Inappropriate Outfits Worn On Dancing With The Stars

"Dancing With the Stars" fans don't just tune in to see whether their favorite celebrities have moves like Jagger or convulsive kicks like Elaine Benes. The reality competition also serves up more glitz and glamour than a Bob Mackie runway show, and because rips and slips are a hazard of the job, there's a slight element of danger involved.

All the feathers, fringe, frills, and fine fabrics that the "Dancing With the Stars" costume designers use to bring some extra razzle-dazzle to the ballroom are rather costly. According to Parade, the elaborate outfits that the celebs and their pro partners prance around in "can cost up to $5,000 apiece." Time is also valuable, as the wardrobe department only has five days to create all of the dancers' costumes (via TV Insider). The rush makes affixing all those tiny rhinestones to slinky gowns and puffy shirts a process that can come down to the wire. "There have been times when I've advised the dancer/celebrity NOT to sit back on the sofa in the interview room, because the wet rhinestone glue could STICK to the sofa!" the show's late costume designer Randall Christensen told Threads Magazine in 2009. "It's quite exciting, to say the least!"

The designs usually shine underneath the ballroom's bright lights, but sometimes they miss the mark — and no amount of sparkly sequins can save them. Keep scrolling to check out some of the most inappropriate outfits ever worn on "Dancing With the Stars."

Sean Spicer dressed as Woody from Toy Story

For "Dancing With the Stars" viewers who were not Donald Trump supporters, it was jarring to see Sean Spicer salsa dancing to the Spice Girls in a neon green ruffled shirt during the Season 28 premiere in 2019. Ex-host Tom Bergeron even made a rare move by speaking out against the decision to cast the former White House press secretary. In a statement shared on Twitter, he revealed that he'd wanted the show to "be a joyful respite from our exhausting political climate and free of inevitably divisive bookings from ANY party affiliations."

Spicer's claims to fame include blatantly lying about everything from Trump's inauguration crowd size to James Comey's firing — The Nation went so far as to describe him as the "president's paid perjurer." He also had to apologize for saying that Hitler "didn't even sink to using chemical weapons" (via CNN). But the show's producers allowed him to dress up as Woody from the "Toy Story" movies, a beloved character who teaches kids valuable life lessons. Woody is voiced by Tom Hanks, and the actor's son Colin had some thoughts about the costume choice. "Well, it's fitting cause both Woody and Sean Spicer rose to fame as puppets. Well, marionettes but you get the idea," he tweeted. The Washington Post gave Spicer four Pinocchios for his crowd size fib, so perhaps a more appropriate Disney character choice would have been the wooden boy who can't hide his lies.

Tyra Banks' Jurassic Park dress

Some "Dancing With the Stars" viewers don't appreciate the way host Tyra Banks treats the ballroom like her personal runway. "They would have more time for the dancers and judges if Tyra didn't have to change outfits so often," read one tweet about her wardrobe. The "America's Next Top Model" creator rocks designer frocks that can be so flamboyant that they take attention away from the competitors, but a certain faction of fans seems to love snarking on the glamazon's style choices. Examples include the angular black number that looked like "a broken umbrella" to at least one Twitter user and the massive pile of powder blue tulle that reminded some fans of a loofah.

But the "Life-Size" star really outdid herself with the wine-red gown that she wore during an October 2021 episode. It had a stiff collar that resembled two huge fans, and it left us wishing that "Dancing With the Stars" would do a "Jurassic Park" theme night – Tyra's gown looked like the dyed skin of the Dilophosaurus that seasoned villain Dennis Nedry with black venom before dining on him. The dress even earned her a "Who wore it best?" tweet from the official "Jurassic World" Twitter account. Her wardrobe team knew the dino comparisons were coming but didn't bother to warn her. "My stylist was like, 'Yeah we did know that you looked like a lizard before the socials started,'" Tyra said on "The Late Late Show with James Corden."

Mark Ballas' creepy rabbit costume

For Disney night in April 2015, Mark Ballas dressed up as the White Rabbit from "Alice in Wonderland." Unfortunately, his creepy bunny mask missed the mark. He looked more like Frank the nightmare rabbit from "Donnie Darko" than the cute animated critter who has a problem with punctuality. "Mark Ballas in full rabbit makeup is TERRIFYING," read one Twitter review.

Mark's ostentatious ensemble made it difficult to focus on his partner, "The Hunger Games" actor Willow Shields. Her outfit was based on Alice's classic look: a blue dress and white pinafore. To make Mark's costume concept even weirder, his ears were thrust through the brim of a top hat — so was Alice supposed to be in some alternate Wonderland where the White Rabbit and the Mad Hatter were one and the same?

"You took me down the rabbit hole for sure. Are we still at Coachella?" said Julianne Hough after watching Mark and Willow's foxtrot (via Channel Guide Magazine). Tom Bergeron also couldn't resist making a bunny-themed joke about the odd outfit. "No, that's not Hugh Hefner's nightmare, it's just Disney night," he quipped, per Yahoo! News. The fright factor didn't get the partners sent back through the looking glass the following week, but they were eliminated during Week 7 after receiving some of the highest scores of the night (via ABC).

Val Chmerkovskiy's Speedo

Val Chmerkovskiy ensured all eyes were on him at the end of the "surfer flamenco" he performed with soap opera star Kelly Monaco during Season 15 of "Dancing With the Stars" in 2012. It was an all-star edition, and as the Season 1 champ, Kelly had almost as much experience performing on the show as her professional partner. Val was still the new kid in the ballroom after joining the cast during Season 13, but he made a big splash by whipping off his pants to dance in a shallow vat of water. Kelly told Access Hollywood that it was actually her idea for her partner to strip down to nothing but a tiny black Speedo. 

Bruno Tonioli seems to enjoy gimmicky performances more than some of the other judges, but he suggested that Val's Speedo stunt was a bit too distracting. "Kelly, I think you've been upstaged by the Speedos," he said. "Never work with Speedos or animals!" Val also cracked a joke about his little schtick. "I just want everyone to know that it's cold in here!" he quipped (via Us Weekly). According to Today, he made another eyebrow-raising comment while speaking to the press about the wet and wild performance. It was in response to fellow pro Karina Smirnoff joking about him potentially wearing some "add ons" underneath his bathing suit. "Karina has seen everything," he said. "She knows I don't need any enhancements."

Kendra Wilkinson's patriotic dress

In 2011, Kendra Wilkinson brought some fireworks to the "DWTS" ballroom during a patriotic performance with her partner Louis Van Amstel. "The Girls Next Door" star gave the classic musical number "The Yankee Doodle Boy" a major makeover by rocking a tight dress decorated with the stars and stripes. She really did look like she was "Born on the Fourth of July," but we're guessing that some folks with "star-spangled eyes" took issue with the stripes being hiked up to show off the Playboy model's white thigh-highs.

Kendra's American flag outfit technically violated the Flag Code, which reads, "No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform." However, no one was going to show up and cuff Kendra or everyone in the wardrobe department for disrespecting the symbol of national pride. "You're not going to get arrested for being in violation of the flag code. There's no flag police," historian Marc Leepson told Racked.

While Kendra has rocked plenty of revealing outfits and even posed for the cover of Playboy numerous times, there was something about being wrapped in the red, white, and blue that gave her a big confidence boost. "That was definitely the sexiest outfit so far. I felt so hot in it," she told Today. "You know that expression, you are what you eat? Well, I've learned you are what you wear, too." But voters didn't pledge allegiance to Kendra — she was eliminated during Week 6.

Kym Johnson's sexy Mary Poppins costume

When we think of giving beloved children's characters sexy makeovers, what immediately comes to mind are the cheap polyester costumes that fill the racks at pop-up shops ahead of Halloween. However, when pro dancer Kym Johnson decided that Mary Poppins needed an eyeful of cleavage to help the medicine go down, it was for Disney Night on "Dancing With the Stars" in 2015. The best way to describe her red dress with a plunging neckline using one word would be "Super‐cali‐fragil‐istic‐expi‐ali‐docious."

Time wrote that Kym's costume made it look like the magical singing nanny had suffered "a fall in fortune" and was working "in a house of ill repute." Ouch. According to Parade, the judges criticized her partner Robert Herjavec's footwork during their quickstep, so perhaps the "Shark Tank" star found her dress a bit distracting.

At least that tacked-on white collar added a touch of sophistication to the questionable costume, and while Kym didn't get to fly away with a magic umbrella and a mirrorball trophy, she did take home a pretty sweet consolation prize: She and Robert fell in love on the show and got married in 2016. In 2018, they welcomed their adorable twins, the perfect subjects to test out Poppins' "Stay Awake" reverse psychology on.

Bristol Palin's gorilla costume

Before Bristol Palin danced to the theme song from "The Monkees" in a gorilla suit in 2010, the opinion of many "Dancing With the Stars" viewers was that she didn't belong on the show because she consistently received lower scores than the other contestants. She was also famous for getting pregnant as a teenager and being Sarah Palin's daughter. But after she wore the gorilla suit — complete with a hot pink tutu and matching hair bow — her critics had something else to talk about.

It probably wasn't easy for Bristol to move with her legs wrapped in thick fur, not unlike the bearskin rug that could be found on the floor of her "mama grizzly's" Alaskan abode. Luckily, she didn't have to wear the bulky costume for long. After beating her chest like an aggressive silverback, she shed her skin to reveal a cute pink dress. Of course, all we remember now is the gorilla suit.

Perhaps an elephant — the symbol of her mom's political party — would have been a better choice. They never forget, and Bristol plummeted to the bottom of the leaderboard after failing to remember some of her choreography. When she improved her footwork the following week, it gave judge Len Goodman the opportunity to use a line he'd probably been sitting on for days. "Last week a chimp — almost a champ!" he said, per The Washington Post. And Bristol did proceed to make it all the way to the finals.

Charlotte McKinney's feathered blue lingerie

When Charlotte McKinney joined Season 20 of "Dancing With the Stars" in 2015, the model was most famous for looking like she was wearing nothing at all in a sexy Super Bowl ad for the Carl's Jr. burger chain. Her premiere costume wasn't any more revealing than some of the two-piece outfits that other celebs and pros have worn on the show, but her bra-style top didn't exactly help her make her case when she set out to prove that "there's more to me than just boobs." She made this declaration on "Dancing With the Stars" before appearing to go topless in a video package that showed her covering her chest with strategically placed lights, flowers, and melons.

Charlotte later told FOX411 that the producers were to blame for placing so much emphasis on her assets and having her wear a "crazy" outfit for her first dance. "I think as we go we'll tone it down and show different styles for sure," she said. However, she only got two more weeks to work with the wardrobe department before getting the boot. While she was wearing a skimpy blush number, judge Bruno Tonioli said something way out of line, per Extra: "You're never going to win the Nobel Prize for quantum physics, but you are easy on the eyes and you produce wonderful shapes." Sigh. At least the producers never asked Charlotte to bite into a juicy burger — grease and high heels seem like a dangerous combination.

Geraldo Rivera's Donald Trump costume

Injecting politics into "Dancing With the Stars" will always be controversial due to America's partisan divide, but Geraldo Rivera and the show's producers seemingly couldn't resist trolling Donald Trump's critics in March 2016. For his second dance, the Fox News host dressed up like the presidential hopeful who was all over television — and Twitter — at the time. Geraldo rocked an orange-tinged fake tan, blond wig, red tie, and tear-away suit. Underneath it, he had on a floral-print top that probably had too much vegetation on it for the carnivorous presidential candidate's liking. Geraldo promised to "make dance great again" and reassured Donald Trump's supporters that his parody was all in fun by describing the future POTUS as "a friend" (via The Wrap.) His partner Edyta Sliwinska rocked a fur coat to dress up like future first lady Melania Trump, which felt weird since one of their competitors was Donald Trump's ex-wife Marla Maples.

Geraldo joked that he "would have demanded a recount" if he didn't get voted off "DWTS," which happened the same night that the former "Celebrity Apprentice" star parodied his pal. He couldn't have predicted that he would later find himself accusing Donald Trump of acting "like an entitled frat boy" for refusing to accept the results of the 2020 election. Geraldo also tweeted that losing the election made Donald Trump "crazy," backed his impeachment, and called for the ex-president to apologize for his role in the U.S. Capitol insurrection.

Nancy Grace's errant neckline

Nancy Grace wore a long, brown gown that looked harmless at first glance to perform a quickstep during her 2011 stint on "Dancing With the Stars." The legal analyst might be adept at breaking down evidence in high-profile criminal cases, but like the wrongdoers she blasts on TV, she failed to prepare for everything that could go awry before trying to abscond with the mirrorball trophy. The neckline of her dress was low and presumably not lined with enough double-sided tape. This resulted in Nancy suffering a possible nip slip after getting dipped back by her partner Tristan MacManus. The "DWTS" cameras cut away from the couple afterward, which was a sure sign that Nancy had been the victim of a wardrobe malfunction. While a shot of the show's live audience was being shown, host Tom Bergeron could be heard saying, "There you go. Just help you out a little bit." He also joked, "On the European version that would be perfectly fine."

Nancy often scoffs at suspects' denials when the evidence is stacked against them, but she maintained that nothing slipped out of her dress. "There may have been, as Tristan said, a little bit of jiggling, but there was absolutely not a wardrobe malfunction," she told Us Weekly. She used herself as a reliable source when issuing another denial to TMZ. "Nothing happened. I deny, deny, deny," she said. Nancy also suggested that what people were seeing in photos online was actually a nipple cover.

Marie Osmond's doll costume

Marie Osmond is a natural treasure who almost always looks gorgeous. However, when she got all dolled up for her Season 5 finale performance by dressing like an actual doll, the results weren't exactly flattering. She rocked pigtails, a pink ruffled dress, and bloomers that made her look like a "Toddlers & Tiaras" pageant mom who'd taken living vicariously through her daughter a step too far. Her song choice was also an awkward pairing with her childlike costume: "Start Me Up" by the Rolling Stones, which includes the lyric, "You make a grown man cry."

"This is the loopiest thing I have ever seen," said Bruno Tonioli. "It defies criticism. It's like Baby Jane and the Bride of Chucky." Marie fought back by reminding the befuddled judges that she's a "doll designer," but her outfit probably wasn't the best way to promote her wares with their unblinking, haunting stares. During an interview with OK! Magazine, Maks Chmerkovskiy suggested that her performance was simply meant to be "a big doll company promotion."

The entertainer had another memorable moment earlier in the season when she passed out on live TV. Because she's so kooky, many people in the ballroom assumed that she was just messing around. "Marie has so much fun all the time that I didn't know if she was pretending to fall down," her partner Jonathan Roberts told TV Guide. Luckily, she managed to stay on her feet for the rest of her "DWTS" run.

Julianne Hough's mostly nude catsuit

When Julianne Hough returned to the show to be a full-time judge in 2014, she performed a dance number with the male pros. She wore a nude bodysuit embellished with red sequins that made it look like two octopi with sparkly tentacles were keeping her chest covered up. Another set of red squiggles formed the shape of a pair of low-rise underwear and brought to mind Flamin' Hot Cheetos. She was also wearing a skirt early in the performance, but Val Chmerkovskiy ripped it off. Later on, he made a mistake during a lift that could have been disastrous. "I was very nervous all the time. The trick didn't go as planned, but at least I didn't drop her," he told Glamour.

Numerous fans complained that Julianne's outfit was too revealing, with one Twitter user deeming it "distasteful" and another suggesting that Julianne needed to "put some clothes on." "I'm pretty sure I just saw Julianne's Hough," quipped one viewer. Some fans were more bothered by the fact that she was rocking a sexy outfit while dancing with her brother Derek Hough. "Anyone else get grossed out when Julianne and Derek dance together like that?!" read one tweet. "Yes that was awkward especially since she was basically naked," commented another person. But at least Julianne's outfit wasn't as controversial as her 2013 Halloween costume — remember when she wore blackface to dress up as Crazy Eyes from "Orange Is the New Black?"

Wanya Morris' skinned lion ensemble

If Simba saw the costume that Boyz II Men member Wanya Morris wore for his samba on Disney Night in 2016, we imagine that "The Lion King" protagonist would be more traumatized than he was when he witnessed his father's death — it looked like the singer had skinned Mufasa and sewn strips of his fur onto his brown shirt and pants. We were blissfully unaware of Carole Baskin's existence back then, but if she'd been competing at the time, we have a feeling that she would have given Wanya the stink eye for looking more like a big cat killer than the king of the jungle.

"Wanya looks more like a squirrel than a lion but I'm gonna let it slide cause THAT WAS SO MUCH FUN," read one tweet about his furry outfit. If he threw a fancy jacket on over it, he could have been the Beast to his competitor Ginger Zee's Beauty. But while his costume looked a bit off, it didn't hold him back when it came time for the judges to critique his performance. Bruno Tonioli called Wanya "a top predator," and he and his partner Lindsay Arnold waltzed away with a score of 35 out of 40 (via People). They made it to the semi-finals and finished the season in fourth place.

Sharna Burgess' semi-sheer black outfit

In 2016, Sharna Burgess probably felt like her face was as red as her hair after she and her pro partner, NFL star Antonio Brown, finished dancing a tango to the Rolling Stones song "Paint It Black." At first glance, her outfit looked fairly innocuous. It consisted of a semi-sheer black bodysuit with a bustier bodice and a gauzy skirt embellished with floral embroidery. See-through fabric covered her arms and décolletage. Unfortunately, the top half of her ensemble slid down while she was dancing, causing her to suffer a nip slip. Tom Bergeron alerted her to the wardrobe malfunction and told her to pull the garment up "just a touch, just for the family." 

The experience taught Sharna a valuable lesson about the proper precautions that must be taken to keep her "DWTS" apparel from becoming inappropriate for prime-time TV. During an Entertainment Tonight interview, she revealed that "industrial-strength double-sided tape" has become one of her wardrobe staples. "It takes the tan off when you take the costume off," she said of its awesome adhesive power. Because of her wardrobe malfunction, her outfits are now completely lined with the tape, and she gets "triple checked" before every show to make sure that everything stays in place. "I cannot believe that happened," she said of the embarrassing incident. "You never think it's going to happen to you — until it does."