Photo Credit: ABC
Not only is tonight the start of Week 7 on Dancing with the Stars, but it's also the show's 200th episode. Why should we care? Because in terms of popularity, DWTS is hitting this milestone while at the top of its game. Eleven seasons in, the ratings are still great. Yes, the show is known for showcasing B and C-list celebrities. But, ironically, it's often managed to up the profiles of these quasi-stars.
Mel B, for example, entered the competition as a former celebrity, basically just an ex-Spice Girl. She now has her own reality show, It's a Scary World (She came in second). Donny and Marie Osmond, Melissa Rycroft and Kelly Osbourne all benefited professionally from the show's wind at their backs.
Not only that, but with each season, the casts get more intriguing and eclectic. Its producers may fill out the roster with second-tier entertainers and sports figures, but they've also been mixing in tabloid queens, politicos and reality TV characters. Former House Majority leader Tom DeLay was sidelined by an injury early in Season 9, but the fact that he participated shows the impact that DWTS has made, and the direction it's gone in with contestants.
On Monday night's show, several of those former contestants -- Helio Castroneves (Season 5), Kelly Osbourne (Season 9), Mel B (Season 5), Drew Lachey (Season 2), Gilles Marini (Season 8) and Emmitt Smith (Season 3) -- will return. The six remaining Stars of this season -- Brandy, Rick Fox, Jennifer Grey, Kyle Massey, Bristol Palin and Kurt Warner -- will each replicate a dance routine that was made "iconic" by one of these former contestants. And that former contestant will sit in as a fourth judge during the performance.
The dancers will also be divided up into two teams, each with a captain who's a returning DWTS champion. Kristi Yamaguchi (Season 6) will head up the Palin-Fox-Massey team; while Apolo Anton Ohno (Season 4) will shepherd the Grey-Brandy-Warner team. Each will perform a group dance together (rumored to be a cha-cha), and all members of the higher-scoring team will be safe from elimination.
Which former DWTS contestant are you most excited to see return to the show? Chime in below!