Oh, the allure of live television. It makes us all feel like we are really there, even when we are just sitting on our sofas in sweatpants. However, live television really reaches an entirely different level when the people involved end up embarrassed for one reason or another. Any loyal fan of Dancing with the Stars knows this all too well.
And no, it is not just the contestants that suffer these humiliations. Take professional dancer Lindsay Arnold, for example. She has several seasons of Dancing with the Stars under her belt, but she experienced an embarrassing, albeit brief moment that will haunt her for the rest of her life — or at the very least, it sounds like it will haunt her Google search results. What was the awkward gaffe that the seasoned ballroom dancer just can’t seem to shake, you ask? Oh, you will just have to read on to find out.
Ready to revisit some of the cringeworthy things that have happened on the ballroom dance competition series? Let’s get into the most embarrassing moments on Dancing with the Stars.
That time Jenna Johnson peed her pants on stage
Season 26 of Dancing with the Stars was quite a success for American figure skater Adam Rippon. His professional dance partner, Jenna Johnson, on the other hand, had quite an embarrassing moment during their freestyle in the finale. "This is a true story," she admitted to Us Weekly. "I peed my pants."
Johnson seemed to be even more anxious than her celebrity counterpart before their performance had begun. "It was our last dance, and I was so excited, but nervous," she told the outlet. As the dancing duo waited on stage as the show played footage from that week’s rehearsals, it happened. "No one really knew," she said, but her partner sure did, and he was not fazed. They did their entire routine right after it happened. Hey, the show must go on.
It’s a good thing they didn’t give up just yet. They ended up as the winners of the entire season. After all, it only makes sense that someone who went number one on stage should end up as a number one on the show!
When judge Carrie Ann Inaba fell out of her chair
When actor Gilles Marini and professional dancer Peta Murgatroyd competed on Season 15, it caused quite a commotion. Their provocative performance had judge Carrie Ann Inaba in a trance. "Let the baby making begin!" she shouted… right before she toppled out of her chair.
Inaba nearly fell down the platform leading up to the judges’ booth before her co-stars rushed over to see if she was alright. However, like a true professional, she got up, fluffed her hair, and got back to judging. "I’m okay!" she clarified.
That was not the only time Inaba took a spill on the show. Fast-forward to a Season 28 episode when she judged a dance that wasn’t so provocative as it was precious. The Office star Kate Flannery and her professional dance partner Pasha Pashkov had just ended their Mary Poppins-themed routine when it happened. As Inaba leaned over the judges’ table to check out a broomstick prop, she sat back and missed her chair completely. "I’m not doing it again," she said. We’ll see about that!
That time Tyra Banks eliminated the wrong stars
The eliminations segment is always tense on Dancing with the Stars, and Tyra Banks made the moment a little bit harder during Season 29. With three couples left standing on stage, she turned to her incorrect cue cards to see who was going home. When she read the names of the bottom two dancing duos, it didn’t make much sense. The team of Cheer coach Monica Aldama and professional dancer Val Chmerkovskiy had previously been deemed safe from elimination, but Banks revealed they were actually in the bottom two. Aldama and Chmerkovskiy were already backstage, so producers had to pull them back on camera so they could hear their true fate. "This is live TV, right?" Banks said. "This is the craziness of live TV."
Everyone was dumbfounded, and even the judges’ mouths dropped to the dance floor. To break the tension, Bruno Tonioli explained how this had happened before on U.K. television, but everybody still seemed pretty upset. In the end, the couple who had been on stage all along — actor Anne Heche and professional dancer Keo Motsepe — were eliminated. However, no one could correct the error Banks made. "Again, we apologize for this," she said. "It is live TV, and we’re all human."
When Lindsay Arnold passed gas on her dance partner
It was a moment that could have easily been edited out, and one that will haunt professional dancer Lindsay Arnold forever. During a Dancing with the Stars Season 24 rehearsal, she passed gas in her partner’s face.
In her defense, MLB star David Ross had dropped her quite a few times while practicing their routine. Though Arnold admits that she didn’t fart in his face on purpose, it seemed like the perfect payback. "David dropped me on my butt, and then my butt was mad at him," she joked. Luckily, he found it just as funny as she did. As Fox News reported, the two ended their rehearsal early that day because they couldn’t stop laughing about it.
Arnold’s embarrassing moment had the Internet ripping her a new one, and, of course, reporters wanted to talk to her about it. "I’ve done so many things, but this toot is, like, really being heard around the world," she told ET, also noting "that video is the first thing that pops up" when you Google her name. But just like her serious dance skills, she handled being in the spotlight like a pro. And for better or for worse it is fart, er, part of her legacy. "I don’t think I’ll ever live that one down," she added.
When Master P was a last-minute sub
When you compete on Dancing with the Stars, you usually want to win. However, that wasn’t Master P’s plan during Season 2. In fact, he was awarded one of the worst scores in the show’s history. As Carrie Ann Inaba told Hollywood Life, "I love [Master P], but his dancing? Well, you know."
In his defense, he wasn’t supposed to be there in the first place. Rapper Romeo Miller, a.k.a. Lil’ Romeo, was supposed to be dancing. Right before the season commenced, Miller reportedly was injured and had to call it quits. However, he would later reveal there was a little more to the story. According to the New York Daily News, Miller admitted at a panel that he "got really nervous" and his "dad actually saved the day" when he backed out. "He’s like, ‘Look, I’ll do this for you. When does the show start?’ I’m like, ‘Tomorrow,’" Miller recalled.
Lil’ Romeo would go on to compete on Season 12 and place fifth overall; his dad, on the other hand, turned out to be not-so-great on his feet. Yet, even with his worst scores, he said he had a great time. "I know people were going to make fun of me and laugh, but I say it’s worth it because I wanted to make sure that we brought that light and hopefully bring some of the people back together," Master P said at the aforementioned panel. "And it worked."
When Witney Carson didn’t know who her partner was
When season 24 of Dancing with the Stars rolled around, everybody was tight-lipped about letting any spoilers out about the new star-studded cast. When ET questioned professional dancer Witney Carson about her partner, she offered up a relatively surprising admission. "I didn’t know who he was," she said. Needless to say, it wasn’t a great hint, and it did not exactly make guessing who she’d been paired up with any easier.
Only a few weeks later, though, it was officially announced that she would be teaching Saturday Night Live alum Chris Kattan. "Our first meeting may have been awkward to say the least," she later admitted on her own website. It may have been due to the fact that she let slip the fact that she didn’t know who he was.
Even so, the two made for a terrific pairing, and as Carson wrote on her site, Kattan had her "laughing hysterically" right away. The A Night at the Roxbury star even found his professional dance partner to be quite funny too. "He laughs at all my jokes which is a real treat!" she added. The two didn’t end up winning the competition, but they both walked away with something to chuckle about.
When Tyra Banks walked on stage with her dress unzipped
Tyra Banks’ first season as the host of Dancing with the Stars had yet another pretty embarrassing moment.
As a model, Banks was excited about all the fun fashion she would have available to her on the reality competition series. Yet, during one of the very first episodes, there was a bit of a sartorial mishap that could’ve turned into a full-blown disaster. "I walk out and my hand is on my back and I was holding my dress together," she revealed to ET. "It was not zipped up! And I did not have on any of my jewelry." Later on in the episode, she comes out on stage with jewelry on, and surprisingly, nobody seemed to notice until she exposed this embarrassing info to ET.
However embarrassing her situation may be, Banks is all about being honest with the audience. Even during her premiere episode while hosting, one of her flashy earrings fell out. As she held up the piece of jewelry for everyone to see, she said, "I promised everybody I’m going to keep it real real." Frankly, we’d expect nothing but that from Banks.
When a clown scared guest host Leah Remini
Dancing with the Stars has a special place in actress Leah Remini’s heart. When she was eliminated from the competition during Season 17, her daughter was uncontrollably crying in the crowd. She was afraid they would never see Remini’s dance partner again, but that wasn’t going to be the case. "We’re family now," Tony Dovolani told Good Morning America, and plans quickly came in place to bring Remini back on the show. She was asked to co-host a few times, but an episode in Season 21 in Season 21 came out a bit more embarrassing than she expected.
It was around Halloween when it happened. When Remini was reporting from a nearby balcony, someone dressed as a clown came up behind her and scared her. She immediately screamed and fell to the ground, crawling around and trying to gain her composure on camera. "You know what? I’m not good with people scaring me," Remini said after she had stood back up. "I really am not." By that point, it was obvious.
The man under the mask was professional dancer Sasha Farber, who later admitted to Fox News (via Us Weekly) that he was relieved nothing more went down — except Remini falling to the ground, of course. "It was nerve-wracking because you never know what can happen on live TV," he said. "She could have punched me. That would not have gone down so good." It would have made for some memorable television, though.
When Melissa Rycroft had a bit of a wardrobe mishap
After competing on The Bachelor during Season 13, Melissa Rycroft decided it was her time to throw her hat in the Dancing with the Stars ring. As a part of Season 8, she was set up with Tony Dovolani to steal the show. Yet, during one of their dance numbers, their samba got a little spicier than they expected. After she jumped off the judges’ table for her final dance moves, she immediately clutched at her top and stayed turned away from the cameras. "My boob came out!" she exclaimed.
In her defense, those tiny dance costumes are no joke; between the minimal top she was wearing and all the jamming and jiving, it is basically a miracle that there were not multiple wardrobe mishaps. Luckily, their show-stopping moves were more than enough to overshadow the minor malfunction. After Rycroft caught her breath, she and Dovolani found out the judges awarded them a perfect score for their samba. They ended up finishing the entire season in third place.
When Derek Hough dropped his dance partner
As he recalled in a video for Dayley Life, his and Hayley Erbert’s YouTube channel, it happened the second week of his first season on the series. Even though he was green, he was still feeling confident — so confident, that he asked the band to speed up the song that he and partner Jennie Garth danced to that episode. Neither the tempo nor his aplomb could prevent a minor catastrophe. "If you do the slow mo, the replay, you see that as I slide, her dress gets caught underneath … my heel," he explained on the Dayley Life YouTube channel. It was a tough moment for them both — especially considering Hough was not yet a household name. "After that, on all the news stations — like The View and everything — [were] like ‘Who’s this kid dropping women on TV?’" he said.
Luckily, Hough moved past it and has been a part of the successful competition series ever since. In the end, falling during his first season on the show is something he’s happy happened. "I got that one out of the way real quick," he said.
When Iggy Azalea had a problem with her performance
Iggy Azalea wasn’t even competing on the show when she experienced her embarrassing moment. When she performed the hit single "Fancy" alongside Charli XCX on the Season 18 finale, there was a bit of a gaffe. As soon as the track started, Azalea seemed to have some sort of technical difficulty with her earpiece. She attempted to power through and rap along with the music, but it clearly wasn’t working. She finally stopped singing altogether. "I’m so sorry, but there’s something wrong with my ear," she said while still on stage.
Azalea eventually got herself back on track, and, luckily, the rest of the live performance went on without a hitch. Even so, that handful of seconds where she stopped rapping would not be forgotten. The moment got a lot of attention from the media, and Azalea eventually felt forced to issue a statement on Twitter. "I am so sorry guys! My in ears messed up and I couldn’t hear the track," she explained (via USA Today). "The dramas of live TV. [Stuff] happens. Still really enjoyed it." Hey, that’s all that matters, after all. Right?