winner: Bindi Irwin

Pro partner: Derek Hough

Before the winner was revealed, co-host Erin Andrews praised the winner, saying, “You have been the shining light of this season with your joyous spirit and determination for perfection on the dance floor and in life.” During one particularly moving moment, she danced to “Every Breath You Take” in memory of her late father, Steve Irwin, who passed away nine years earlier. “Thank you for changing my life,” the conservationist and TV personality said after winning season 21.

Dancing with the Stars Season 22 Winner (2016)
Winner: Nyle DiMarco

Pro partner: Peta Murgatroyd

As the first deaf competitor to win DWTS, DiMarco and Murgatroyd wowed the judges with a thrilling combination of cha cha cha and tango to the song “Summer.” Bruno Tonioli pronounced both moves to be “equally brilliant,” adding that DiMarco was a champion regardless of the outcome. Carrie Ann Inaba then signed, “Thank you for showing us your beautiful heart when you dance,” as DiMarco started to cry. Len Goodman then remarked, “The only boundaries are what we put on ourselves. You don’t get no sympathy vote from me. I just judge on what I see.” Finally, the judges gave them a perfect score.

Dancing with the Stars Season 23 Winner (2016)
Winner: Laurie Hernandez

Pro partner: Valentin Chmerkovskiy

Hernandez, who competed at the age of sixteen, is still the show’s youngest winner and the first Latina to win the competition. In the finals, the champion Olympic gymnast and Chmerkovskiy dazzled the judges with an Argentine tango and foxtrot fusion to “We Are The Ones.”

Dancing with the Stars Season 24 Winner (2017)
Winner: Rashad Jennings

Pro partner: Emma Slater

“Watching you over the season has been like watching a rising star,” Bruno Tonioli said after their final dance of the season. “Brighter.” Jennings, who was named one of the best NFL running backs of the year, revealed that he had never won anything. “I never won a playoff or championship. I’ve always been close to everything. That is why in rehearsals I work so hard. Nothing has ever been handed to me,” Jennings said. More vivid. More vivid. disappeared like a supernova.

Dancing with the Stars Season 25 Winner (2017)
Winner: Jordan Fisher

Pro partner: Lindsay Arnold

Lindsay Arnold, who had been on the show for ten seasons, won for the first time in Season 25. Following his triumph, Fisher portrayed Philip Hamilton and John Laurens in the Broadway production of Hamilton. Bruno Tonioli said the actor as “right up there with the best we’ve ever seen on this show,” while Len Goodman referred to him as “the most complete male celebrity ever on Dancing with the Stars.”

Dancing with the Stars Season 26 Winner (2018)
Winner: Adam Rippon

Pro partner: Jenna Johnson

“I felt like there was some extra pressure on me to go out there and deliver every single time,” said Olympic figure skater Rippon. “But it was definitely a challenge…and so totally out of my comfort zone. And Jenna is such a good teacher. By the end I wanted to win it mostly for Jenna.” The Olympic figure skater and partner Jenna Johnson performed a final jazz dance to the song “Anything You Can Do.”


Dancing with the Stars Season 27 Winner (2018)
Winner: Bobby Bones

Pro partner: Sharna Burgess

The radio host, wearing a white satin tail coat tux, began the show’s finale by stating, “Three months ago when I started the show, I was clueless.” He continued, “Three months later, I’m still clueless. But I’ve had the greatest time with my people.” However, it soon became clear that he was in possession of much more than just a clue.

Dancing with the Stars Season 28 Winner (2019)
Winner: Hannah Brown

Pro partner: Alan Bersten

Her freestyle to “Girl on Fire” and “Hollaback Girl” earned her and Bersten a perfect 30 from the judges, making her the first Bachelorette to win the Mirrorball on Dancing with the Stars. “That was a victorious freestyle,” Carrie Ann Inaba stated.

ancing with the Stars Season 29 Winner (2020)
Winner: Kaitlyn Bristowe

Pro partner: Artem Chigvintsev

Chigvintsev, who had been on the show since 2014, won his first championship when he and Bristowe performed their favourite dance, the Argentine tango to “Toxic,” again earning a perfect thirty. They also received another perfect thirty when they performed a freestyle number to “Sparkling Diamonds” from Moulin Rouge.

Dancing with the Stars Season 30 Winner (2021)
Winner: Iman Shumpert

Pro partner: Daniella Karagach

The 6’5″ Shumpert and the 5’5″ Karagach had a lot to overcome, not to mention Shumpert’s lack of dance experience, but after weeks of hard work, they really clicked, and by week six—after their Halloween Contemporary dance—they ended up with their first perfect score from the judges. Shumpert reflected on the competition and said it taught him to “Live every day like your last.” Shumpert was the first NBA player to make it to the finals.

Dancing with the Stars Season 31 Winner (2022)
Winner: Charli D’Amelio

Pro partner: Mark Ballas

After winning Dancing with the Stars, Charli D’Amelio, a popular personality on TikTok, told Parade, “I’ve learned so much, whether it’s about all these new styles of dance or just myself as a person or learning how to perform anything.” Charli won the competition for the entire ten weeks. I’ve just gained a great deal of knowledge about everything.”

Dancing with the Stars Season 32 Winner (2023)
Winner: Xochitl Gomez

Pro partner: Val Chmerkovskiy

Marvel actress Xochitl Gomez, who turned seventeen this year, was one of the youngest contestants ever on Dancing with the Stars. She and pro Val Chmerkovskiy dominated the entire season, winning awards for both of her dances in the semifinals, and she had the added benefit of dancing with one of the most well-liked pros and best choreographers on the show—Val—who is winning this season for the third time.

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