There has been a lot of disappointment among “Dancing with the Stars” fans following the shocking Mirror Ball victory by radio personality Bobby Bones (scroll through our complete gallery of winners above). He got the lowest scores in the season finale episode, and he had some of the lowest scores all competition long, but he still won, which made it seem like the judges hardly mattered at all. But is Bones the worst dancer ever to win the show? Well, yes and no.
Bones finished with an average score of 22.8 per dance, which comes out to 7.6 per judge. If you think that sounds incredibly low, you’re right. In fact, only eight people have won the Mirror Ball Trophy with an average lower than 9.0. And Bones is one of only two to win the show with an average lower than 8.0. That’s even after he got straight 10s from the judges for his freestyle routine; every single finalist got perfect scores for their freestyles, so the judges’ enthusiasm there wasn’t exactly reflective of dance quality.
However, there’s one Mirror Ball champ who had an even lower average than Bones: the very first winner, Kelly Monaco. She ended the inaugural season with an average of 22.4 per dance, or just 7.47 per judge. So she’s really the worst, right? It’s actually a little more complicated than that.
Monaco started her season at the bottom of the leaderboard and improved from there. But that first season only lasted six weeks, compared to nine weeks for season 27, so Monaco had less time to improve her average after her rough start. In addition, there were only six celebrities in contention that year, and despite her low average Monaco was still the third best dancer based on judges’ scores. Compare that to Bones, whose average placed him 8th out of 13 celebs, so he was much worse relative to his competition.
And then Monaco came back for the “All-Stars” season. She reached the finals again, this time finishing third, but she did so with an average of 26.8 per dance, or an impressive 8.93 per judge. So considering her “DWTS” career as a whole, she’s clearly a much better dancer than Bones. But that comparison is admittedly a little unfair since Bones has only competed in one season; maybe if he got to return to the show for an “All-Star” edition like Monaco did, he’d improve his average too.
So there’s no perfect measure by which to determine whether Bones is the worst Mirror Ball champion in “DWTS” history. To a certain extent, it’s in the eye of the beholder. So vote in our poll below: which low-scoring winner was better, Kelly Monaco (season 1) or Bobby Bones (season 27)?