Love it or hate it, ABC’s reality show Dancing with the Stars is a runaway hit. The show, based on the popular UK series Strictly Come Dancing, is embarking on its 12th season and it is bigger than ever. A total of 138 stars have taken to the floor to compete for the coveted Mirrorball Trophy, which might make you wonder, with so many stars saying, “Yes,” has anyone turned down the opportunity to strap on those bedazzled dance shoes and shake it?
Jennifer Beals may be best known for Flashdance,
but don’t expect to see her dancing like she’s never danced before; Beals has stated she has no intention of joining the show’s cast. Though there were rumblings earlier this year that the show’s producers were attempting to woo her, Beals told People
magazine, “You could back up a truck to my door filled with cash and I wouldn’t do it.” Having once attended a taping of the show to cheer on friend and former contestant Marlee Matlin, Beals was overwhelmed by the experience. “The noise level is so intense and people’s excitement level is so intense. I could never.” She even joked with Matlin, who is deaf, “You don’t know how lucky you are you can’t hear this.”
Another celeb who turned down the show after seeing a friend compete was actress Jamie Lee Curtis. When she showed up each week to see Jennifer Grey best the competition and win the Mirrorball Trophy, producers ended up asking Jamie if she’d be willing to hit the floor. Unfortunately for us, Jamie told them no, stating, “My family commitments are such that I wouldn't have the time for it...but it definitely made me go, 'Hmmm.' It was fun to think about it."
Gayle King has turned the show down on three separate occasions. Despite being a fixture on the Oprah Winfrey Show, the 56-year-old O magazine editor-in-chief doesn’t mince words when it comes to her appearing on national television in her dancing shoes. “I think it's good to keep my public humiliation to a minimum. I would never want to embarrass my children ever...or myself! I can't dance.” Other TV stars that have turned down the chance to dance include Suzanne Somers, Tim Allen and Portia De Rossi.
While many comedians, including Jeffery Ross, Cloris Leachman and Margaret Cho have graced the dance floor, many more didn’t find the idea appealing. Chelsea Handler, Drew Carey, Joel McHale and Betty White all declined while Kathy Griffin actually claimed to have fired her agent over the mere suggestion.
Ironically, it’s not just stars that turn down Dancing with the Stars; those from the private sector – including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, the real-life Erin Brockovich, Virgin CEO Richard Branson, Subway pitchman Jared Fogel and reality-star-turned-construction-worker Jon Gosselin – have all passed.
Whichever side of the political spectrum they fall on, politicians have undoubtedly created some of the show’s most memorable moments. Unfortunately, it appears some have caught onto the fact that maintaining professionalism while wearing a gemstone-encrusted leotard is no easy feat. Condoleezza Rice and political commentator Ann Coulter were pursued for season 11, but both nixed the idea and the spot was given to Bristol Palin. Former Vice President Dan Quayle was in final negotiations when he got cold feet and dropped out. Reverend Al Sharpton was also wooed by producers for many seasons, but he has never agreed to put on his dancing shoes. However, according to him, it’s not for lack of talent. In fact, Sharpton says it’s his skill that actually stops him from signing up for the show. “I’ve got moves...I’d blow ’em out! There would be no chance for anybody to touch me!”
So, why do so many refuse to dance? Executive producer Conrad Green told the Hollywood Reporter, "We've approached a lot of people over the years. People say no for a variety of reasons. Some people like the show but think they [aren’t good] at dancing. It's a lot easier to say no than it is to say ‘yes’." However, a ‘no’ now doesn’t necessarily mean a ‘no’ forever. Kirstie Alley tweeted just last year, “DWTS cast member. Just a rumor. Imagine that. NOT doing ‘DWTS’ this season...Way too chicken!!” However, Alley has since come around and has joined the cast for the show’s 12th season.