Bachelor Nation alumni have long been enlisted to fill out rosters of Dancing With the Stars casts, but they rarely came out on top. That has all changed in the past two seasons, with Hannah Brown winning last year and Kaitlyn Bristowe winning Season 29 on Monday night. Longtime Dancing With the Stars fans found this outrageous, arguing that some of the other contestants performing Monday night were more deserving of the Mirrorball Trophy.
Members of Bachelor Nation have appeared on DWTS since the first season, but in most of that time, Melissa Rycroft was the only former Bachelor or Bachelorette star to win. Rycroft, who was a last-minute replacement in DWTS Season 8, won her Mirrorball at the end of the 2012 all-stars season, notes GoldDerby. Seven years later, Brown and her pro partner Alan Bersten won the title. Bristowe and her pro partner, Artem Chigventsev were victorious this season, beating out runner-up Nev Schulman and his partner, Jenna Johnson.
Bristowe and Chigventsev's road to the Mirrorball Trophy was not easy. Aside from her injuries, she faced some tough criticism from judge Carrie Ann Inaba. Some fans speculated this was because of Chigventsev's romantic past with Inaba. Chigvintsev is now engaged to Nikki Bella.
During an interview with Us Weekly, Inaba said she understood why fans thought this, suggesting that most of Bristowe's fans are used to the kind of romantic intrigue from The Bachelorette. "It's like, there's jealousy there and there's this and that because that's what the Bachelor and Bachelorette are all about, right? It's about creating stories about everybody," Inaba told Us Weekly. As for why she pushed Bristowe, Inaba admitted to being tougher on female dancers as a female dancer herself.
Who am I kidding?!?! I was rooting for Nev and I am low key and that two bachelorettes in a row have won. Especially Kaitlyn who has dancing experience. I hope they no longer allow bachelorette leads on the show. Happy for Artem though #DWTSFINALE #BacheloretteABC #dwts— It’s pronunced “,-la” . Team #bidenharris VOTE!! (@nubianqueen_5) November 24, 2020
And this is why I don't watch #DWTS anymore. Of course another Bachelorette wins— Samira (@j08_sami) November 24, 2020
"I tend to push women a little harder because I understand it from their perspective, so I know exactly what I’m pushing for because I can feel it from them that they're so close to it," Inaba continued. "And I know it was hard and I know that they were frustrated but it happens all the time."prevnext
After winning the trophy, Bristowe told Entertainment Tonight it was "so surreal," adding, "I keep being like, 'What? It all flew by! It happened in the blink of an eye.'" Chigvintsev, who never even made it to the DWTS finale before, said it was "super surreal" for me. "I always watch from the sidelines, and I find that actually being here and experiencing it, it is actually surreal. I'm just so happy for Kaitlyn to be here and living her dream, her dream coming to reality," he told ET.prevnext
"I’m convinced now that anytime a Bachelor/Bachelorette contestant is on [DWTS] that it’s rigged for them to win. Happy for Artem’s first mirror ball, not happy that it was with Kaitlyn," one fan wrote.prevnext
Some Twitter users suspected ABC rigged DWTS to help promote The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Of course, commercials for The Bachelorette aired during the finale. The show airs on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET.prevnext
Another person suggested DWTS has just become a "Bachelorette popularity contest." Another viewer asked DWTS to stop including Bachelor and Bachelorette stars as contestants because "they are not stars [and] because of [their] ridiculous fan base."prev