Though it was one of Dancing‘s most-watched years, Season 12 of the series used the term “star” very liberally. With a cast that included talk show host Wendy Williams, radio personality Mike Catherwood and pin-up Kendra Wilkinson, this season easily could have been renamed Dancing With the Famous-ish People That You Kinda-Sorta Recognize From Somewhere.
19. Season 2 (winter 2006)
While the series was still finding its footing, it didn’t exactly cast the big-name celebs that it does now. The batch of contestants in Season 2 was so obscure — Giselle Fernandez? P. Miller? Kenny Mayne? — that Stacy Keibler, Jerry Rice and Drew Lachey were basically shoe-ins for the Final 3.
18. Season 7 (Fall 2008)
We’re sorry, but any season that includes Kim Kardashian just can’t rank any higher than this.
17. Season 13 (Fall 2011)
Ditto Rob Kardashian, runner-up or not.
16. Season 5 (Fall 2007)
Albert Reed, Sabrina Bryan, Josie Maran — our first reaction to the Season 5 roster is: “Who?“
15. Season 14 (Spring 2012)
With the exception of a few standouts — all of whom, appropriately, landed in the Final 3 — the Season 14 roster was mostly filled with what-are-they-doing-here stars (Gladys Knight, Jaleel White, Jack Wagner) who performed adequately at the very best.
14. Season 4 (Spring 2007)
Even though every season of Dancing With the Stars is, in some form, a throwback to the ’80s and ’90s, Season 4 in particular was a major blast from the past, with contestants including Billy Ray Cyrus, John Ratzenberger and Leeza Gibbons.
13. Season 6 (Spring 2008)
To this day, it’s a mystery what Penn Jillette was doing on this show. (And Teller won’t tell us!)
12. Season 20 (Spring 2015)
It’s too early to tell where Dancing‘s current season should really fall on this list. On one hand, the cast is mostly comprised of recognizable names (Nastia Liukin, Chris Soules, Redfoo). But the March 16 season premiere offered up a series of half-hearted routines that didn’t exactly get us excited for the episodes to come.
11. Season 9 (Fall 2009)
Boasting one of the largest casts in Dancing history, Season 9 could have been jam-packed with a number of actual stars. Instead, we got U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and a lot of models.
10. Season 11 (Fall 2010)
It’s no surprise that Dirty Dancing star Jennifer Grey took home the Mirrorball trophy this year. Even though she technically fell into Dancing‘s “women of a certain age” category — which, at some point, needs to come to an end — she was also up against the likes of David Hasselhoff, Michael Bolton and Jersey Shore‘s The Situation. Not very stiff competition… unless you’re talking about their lack of flexibility on the dance floor. (Thanks, we’ll be here all week!)
9. Season 1 (Summer 2005)
In its humble beginnings, Dancing started with only six couples — but soap opera star (and eventual champ) Kelly Monaco proved herself to be among the series’ all-time best competitors, returning in Season 15 to defend (but ultimately lose) her crown in the All-Stars go-round.
8. Season 16 (Spring 2013)
Though Season 16’s cast may not have been the most abundant with talent, it at least featured a solid crop of celebrities that are considered famous in the present day — among them Idol alum Kellie Pickler, teen queen Zendaya and Real Housewife Lisa Vanderpump.
7. Season 10 (Spring 2010)
Yes, Season 10 featured young stars like eventual winner/onetime Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, Olympic skater Evan Lysacek and ESPN darling-turned-DWTS host Erin Andrews. On the other hand… you had legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin, which didn’t make any sense at all.
6. Season 8 (Spring 2009)
If you’re searching for a seriously stacked Dancing competition, look no further than Season 8, which featured three contestants — Shawn Johnson, Gilles Marini and Melissa Rycroft — who each went on to compete in the All-Stars season a few years later.
5. Season 3 (Fall 2006)
This was the season that introduced us to an entirely new demographic of dancers: Former ’90s TV Stars Who Aren’t Afraid to Shake Their Booty. Though former NFL player Emmitt Smith was the ultimate champ this year, contestants like Blossom‘s Joey Lawrence and Saved by the Bell‘s Mario Lopez made the season completely fun to watch.
4. Season 18 (Spring 2014)
Olympic ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White? Former Real Housewife NeNe Leakes? One of the dudes from Big Time Rush? Season 18 of Dancing had a surprisingly current (for the time) cast… even if it was essentially cheating to have two ice dancers in the competition.
3. Season 19 (Fall 2014)
Despite the nostalgia rippling through Season 19 — with Fresh Prince‘s Alfonso Ribeiro, Mean Girls‘ Jonathan Bennett and one-half of Cheech and Chong in the mix — it also boasted 16 perfect scores from the judges, a record for the series to date.
2. Season 17 (Fall 2013)
There’s a lot to be said for celebrities who, despite obvious shortcomings on the dance floor, are 100 percent committed to trying. Such was the case with low-scoring hoofers like Bill Nye and Valerie Harper. Heck, even Snooki, who didn’t need to be on another reality show, appeared on DWTS nonetheless. Plus, with Glee star Amber Riley and High School Musical alum Corbin Bleu in the mix, the Season 17 champ was destined to be someone with legitimate dancing experience under his or her belt.
1. Season 15: All-Stars (Fall 2012)
OK, we realize this is a bit of a cop-out. But Dancing‘s All-Star season not only featured an impressive roster of legitimately big names (Gilles Marini, Kelly Monaco, Shawn Johnson), but the talent was unparalleled — and it gave Melissa Rycroft, who placed third in Season 8, a chance at redemption.