The Most Controversial Outfits Ever Worn On DWTS

"Dancing With the Stars" — more commonly referred to online as "DWTS" — began in 2005, and has since become a "staple" for the ABC network (per Parade). While long-time host Tom Bergeron was fired in 2020, along with his decade-long co-host Erin Andrews, the show, according to Tom Bergeron himself, continues to showcase "very, very talented people," and he encourages us all to still tune in to watch (via TVLine).

"DWTS" has been known for being entertaining, fun, and even inspirational, considering its reputation for being inclusive to people from all different backgrounds, including people with physical disabilities and those from the LGBTQ community. An example of this was in Season 30, when JoJo Siwa became the first "DWTS" contestant to dance with a same-sex partner to, in her own words, tell the world, "You're going to love who you want to love, but also you can dance with who you want to dance with" (per People).

After 16 years (and counting) on the air and a myriad of celebrity contestants, controversy and ill-accepted style choices have been inevitable. Between fashion faux pas to outfits that were borderline offensive to outfits that just left us thinking, "Whaaat?", here are the most controversial outfits worn on "DWTS."

Tyra Banks' outfit was reminiscent of a giant fan

In 2021, Tyra Banks was accused of "making the show all about her" with this obnoxious (but, honestly, awesome) outfit (per The U.S. Sun). Fans of the show were vicious with their feedback, delivering remarks such as: "Wow why does Tyra's stylist hate her?"; "I'm sorry, but my first thought when I saw Tyra in this dress was, 'why is she dressed like a period blood clot?'"; and "Oh Lord! That fan dress that Tyra has on is not only ugly, but tacky as well. The best part of it was the color."

Although the supermodel was publicly bashed all over the internet — there were even memes comparing her to the dinosaurs in the 1994 film "Jurassic Park" — Banks fired back on "The Late Late Show with James Corden" by saying, "I don't have time to be normal in a pretty dress because nobody is going to say anything about a pretty dress. You've got to push it and go for it" (via Us Weekly). She concluded, "Different [is better]." While the internet may not agree, we certainly do! Clap back, girl!

Carole Baskin's tiger-themed apparel was a lot

On the 29th season of "DWTS" in 2020, Carole Baskin (yes, that Carole Baskin) wore mostly cat-themed outfits, despite her questionable past. Considering the controversy surrounding Carole Baskin and whether she allegedly killed her husband and fed him to tigers, her insistence on a "tiger theme" for her debut night (even dancing to the song "Eye of the Tiger" — yeah, seriously) may have been a mistake. It could be seen in a couple of ways. Either it's a bold move that says she has a sense of humor regarding the accusations of her past or ... maybe it's just inappropriate to insist on continuing to bring up the controversy.

Either way, fans of "DWTS" that saw the Instagram post did not seem to care for the look, with comments such as, "It would be better and more accurate if she was in an inmate costume where she belongs," with another commenting that it was the "worst outfit [they've] seen on 'DWTS'" (via Inquisitr). While Baskin's outfit choices were undeniably questionable, fellow animal activists can rest easy knowing that Baskin made sure that the "DWTS" costume designers knew that "no fur, no feathers, no leather, and anything else [like that]" was to be used in making her costume (via People).

Sean Spicer's Sheriff Woody costume angered some

Sean Spicer was already a controversial pick for a "DWTS" contestant due to his status as the former press secretary for the White House under the Trump administration, but this particular look got some snide remarks from critics, on top of his less than well-received appearance on the show. When Spicer dressed up like Sheriff Woody from Pixar's "Toy Story" on Disney Theme Night in 2019, Vanity Fair criticized ABC for allowing Spicer to "tarnish even Sheriff Woody's good name."

Vanity Fair wasn't the only one less than pleased with Spicer, as was evident when host Tom Bergeron, along with several other ABC employees, publicly called out ABC for even casting Spicer at all. While others called out Spicer's less than ideal reputation, Bergeron commented that he was against this decision merely because he had shared with the network that he wanted the show to be "free of inevitably divisive bookings from ANY party affiliations" (via TVLine).

Erin Andrews' sparkly green pants were more casual than her usual outfits

For the sixth week of Season 28 in 2019, "DWTS" co-host Erin Andrews wore sparkly green dress pants that were reminiscent of a mermaid walking onshore. Even though Andrews normally dressed in ballgowns on show nights, most fans seemed to enjoy the more casual look. However, Twitter still saw some backlash (of course) with one Twitter user commenting that the look was "the most hideous baby s#it green metal flake pants [they had] ever seen" (per Inquisitr). Ouch! However, Andrews didn't let it phase her and responded kindly with, "I hope your children are NEVER subjected to such disgusting remarks. Thank goodness my parents taught me to how to be kind and spread love!"

Considering that Andrews was noted for wearing ball gowns up to this point, we can see how this could be seen as "dressing down," but the simple look could also be seen as taking some of the focus off herself to focus on the contestants, while still being fun and quirky. And, for that, we can appreciate some sparkly pants.

Vanessa Lachey should have worn a more durable skirt

In 2017, contestant Vanessa Lachey strait up danced right out of her skirt during her performance dancing to "Let's Be Bad." The bright side? She had a fantastic sense of humor about it, commenting that she "[lost her] skirt right in front of the judges. It looks like bribery." She then joked that if it "got [her] extra points, [she'd] take them" (per Us Weekly). After Lachey literally (and quite gracefully, we might add) danced out of her skirt, Tom Bergeron was spotted running out on the dance floor to pick it up (what a team player).

While perhaps Lachey should have made sure her skirt was more secure, luckily for her, the mishap may have worked in her favor. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba commented, "Something happened and you just let yourself go and it was such a fantastic performance!" She added that Lachey was "the epitome of class and grace" despite her wardrobe malfunction. Perhaps sometimes dancing through mishaps says more than not having any mishaps happen at all. For this dance, it seems like that was the case.

Remember when Geraldo Rivera dressed up as Donald Trump?

In the midst of the Trump campaign of 2016, Geraldo Rivera decided it would be fun to dress up as his friend Donald Trump during his salsa dance on Season 22 of "DWTS." While we can acknowledge that skits like this can be all in good fun, this was the routine that got Rivera and his partner, Edyta Sliwinska, booted from the show (per E! News) so it may not have been the best way to send good luck to his "friend's" campaign.

Not only did this skit have the potential to be offensive to Trump, but Trump's ex-wife was also a contestant on the show at the same time (and Geraldo's partner, Edyta Sliwinska, was dressed up like Trump's current wife, Melania Trump). Rivera reportedly thought that Trump would "get a kick out of [the routine]" and maybe he did — but there is still something to be said about keeping politics out of dance. We're sure Tom Bergeron would agree.

Bethany Mota's I Love Lucy look was a little too sexy

In 2014, Bethany Mota and her partner, Derek Racey, did a tribute to the 1950s show "I Love Lucy" on Dynamic Duos night. Although the idea was cute, and the dance was spot-on, Bethany's look wasn't as well-received as she would have hoped.

In fact, CBS News commented in the recap that "Bethany's super sexy, low-cut midriff seemed a little much" because "they certainly wouldn't have let that air back in the 1950s" when "I Love Lucy" was on the air. While we can all sympathize with how hot and sweaty it must get dancing under those spotlights, this critic had a point. Lucille Ball certainly wouldn't have been on camera so "scantily clad" as that wasn't the norm in the '50s. The CBS News recap even went so far as to comment that Bethany's outfit "almost looked like an adult-film parody of the classic sitcom." Ouch.

James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd's outfits were scandalous

During "Latin Week" in 2014, Peta Murgatroyd and partner James Maslow did a samba dance number that ended up with them ... in significantly less clothing. During the routine, Murgatroyd took her clothes off to reveal cherry red lingerie that Victoria herself would sell her secrets for, and Maslow ended up completely topless. The routine was dubbed "one of the raunchiest performances imaginable for prime time television" by the Daily Mail, and received a ton of shock and awe from the judges and audience members alike.

Co-host Erin Andrews was caught in a picture looking completely shocked by the outfits, and judge Len Goodman joked that he thought it was "Take Your Shirt Off Week, not Latin Week." Maslow joked that this was always his "key tactic," commenting that "they were just going to take off [their] clothes," and jokingly adding, "Gotta love good family fun."

Wynonna Judd and Tony Dovolani didn't quite hit the prom night theme

On Season 16 in 2013, Wynonna Judd and Tony Dovolani may have gone just a bit too far for the Prom Night theme on "Dancing With the Stars." Not only did they not dress in traditional prom attire, but they incorporated moves akin to stripping for the "prom night" theme. We may not have all gone to our high school prom, but we're pretty sure there weren't any stripper poles there (unless you went to a very progressive high school).

We can all acknowledge that Wynonna and Tony's '80s hair and song choice — "Pour Some Sugar on Me" by Def Leppard — totally worked, and she definitely succeeded in her goal to "release her inner tigress" (per Digital Spy). However, we can also acknowledge that the stripper pole may have been a bit "too daring" and that Wynonna's outfit left something to be desired for a traditional "Prom Night," as did her dancing. In fact, "DWTS" judge Len Goodman compared Judd to Mount Rushmore because she was so "stiff" when she danced her samba.

Nancy Grace may have flashed a couple of people

While Nancy Grace herself denied it, many think that one of Grace's boobs nearly popped out of her dress during a dance number in 2011 — perhaps indicating that she should have worn something with more ... support? Coverage? Probably both for this specific dance number.

Judges, fans, and host Tom Bergeron all seemed to think that Grace's breasts popped out of her dress a bit during her jive with partner Tristan MacManus. However, Grace herself denied it, claiming that she had taken "every precaution known to man in [her dress]" going onto elaborate that she had taken "industrial strength precautions." She said that there may have been "a little ... jiggling," but she maintained that the situation did "not rise to a wardrobe malfunction" (per Entertainment Weekly).

Per The Hollywood Reporter, judge Bruno Toniolo commented that he loved her dancing, but that it was "top-heavy" and that he "got an eyeful! I couldn't miss that." Tom Bergeron made light of the event by saying, "On the European version, that would be perfectly fine."

When Michael Bolton dressed like a dog

In 2010, Michael Bolton and his partner, Chelsie Hightower, danced the jive. Hightower sported a very cute white knee-length dress with black polka dots and Bolton wore all black with a dog-patterned sports jacket. The routine began with Bolton on all fours in an oversized doghouse and Hightower teasing him with a toy bone. The odd theme to this routine led Us Weekly to comment that "Michael Bolton [was] in the dog house — literally."

While we can get behind the idea of this theme, considering their song was "Hound Dog" (cute), there is also an argument to be made for it being, perhaps, a tad dehumanizing considering that this is a dance show, not a comedy show. Plus, it only added fodder to the judges' critiques of their jive. Judge Bruno Tonioli commented that "[Bolton] should take the bone and go back into the dog house," because "[it was] the worst jive in 11 seasons." And judge Len Goodman commented that the world "wasn't ready" for their jive and that it "probably needed a pooper scooper at the end."

Marie Osmond wore a creepy doll costume

In 2007, Marie Osmond dressed up as a life-sized wind-up doll and danced to the song "Start Me Up" by The Rolling Stones. While the idea sounds cute in theory, it seems like most people (including the judges) found the doll theme and overall look just creepy, with one judge comparing her look to a mix of "Baby Jane and the bride of Chucky." On top of that, Osmond and her partner, Jonathan Roberts, received the lowest score of the night (per Us Weekly).

Osmond explained her odd choice of costume by saying, "I could've come out [in] something slinky and sexy, but it's a family show." She noted that her outfit was a "tribute to her career as a doll-maker and her doll-collecting fans." It's safe to say she at least lost the vote with any audience members who may suffer from pediophobia (fear of dolls).

Monique Coleman should have considered a belt

In 2006, former "High School Musical" star Monique Coleman nearly lost her skirt while dancing the jive on "DWTS." During the enthusiastic dance, Coleman's skirt came down and temporarily displayed the top of her butt cheeks when her shoe tugged on the bottom of it. Coleman very quickly pulled the skirt back up, making it nearly unnoticeable. All her practice dancing on "High School Musical" certainly paid off in this instance!

After the performance, when host Tom Bergeron commented that "[he knew] that jump [into her partner's arms that started her performance] scared the 'everything' out of [her]," Coleman joked, "It scared my clothes off, apparently" (per The New York Post). Luckily, Coleman and her partner, Louis Van Amstel, were such great dancers that this wardrobe malfunction didn't affect their scores in the slightest, with them receiving full nines across the board, with 10 being the highest score.

Kelly Monaco's wardrobe malfunction

In Season 1 of "DWTS," Kelly Monaco's top almost came off when her strap tore towards the beginning of the routine, resulting in her awkwardly grabbing her breasts throughout the rest of her dance to keep her top on. While she totally pulled it off and danced flawlessly, she probably should have worn something that fit more securely for such an enthusiastic dance. 

However, judge Carrie Ann Inaba called this performance a "turning point" for Monaco (via Yahoo! Entertainment). Inaba commented that Monaco seemed to go into a "warrior princess mode" during the performance, adding that "every move was stronger and harder, it was, like, making up for the fact that her wardrobe slipped and she wasn't insecure and that's what was so great."

While Monaco did ultimately win Season 1 of "DWTS", after this performance Tom Bergeron commented that "[Monaco] should have won on that alone" based on how impressed he was that she kept going even though she had to hold her clothes on as she did it.