10 Country Artists Who Have Competed on ‘Dancing With The Stars’

Sara Evans, Kellie Pickler, Wynonna Judd, Billy Ray Cyrus; Photos Courtesy ABC
Sara Evans, Kellie Pickler, Wynonna Judd, Billy Ray Cyrus (1)

When it comes to Dancing with the Stars, one thing is for sure. Country music stars have graced the ballroom floor plenty of times over the history of the long-running reality dance competition series. Some of them have gone on to make it to the finale with their professional dance partners, even nabbing the highly coveted Mirrorball Trophy. Others, however, have come to realize that they should stick to doing what they do best in the world of entertainment rather than present dance routines.

And this season will feature yet another friendly face in country music, Jimmie Allen . While there’s no telling how the “Make Me Want To” singer will fare in the competition, he’s prepared to give it his all.

Along with Allen, season 30 of Dancing with the Stars is slated to feature an impressive all-star lineup of competitors from various celebrity backgrounds. Model Tyra Banks will return as executive producer and host of the show, and Derek Hough, Bruno Tonioli, Carrie Ann Inaba, and Len Goodman will serve on the judging panel.

Fans can tune in to the Season 30 premiere of Dancing with the Stars Monday (Sept. 20) at 8:00 ET on ABC.

In the meantime, here’s a list of country artists who have competed on Dancing with the Stars.

Wynonna Judd

Wynonna Judd may have had her work cut out for her as a country star on DWTS since she was not the only artist representing her genre. The “No One Else on Earth” singer competed against a slew of cast members, including fellow country powerhouse Kellie Pickler. Although Wynonna gave it her all when dancing the Cha-Cha-Cha and Quickstep, and later the Samba to Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” she and seasoned dancer Tony Dovolani experienced a short run on the show. They were eliminated on week two, finishing in eleventh place and earning the lowest combined score from viewer votes and judge points.

“I’m the biggest fan, and I root for you! I want you to do great, but I didn’t see it go up a notch this week,” judge Carrie Ann Inaba said of the pair’s final performance of the season. “I’m so sorry.”

Chuck Wicks

Chuck Wicks didn’t take home the mirrorball trophy when he competed on DWTS during Season 8, but that doesn’t mean he and his partner didn’t have chemistry out on the dance floor. In fact, they did. At the time, Wicks was dating his then dancing partner and girlfriend, Julianne Hough. Together, the two brought the heat up a notch, performing the Waltz to Elvis Presley’s “Are You Lonesome Tonight,” the Rumba to Maroon 5’s “She Will Be Loved,” and the Viennese Waltz to Rascal Flatts’ “Feels Like Today.” Their romance and steamy routines earned plenty of comments from the judging panel who called the routines “passionate,” and “sensual,” and “animal,” but sometimes “mechanical.”

Wicks and Hough ended up finding themselves in eighth place in the end, despite competitor Melissa Rycroft and partner Tony Dovolani earning the lowest score of the evening.

Billy Ray Cyrus

Billy Ray Cyrus already knew how to incorporate hip movements into his performances and proved that with the music video release for his ‘90s smash, “Achy Breaky Heart.” But on Season 4’s DWTS, when he went up against stars like NSYNC’s Joey Fatone, Olympic Short-Track Speed Skater, and Apolo Anton-Ohno, the footwork proved challenging. Cyrus and pro partner Karina Smirnoff quickly became an underdog on their season, earning many low scores from the three judges. All that, despite Spirnoff’s successful run with Mario Lopez the prior year. Cyrus, who also received criticism being called a “delicious mess” by judge Bruno Tonioli, did, however, make it through eight grueling weeks of the competition, dancing to songs like Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” The Clash’s “Rock the Casbah.” His delivery of the Tango, Quickstep, and Paso Doble, scored him and his partner a fifth-place finish.

“I’m grateful to all the people who helped me, but most especially Karina [Smirnoff], my beautiful partner. She put up with my big ol’ butt and feet,” Cyrus told People at the time after getting booted off the show.

Sara Evans

Perhaps Sara Evans started the trend of country stars competing on DWTS. In 2006, she became the first country artist to show off her dance moves across the ballroom floor. Evans, who appeared on Season 3, was paired up with dance master Tony Dovolani. However, due to a divorce from ex-husband Craig Schelske, she ended up withdrawing from the competition early on to be with the former married couple’s three children.

Before making her exit on the show, viewers were able to catch Evans dancing the Samba to “I Wish” by Stevie Wonder, the Foxtrot to “Mandy” by Barry Manilow, and the Mambo to “Papa Loves Mambo” by Perry Como. Evans has not returned to the show to resume her competitive role, but she did return to DWTS in 2011, not to dance, but to deliver a performance of her hit smash, “A Little Bit Stronger.”

Jana Kramer

Jana Kramer placed fourth in 2016 when she participated in Season 23 of DWTS. Partnering up with dancing-pro Gleb Savchenko, she took on the Viennese Waltz to Ariana Grande’s “Dangerous Woman,” danced the Tango to Gavin DeGraw’s “I Don’t Wanna Be,” and dazzled with the Foxtrot to The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun.” Kramer competed against celebrities like NFL player Calvin Johnson Jr. and Olympic Gymnast Laurie Hernandez and had a rather emotional season after announcing her split from ex-husband Mike Caussin before making her ballroom debut. Although she was cast off the show on the first finale night, Kramer, who received a perfect score for many of her dances, said she experienced a lot of personal growth on the program.

“I’ve learned so much about myself and how strong I can be,” Kramer told viewers and judges during her exit interview.

Kellie Pickler

Pickler is no stranger to appearing on reality television programs. She previously competed on American Idol, starred in her own I Love Kellie Pickler TV series, and even co-hosted a daytime talk show, Pickler & Ben. But when the “Best Day of Your Life” songstress took to DWTS, she made history as the first country artist to make it into the finals. \

Appearing on Season 16 of the show, Pickler nabbed higher than average marks, wowing judges with the quickstep, jive, and freestyle to songs like Ludovic Bource’s “Peppy and George,” Little Richard’s “Keep-a-Knockin,’” and Labrinth featuring Emeli Sandé’s “Beneath Your Beautiful.” Her dance skills eventually earned her the prestigious mirrorball trophy. While Pickler worked her dancing magic during solo performances, she may have had a bit of the upper hand, performing alongside dancing partner Derek Hough. Not only was he, at the time, a three-time champion on the show, but his equally talented sister, Julianne, also coached and trained on the program.

John Schneider

John Schneider, a country music artist, and an actor, who portrayed Beauregard “Bo” Duke in the American television comedy series The Dukes of Hazzard, appeared on DWTS during season 27 in support of new music he was releasing that year. Paired with seasoned dancer Emma Slater, Schneider treated fans to a variety of dances including a Waltz, Quickstep, and a Halloween-themed Paso Doble. His lowest score came when he performed the Foxtrot to Waylon Jennings’ “Good Ol’ Boys.” Slater and Schneider scored an 18 from the judges for that performance.

In an ironic twist, however, Schneider was eliminated during Country Western Night, after scoring 25/30 with a jazz routine to John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy.” The dancing pair were not the only two to receive the boot that night. Former NFL star DeMarcus Ware and his partner Lindsay Arnold also were axed from the competition, and Schneider and Slater took sixth place at the end of their run on the reality TV competition.

Bobby Bones

Bobby Bones Bobby Bones’ experience on season 27’s DWTS was quite entertaining and unlike any other. The radio and television personality claimed the mirrorball trophy alongside dance partner Sharna Burgess. However, his 2018 victory was a bit controversial since most people would agree he wasn’t the true standout beginner dancer of the season. Bones, who competed against runner-ups Disney star Milo Manheim and Witney Carson, Model Alexis Ren and Alan Bersten and Harry Potter actress Evanna Lynch and Keo Motsepe, defeated his competition with the power of fan votes.

After his win, the show made changes to the fan-voting system with a rule allowing viewers to only cast their votes during the live show. Seasons later, Bones, according to US Weekly, had been in talks to return to DWTS, not as a contestant but as a new host, before Tyra Banks landed the gig in 2020. The in-house mentor of American Idol is currently taking on a busy schedule as the star of his new series Breaking Bobby Bones on National Geographic.

Lauren Alaina

Lauren Alaina already knows how to capture America’s hearts being the runner-up of Season 10’s American Idol. And she has shown that she can do just that when showing off her dance skills too. Alaina slid into fourth place when she took to Season 28 of DWTS, alongside pro partner Gleb Savchenko. She brought the electricity with a Paso Doble to Demi Lovato’s “Confident,” sizzled with the cha cha cha to Shania Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like a Woman,” and looked like a Disney princess dancing the Samba to “Under The Sea” from The Little Mermaid.

Alaina, who, at the time, also shared her cousin Holly was fighting for her life, almost didn’t participate on the show. However, she credited Bobby Bones for giving her the extra nudge. The radio personality also showed his support for the “Road Less Traveled” singer by cheering her on from the crowd.

Jimmie Allen; Photo by ABC, Maarten de Boer
Jimmie Allen; Photo by ABC, Maarten de Boer

Jimmie Allen

News of Allen joining the DWTS cast was revealed on September 8 in a new episode of Good Morning America. The upcoming season will find the DWTS newbie competing against fourteen other celebs like actor/ former rapper Brian Austin Green, Olympian Suni Lee, television personality and fitness instructor Amanda Kloots, YouTube star JoJo Siwa, and professional wrestler Mike “The Miz” Mizanin, to name a few.

Allen’s image was teased on the DWTS Instagram page before it was announced that he was joining the show. The shot features the 2021 ACM New Male Artist of the Year winner with his back facing the camera while dressed in a shirt and cowboy hat.

“Go ahead, take your best shot. If you can figure out who this celeb is, sing it loud,” a caption read, alongside the photo referencing Allen’s song “Best Shot.”