Top 10 Best Paso Doble Dances on Dancing with the Stars
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Top 10 Best Paso Doble Dances on Dancing with the Stars

VOICE OVER: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Tal Fox
The Paso Doble livened up "Dancing with the Stars." For this list, we'll be looking at the most impressive, striking, and dramatic performances of this intense Latin dance style. Our countdown includes Jennifer Grey & Derek Hough, Mel B & Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Jordan Fisher & Lindsay Arnold, and more!
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Top 10 Best Paso Doble Dances on Dancing with the Stars


Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Best Paso Doble Dances on Dancing with the Stars.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the most impressive, striking, and dramatic performances of this intense Latin dance style on the popular televised dance floor contest. Narrowing it down was hard enough, so we’ve left trios off our list on this occasion.

Do you think we’ve missed a step by leaving your favorite Paso off our list? Let us know in the comments.

#10: Charlie White & Sharna Burgess
“Sail” by Awolnation


A Paso is typically strong, staccato, intense, and theatrical, but this Olympic ice skating champion and his partner proved it could also be steamy. Their chemistry is undeniable, and the connection they share throughout the routine is hypnotic. White glides boldly around the dance floor, taking full control over the vibe and direction of their performance. Sure, it wasn’t perfect, but we were too captivated to notice. If you ask us, a successful routine is when you’re engrossed by the moment and so engulfed in the passion that you don’t even spot the minor imperfections. This dance ticked that box for us in a major way.

#9: Normani Kordei & Val Chmerkovskiy
“I’ll Make a Man Out of You” from “Mulan”


If we’re discussing former “Fifth Harmony” members, we’d be amiss not to mention Ally Brooke’s outstanding routine to her song “Higher.” However, we had to go with her bandmate Normani’s fierce and empowering Paso to this iconic tune from a Disney classic. Combining traditional Paso with combat moves and even props, the dance is strong, forceful, and dynamic while expertly relaying the story we all know and love. Her attack and precision are perfect, whether hitting powerful poses or executing sharp and staccato choreography. So much for “I’ll Make a Man Out of You,” it’s obvious who holds the power here. Did Len lose his 10 paddle? Because the duo definitely deserved top marks.

#8: Evan Lysacek & Anna Trebunskaya
“Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence


This Olympian and his partner have us mesmerized by their routine’s intensity, strength, and energy. Dancing to the ‘00s hit, Lysacek commands the dance floor, leading Anna expertly around the ballroom and proving that he’s in it to win it. What doesn’t this dance have? We get strong arms, bold lines, sharp movements, and above all, plenty of drama. Lysacek even has a solo about halfway through, assertively brandishing a cape and displaying complete confidence in his dance abilities. It’s so well choreographed and performed that we could watch it all day. No wonder the judges chose it for an encore.

#7: Jennifer Grey & Derek Hough
“Habanera” by Charlotte Church


The first time this duo danced the Paso Doble in week 6, it wasn’t exactly their best performance. However, redemption awaited them in the finals when Grey proved that she had a lot more in her. They start enticingly sultry, but then the music picks up, and it’s go time. The star puts so much attack into her movements, and her lines are absolutely gorgeous. She hits every step perfectly and gives her all to the emotion of the dance style as well. The judges couldn’t pile on the praise enough, and Len even gave them a well-deserved standing ovation. No one puts Jennifer Grey in a corner.

#6: Riker Lynch & Allison Holker
“He’s a Pirate” from “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl”


When Captain Jack Sparrow lays off the rum, it turns out he’s a pretty epic dancer. The “Glee” star was already one to watch in the competition, but with this pirate-themed Paso, he truly blew it out of the water. The artistry that goes into perfecting a performance of this magnitude is phenomenal. The pace looks unbelievably fast, yet he upholds the solid shaping and military movements that exemplify the Paso Doble. It’s also exhilarating and theatrical, almost as if we’re watching an actual “Pirates of the Caribbean” action sequence. Everything just comes together so perfectly. There was no way this duo would be walking the plank after that performance.

#5: Apolo Anton Ohno & Julianne Hough
“Carnaval de Paris” by Dario G


Closing the show, this duo gave us a dance that epitomized the phrase “Always leave ‘em wanting more.” It was intense, dramatic, passionate, and contained more athleticism than any Paso we’d seen before. Hough’s choreography goes hard, but her chemistry with her partner and his commitment to the routine really elevate it above and beyond. The pair reprised the dance in the finals, somehow making it even more iconic, if that’s even possible. This has to be one of the best dances of the season and one of the most perfect partnerships in “Dancing with the Stars” history. Talk about going out with a bang!

#4: Mel B & Maksim Chmerkovskiy
“Free Your Mind” by En Vogue


When we cast our minds back to season five, there are two unforgettable Paso Dobles that spring to mind. Former Cheetah Girl Sabrina Bryan and her partner Mark Ballas spun us “Round (Like a Record)” with their perfect-scoring routine. However, we’re going with Mel B and Maks’ since they added a little extra hot spice to their choreography. The singer was always a joy to watch, but she definitely knows how to bring the flair to dramatic dances. It hits all the most important Paso Doble marks, and they put on one hell of a show. After all these years, it still blows us away.

#3: Jordan Fisher & Lindsay Arnold
“Animals” by Martin Garrix


Few dances lend them themselves so perfectly to Halloween as the Paso Doble. Of course, it helps when you have two phenomenal dancers and storytellers driving the routine. Lindsay takes on the role of a Little Red Riding Hood-esque character while her partner embodies a werewolf. The fast choreography goes all out, yet Fisher takes it all in his stride and shines among the ensemble of professional dancers around him. Every move is dynamic, and he holds his shape beautifully; we can see why Little Red would fall straight into this Big Bad Wolf’s claws. They really put their all and more into it, all the better to see that mirrorball trophy with.

#2: Nicole Scherzinger & Derek Hough
“Spanish Guitar” by Bo Diddley


This Pussycat Doll and her partner took us back to the 1950s for an original and fresh take on the Paso Doble. Hough is great at cooking up adventurous choreography, and Scherzinger is the perfect partner to bring it to life. We love how seamlessly they incorporate era-defining moves into their traditional dance, and the attention to detail is awe-inspiring. The artistry that goes into both the choreography and performance is second to none. It became a stand-out number for fans of the show and the judges, who selected it for an encore. Len even said it was “possibly the dance of all ten seasons.” You can’t get a higher compliment than that!

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Shawn Johnson & Mark Ballas, “Gotta Get Thru This” by Daniel Bedingfield
We “Gotta Get Thru This” One Without Gushing Too Much; It’s So Good!

Amber Riley & Derek Hough, “Diablo Rojo” by Rodrigo y Gabriela
You Can See It on Her Face, the Star Came to Slay!

Noah Galloway & Sharna Burgess, “Unstoppable” by E.S. Posthumus
This Power Duo’s Routine Is Truly “Unstoppable”

Carlos PenaVega & Witney Carson, “O Fortuna” by Carl Orff
The Drama & Passion Are Practically Hypnotic

Melora Hardin & Artem Chigvintsev, “If” by Janet Jackson
How They Ended Up in the Bottom After This Perfect-Scoring Paso Is Beyond Us

#1: Nev Schulman & Jenna Johnson
“Swan Lake Remix” by District 78


Firstly, whoever decided to combine Matthew Bourne’s contemporary take on the iconic ballet with a Paso Doble for a “Black Swan” inspired routine is a genius. Still, the dance would’ve been nothing without the unparalleled talents of this partnership. It’s a mesmerizing and creative interpretation that expertly combines the two genres and still gives us a dramatic and recognizable Paso. It’s stylistic, imaginative, thrilling, and unequivocally one of the best routines we’ve ever seen on the show. Schulman showed us a side of himself we never knew he had, but we definitely wanted to see more of it. We’re sure their perfect-scoring dance would’ve made Bourne and even Tchaikovsky very proud. We certainly thought it was swan-derful!
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