Season 32 of ABC’s hit show Dancing With the Stars wrapped up on Tuesday evening after eleven weeks of non-stop practices, challenges, dance-offs, eliminations, defeats, successes, new friendships, and, of course, the exciting Freestyle competition on the Season Finale.
It’s easy to find out which couple won the competition, even for those who didn’t catch the final episode. (Google is really a remarkable thing.) But the answer to one question about Dancing With the Stars seems to have eluded even the most dedicated fans: How much are the stars and their dance partners paid for appearing and performing on the show?
Season 32 Just Concluded
Season 32 of the popular dance competition show on ABC began on September 26, 2023, and was the first season to ever air live on both the ABC television network and Disney+ simultaneously. Julianne Hough and Alfonso Ribiero co-hosted Season 32, and judges Derek Hough, Carrie Ann Inaba, and Bruno Tonioli returned to their roles with Derek Hough serving as head judge following the retirement and death of former judge Len Goodman, who passed away in April 2023.
Once the last dancers exited the stage and the voting was closed one final time, the five remaining couples waited anxiously to hear who had won the coveted Mirrorball Trophy, renamed the Len Goodman Mirrorball Trophy, in honor of the late judge.
Actress Xochitl Gomez and Val Chmerkovskiy were crowned the champions. Singer-songwriter Jason Mraz and Daniella Karagach finished in second place, and Vanderpump Rules cast member Ariana Madix and her partner Pasha Pashkov danced their way to third place.
The Bachelorette star Charity Lawson and Artem Chigvintsev finished in fourth, and actress Alyson Hannigan and Sasha Farber came in fifth place.
But the real question is–how much were Xochitl and Val–and the rest of the stars, dancers, judges, and hosts–paid for their time and efforts on Dancing With the Stars?
What’s the Payout for Celebrities on ‘Dancing with the Stars?’
Disney and ABC have yet to reveal the salaries of the show’s celebrity contestants, but that hasn’t stopped some super-sleuths from digging deep for the information.
Word has gotten out about what celebrities are paid to appear on Dancing With the Stars, and one of the most surprising things discovered so far has to do with a level playing field of sorts for the stars. According to Parade, regardless of their fame and paydays outside of the show, all the stars who appear on Dancing With the Stars initially make the same amount.
The starting salary for celebrities on the show is $125,000. That includes training and practicing for a minimum of 20 hours each week during the season–and for several weeks before the season premiere of the show. But that amount goes up as the celebrity continues to garner votes and stay in the competition. Those who can hold on through Weeks three and four of the competition receive a bonus of $10,000 per week.
At Week five, that bonus increases to $15,000, while Weeks six and seven tack on an extra $20,000 per week. If, by Weeks eight and nine, the celebrity is still in the running, they earn a weekly bonus of $30,000.
Celebrities that make it to the semi-finals and the finale receive an additional $50,000 each week in prize money, with the champion taking home the Len Goodman Mirrorball Trophy.By the finale of the 11-week season, celebrities have the potential to make $360,000–if these figures are completely accurate, as Disney has yet to confirm the amounts.
What Does Disney Pay Professional Dancers on ‘Dancing with the Stars?’
Professional dancers on Dancing With the Stars aren’t paid as well as celebrities, though they work just as hard. Dancers on the show must work to train their celebrity partners, spending at least 20 hours each week with them.
That’s after they have choreographed their dance numbers. Then, there are multiple performances per episode of the 11-week season of the show.
If the rumors are true, the starting salary for a professional dancer on Dancing With the Stars is $1,600 per episode. But for the pros who’ve been on the show for several seasons, including Tuesday night’s winner, Val Chmerkovskiy, rumor has it that the weekly payout is much higher.
Those who have tenure on the show and have amassed a fan following of their own can make more than $5,000 per episode, but they have to stay in the competition in order to collect that salary. According to reports, professional dancers on the show are capped at $100,000 per episode, though this has yet to be confirmed by Disney or ABC.
It’s Not Just About the Salaries
There’s more to a celebrity’s compensation for competing on Dancing With the Stars than just the salaries they earn. Many of the celebrities who participate do so to boost their careers. Over the years, celebrities who have competed have seen those boosts in the form of new gigs offered to them.