ABC’s reality competition show Dancing With The Stars combines judges’ scores with fan votes to determine who the winner and mirrorball champions of each season are. This means that talent and popularity are equally important, and also means that the best celebrity dancer and their professional dance partner might not necessarily win.
Due to fan votes, a lot of the greatest dancers end up in second place. These competitors might have been just as good as the winners, but something stopped them from taking home the shiny mirrorball trophy. It’s time that Dancing With The Stars had another all-star season, and it would be great to see runners-up who nearly had it all compete again.
10 Corbin Bleu (Season 17)
High School Musical alum Corbin Bleu placed second on season 17 of Dancing With The Stars with partner Karina Smirnoff, while former Glee star Amber Riley and her partner Derek Hough became mirrorball champions.
Fans knew that Corbin could dance after seeing his work in the High School Musical movies, but they didn’t know just how talented he was until he hit the ballroom floor. As is the case with most seasons of DWTS, there was so much talent that season that it was hard to figure out who was going to take home the grand prize. Corbin deserves to be on viewers’ screens again and possibly win the trophy the next time around.
9 Katherine Jenkins (Season 14)
On Season 14 of the ABC reality show, classical singer Katherine Jenkins was the runner-up while football player Donald Driver came in first place and took home the mirrorball trophy.
Katherine and her professional dance partner, Mark Ballas, were close to being crowned champions, though a slip-up in one of their final dances sealed their fate as second-place finishers. Katherine tripped over her dress during their routine, giving them all 9’s and a lesser shot at winning. Katherine was talented and a gifted dancer and deserves to redeem herself following that wardrobe mishap.
8 Paige VanZant (Season 22)
Professional wrestler Paige VanZant and her partner Mark Ballas placed second on the 22nd season of Dancing With The Stars. Paige was narrowly beaten out by Nyle DiMarco, the show’s first deaf contestant and former star of America’s Next Top Model.
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Paige and Mark had great chemistry together, proven during their “Proud Mary” jive and their Jessie and Woody cosplay on Disney night. They truly became friends during the process and were contenders for the winning title. Now that a few years have passed, Paige deserves another chance to dance into America’s hearts and remind them of why she made it so far the first time.
7 Mel B (Season 5)
Former Spice Girl Mel B nearly won Season 5 of Dancing With The Stars but was beaten out by Indy 500 Champion Hélio Castroneves.
While Helio returned for the all-star season of the show in 2012 alongside actress Sabrina Bryan (who also competed on this season), Mel B has yet to return to the dance floor despite being one of the best to never win. Mel B should come back and dance once more in another all-star edition of the show, as she was incredible her first time around and would represent one of the earliest seasons of Dancing With The Stars.
6 Nev Schulman (Season 29)
On the most recent season of Dancing With The Stars, former bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe was crowned the mirrorball champion while Catfish star Nev Schulman and his partner Jenna Johnson got second place.
Nev and Jenna were a surprise powerhouse duo whose high scores never stopped coming. No one quite expected Nev to be as talented as he was, but week after week he proved that his heart and soul belonged on the dance floor. In a season where the competition was incredibly tight, it seems only fair that Nev gets another shot at winning.
5 Zendaya (Season 16)
Back when Zendaya was mostly a Disney Channel name she competed on Dancing With The Stars as one of the youngest contestants ever. She and partner Val Chmerkovskiy placed second to winners Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough.
Zendaya could’ve easily won the mirrorball trophy had she been a little older and wiser, which is exactly why she deserves another chance now. Plus with her ever-growing celebrity status, a reappearance by Zendaya would boost the show’s ratings, which have dropped in recent years.
4 Kel Mitchell (Season 28)
Actor and comedian Kel Mitchell nearly won Season 28 with his partner Witney Carson. The pair placed second while former star of The Bachelorette Hannah Brown and her partner Alan Bersten were crowned mirrorball champions.
Kel was the most improved on his season. Having no prior dance training and truly learning as he went each week, his scores continued to increase as the weeks went by. He was emotive in his movement and fun to watch on the dance floor. Fans were surprised when he snuck his way into the final two, and then disappointed when he didn’t emerge victorious — meaning he absolutely needs another shot at the trophy.
3 Lindsey Stirling (Season 25)
Musician Lindsey Stirling placed second with her stellar professional dance partner Mark Ballas on Season 25 of the dancing reality series. Disney star Jordan Fisher and his partner Lindsay Arnold went home mirrorball champions in a season with several contenders for the first place trophy.
Lindsey and Mark were friends before ever being paired up on the show, which helped them communicate in an effective way. Mark knew exactly how to tell Lindsey’s story and incorporate her love and passion for music in their routines. Her freestyle where she plays violin in the middle of the dance is one of the greatest of all time and proves she should dance in the ballroom again.
2 Milo Manheim (Season 27)
Disney Channel star Milo Manheim was the first runner-up on Season 27, being beaten out by radio show host Bobby Bones in one of the most shocking finales of any Dancing With The Stars season.
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Milo and his partner Witney Carson developed a strong friendship over the course of the season, translating their chemistry on and off the ballroom floor. Even for being so young, Milo was a great learner, adapter, and competitor. He was willing to try anything Witney threw at him, whether it be zombie eyes or dancing on water.
1 James Hinchcliffe (Season 23)
IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe placed second on the 23rd season of Dancing With The Stars, losing out to Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez.
James was a fan favorite and he and partner Sharna Burgess are among the best duos to never win. Week after week, audience members were rooting for him due to his charismatic personality and vulnerability in sharing his near-death experience story. He allowed his partner to craft his near-fatal tragedy into a work of art through dance, allowing himself to heal in the process. James didn’t win but deserves another go on an all-star season just so viewers can watch him dance again.
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