After 10 weeks on "Dancing With the Stars," actor Gilles Marini, Olympian Shawn Johnson and "The Bachelor" reject Melissa Rycroft have become household names - at least with the show's nearly 20 million weekly viewers.
On Tuesday, one of them will be named the new "Dancing" champ, collecting the coveted mirror ball trophy along with a potential career boost.
But just as becoming the "American Idol" doesn't automatically mean a rocking music career, winning "Dancing" doesn't always translate to bigger and better gigs, though it certainly opens up the possibility.
"Anything they go into will be incredible," says Pierre Dulaine, co-founder of Dancing Classrooms, which teaches ballroom dancing to fifth graders nationwide. "They learn respect, dedication and humility."
Here's a look at past winners and their professional lives before and after "Dancing With the Stars."Season one, Kelly Monaco: A former Playboy Playmate and sometime "Baywatch" star, Monaco, 32, won the inaugural season of the ABC show in 2005 with professional partner Alec Mazo. Once she took the trophy, she scored a recurring role on the TV soap "General Hospital." She is now appearing opposite fellow "Dancing" alumna Melanie Brown in "Peepshow," a burlesque-inspired production at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.Season two, Drew Lachey: A member of the boy band 98 Degrees with his brother Nick Lachey, Drew Lachey performed on Broadway in "Rent" and "Monty Python's Spamalot" before joining the "Dancing" cast. After winning in 2006 with professional partner Cheryl Burke, he co-hosted the Miss USA pageant, joined the "Dancing With the Stars" tour and filled in as the show's host while Samantha Harris was on maternity leave. He appeared on the ABC show again this season to weigh in on the latest contestants and what they need to become champions. Lachey, 32, can next be seen on "HGTV's $250,000 Challenge," a series debuting May 31 that has families competing for cash through home-improvement challenges.Season three, Emmitt Smith: The National Football League's all-time leading rusher, Smith won three Super Bowl championships as a running back for the Dallas Cowboys. With Burke as his partner, he took the "Dancing" title in November 2006, opening the ballroom door for future NFL players. The following year, Smith joined ESPN as an analyst and appeared on the sports network's "Monday Night Countdown" and "NFL Sunday Countdown" shows. The network did not renew his contract for 2009.Season four, Apolo Anton Ohno: An Olympic speed skater, Ohno won gold medals in 2002 and 2006. After claiming the mirror ball in 2007 with professional partner Julianne Hough, Ohno, 27, returned to skating. He took gold in the world championships in 2007 and 2008 and said he intends to compete in the 2010 Winter Olympics.Season five, Helio Castroneves: A Brazilian IndyCar driver, Castroneves won the Indianapolis 500 in 2001 and 2002 before taking the "Dancing" title with Hough in the fall of 2007. In October 2008, he was charged with federal tax evasion and conspiracy. He was acquitted last month on six counts of tax evasion and the jury was hung on the conspiracy charge. Days after his court victory, the 33-year-old returned to racing at the Grand Prix of Long Beach and he's now preparing for the Indianapolis 500.Season six, Kristi Yamaguchi: A championship figure skater, Yamaguchi won a gold medal at the 1992 Olympics, established her charitable Always Dream Foundation in 1996 and was inducted into the Olympic Hall of Fame in 2005. The 37-year-old won the "DWTS" trophy in 2008 with professional partner Mark Ballas, and has gone on to become the face of Nicole by OPI nail colors and Kellogg's FiberPlus bars. She will host a fundraising gala to benefit her charity - featuring performances by the "Dancing With the Stars" pros - on May 30 in San Francisco.Season seven, Brooke Burke: A model and TV personality, Burke hosted "Wild On!" on E! Entertainment channel and the "Rock Star" talent contest in CBS. She won the "Dancing" crown with partner Derek Hough in November 2008. Earlier this year, the 37-year-old helped host NBC's pre-show for the Golden Globe Awards.
By Sandy Cohen
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