ABC

Since the 2005 debut of Dancing with the Stars, 223 celebrities have competed on the ABC reality show, some of whom wear the label "star" a lot more plausibly than others. The lineup for season 21, set to premiere on September 14, was announced this morning: Tamara Braxton, Gary Busey, Nick Carter, Paula Deen, Victor Espinoza, Andy Grammer, Hayes Grier, Bindi Irwin, Chaka Khan, Alexa PenaVega, Carlos PenaVega, Alek Skarlatos, and Kim Zolciak.

Who are the most and least famous contestants ever to appear on Dancing with the Stars? How do you compare a wide receiver with a talk show host, or an Olympic figure skater with an activist? And how do the new recruits stack up?

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To quantify "fame," we considered checking which celebrity appears most frequently in Google search results, but that method obviously favors stars with common names. Instead, we turned to Wikipedia, the Internet's great equalizer (except not, but shhh), tallying the total word count—including sidebars, citations, you name it—for every single DwtS contestant's dedicated article.

Our logic: the longer the text that describes an individual, the more culturally important that person is. Right? Right.

Back when we first crunched these numbers, in time for the season 20 premiere in March, the most famous contestant was Floyd Mayweather, Jr., followed by Chris Jericho and Lil' Kim.

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As of now, that's still the case. In fact, none of season 21's cast members even manage to crack the top 50 most famous DwtS contestants of all time. The five highest-ranked contestants from the upcoming season are Chaka Khan (#73 overall), Tamara Braxton (#86), Paula Deen (#100), Gary Busey (#116), and Nick Carter (#129).

As a general rule, athletes' Wikipedia pages (which feature specific details of bouts, games, titles, records, and so on) were consistently wordier than those of non-athletes, while reality stars—including a number of home-grown Bachelor and Bachelorette alumni—generally sank to the bottom of the ranks. Two celebrities don't yet have their own Wikipedia pages: Vine star Hayes Grier and train attack hero Alek Skarlatos, both of whom will compete in season 21.

Admittedly, this is far from a perfect metric: it's biased towards celebrities who rose to prominence in the age of the Internet. For instance, Tommy Chong and Jennifer Grey are #93 and #132 on our list, respectively, while the Pussycat Dolls' Nicole Scherzinger sits pretty at #4. That's downright immoral. And of course, if a Wikipedia editor should happen to be a superfan of, say, Joey Fatone and decide to write a doctoral thesis-length article in the singer's honor, that would certainly dirty our data.

Here's the full list of Dancing with the Stars contestants and their Wikipedia page word counts, with season 21 cast members in bold:

  1. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. – 17,730
  2. Chris Jericho – 15,992
  3. Lil' Kim – 13,221
  4. Nicole Scherzinger – 11,660
  5. Tom DeLay – 11,461
  6. Sugar Ray Leonard – 11,277
  7. Heather Mills – 10,964
  8. Lawrence Taylor – 9,696
  9. Mýa – 9,124
  10. Brandy – 8,967
  11. Evander Holyfield – 8,906
  12. Hope Solo – 8,833
  13. Evan Lysacek – 8,803
  14. Christina Milian – 8,780
  15. Toni Braxton – 8,713
  16. Kurt Warner – 8,396
  17. Apolo Anton Ohno – 8,035
  18. Martina Navratilova – 7,758
  19. Nancy Grace – 7,211
  20. Mark Cuban – 6,957
  21. Chad Ochocinco – 6,761
  22. Lance Bass – 6,760
  23. David Hasselhoff – 6,640
  24. Adam Carolla – 6,638
  25. P. Miller – 6,620
  26. Shawn Johnson – 6,551
  27. Randy Couture – 6,481
  28. Nastia Liukin – 6,382
  29. Kim Kardashian – 6,366
  30. Metta World Peace – 6,348
  31. Michael Waltrip – 6,277
  32. Drew Carey – 6,158
  33. Steve Wozniak – 6,096
  34. Chuck Liddell – 6,067
  35. Alexandra Raisman – 5,988
  36. Charlie White – 5,861
  37. Meryl Davis – 5,790
  38. Patti LaBelle – 5,686
  39. Mel B – 5,668
  40. Pamela Anderson – 5,575
  41. Jerry Rice – 5,488
  42. Priscilla Presley – 5,450
  43. Donny Osmond – 5,415
  44. Margaret Cho – 5,303
  45. Buzz Aldrin – 5,214
  46. Sean Avery – 5,214
  47. Billy Ray Cyrus – 5,206
  48. Emmitt Smith – 5,188
  49. Stacy Keibler – 5,115
  50. Katherine Jenkins – 5,082
  51. Romeo Miller – 5,062
  52. Kellie Pickler – 4,925
  53. Lolo Jones – 4,877
  54. Susan Lucci – 4,858
  55. Diana Nyad – 4,786
  56. Michael Irvin – 4,692
  57. Victor Ortiz – 4,638
  58. Sara Evans – 4,630
  59. Monica Seles – 4,622
  60. Bristol Palin – 4,564
  61. Wynonna Judd – 4,494
  62. Melissa Joan Hart – 4,484
  63. Shanna Moakler – 4,472
  64. Corbin Bleu – 4,472
  65. Steve-O – 4,455
  66. Andy Dick – 4,385
  67. Wayne Newton – 4,382
  68. Penn Jillette – 4,283
  69. Jason Taylor – 4,249
  70. Hines Ward – 4,230
  71. Jerry Springer – 4,213
  72. Gladys Knight – 4,213
  73. Chaka Khan – 4,209
  74. Kathy Ireland – 4,163
  75. Shandi Finnessey – 4,137
  76. Gavin DeGraw – 4,104
  77. Kelly Osbourne – 4,103
  78. Bill Nye – 4,095
  79. Warren Sapp – 4,075
  80. Macy Gray – 4,062
  81. Aaron Carter – 3,965
  82. Tavis Smiley – 3,884
  83. Elizabeth Berkley Lauren – 3,863
  84. Tucker Carlson – 3,841
  85. Belinda Carlisle – 3,810
  86. Tamara Braxton – 3,799
  87. Michael Sam – 3,736
  88. Suzanne Somers – 3,720
  89. Rick Fox – 3,701
  90. Denise Richards – 3,686
  91. Leah Remini – 3,684
  92. David Arquette – 3,671
  93. Tommy Chong – 3,649
  94. Laila Ali – 3,635
  95. Shannen Doherty – 3,607
  96. Billy Dee Williams – 3,588
  97. Clyde Drexler – 3,554
  98. David Alan Grier – 3,548
  99. Hélio Castroneves – 3,502
  100. Paula Deen – 3,472
  101. Misty May-Treanor – 3,468
  102. Marie Osmond – 3,452
  103. Mario – 3,425
  104. Zendaya – 3,405
  105. Valerie Harper – 3,390
  106. Redfoo – 3,383
  107. Danica McKellar – 3,347
  108. Jane Seymour – 3,329
  109. Natalie Coughlin – 3,292
  110. Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi – 3,231
  111. Maria Menounos – 3,209
  112. Melissa Gilbert – 3,156
  113. Jaleel White – 3,130
  114. Wendy Williams – 3,118
  115. Mario Lopez – 3,091
  116. Gary Busey – 3,083
  117. John Ratzenberger – 3,079
  118. Cloris Leachman – 3,058
  119. Florence Henderson – 3,042
  120. Kendra Wilkinson – 2,959
  121. Sherri Shepherd – 2,940
  122. George Hamilton – 2,778
  123. Keyshawn Johnson – 2,771
  124. Jacoby Jones – 2,676
  125. Erin Andrews – 2,643
  126. Ricki Lake – 2,634
  127. Marlee Matlin – 2,630
  128. Holly Madison – 2,623
  129. Nick Carter – 2,592
  130. Kristi Yamaguchi – 2,581
  131. Michael Bolton – 2,560
  132. Jennifer Grey – 2,532
  133. Steve Guttenberg – 2,500
  134. Donald Driver – 2,487
  135. William Levy – 2,484
  136. Alexa PenaVega – 2,468
  137. Sabrina Bryan – 2,442
  138. Cristián de la Fuente – 2,426
  139. Cody Simpson – 2,423
  140. Jack Osbourne – 2,414
  141. Monique Coleman – 2,403
  142. Joey Lawrence – 2,380
  143. Kirstie Alley – 2,362
  144. Jennie Garth – 2,344
  145. Ralph Macchio – 2,317
  146. Andy Grammer – 2,278
  147. Harry Hamlin – 2,258
  148. Tia Carrere – 2,234
  149. Maurice Greene – 2,231
  150. Victor Espinoza – 2,219
  151. Dorothy Hamill – 2,158
  152. NeNe Leakes – 2,140
  153. Jack Wagner – 2,115
  154. Debi Mazar – 2,111
  155. Janel Parrish – 2,070
  156. Brooke Burke – 2,047
  157. Kate Gosselin – 2,043
  158. Lisa Rinna – 2,034
  159. Candace Cameron Bure – 2,027
  160. Willa Ford – 2,009
  161. Robert Herjavec – 2,004
  162. Bill Engvall – 1,996
  163. Joey Fatone – 1,987
  164. Chuck Wicks – 1,979
  165. Bindi Irwin – 1,968
  166. Vivica A. Fox – 1,952
  167. James Maslow – 1,936
  168. Joey McIntyre – 1,931
  169. Audrina Patridge – 1,918
  170. Paulina Porizkova – 1,894
  171. Kelly Monaco – 1,891
  172. Niecy Nash – 1,885
  173. Marissa Jaret Winokur – 1,874
  174. Kristin Cavallari – 1,873
  175. Chaz Bono – 1,864
  176. Shannon Elizabeth – 1,862
  177. Tatum O'Neal – 1,849
  178. John O'Hurley – 1,847
  179. Elisabetta Canalis – 1,840
  180. Mark Dacascos – 1,820
  181. Alfonso Ribeiro – 1,816
  182. Amy Purdy – 1,805
  183. Lea Thompson – 1,776
  184. Bethany Mota – 1,768
  185. Albert Reed – 1,713
  186. J.R. Martinez – 1,665
  187. Carson Kressley – 1,654
  188. Joanna Krupa – 1,636
  189. Ted McGinley – 1,628
  190. Gilles Marini – 1,596
  191. Antonio Sabàto, Jr. – 1,571
  192. Ian Ziering – 1,567
  193. Leeza Gibbons – 1,561
  194. Amber Riley – 1,539
  195. Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino – 1,526
  196. Kenny Mayne – 1,509
  197. D. L. Hughley – 1,508
  198. Lisa Vanderpump – 1,506
  199. Ty Murray – 1,489
  200. Rachel Hunter – 1,480
  201. Cameron Mathison – 1,461
  202. Chelsea Kane – 1,442
  203. Chynna Phillips – 1,416
  204. Kim Zolciak – 1,375
  205. Rocco DiSpirito – 1,358
  206. Drew Lachey – 1,357
  207. Petra Němcová – 1,351
  208. Louie Vito – 1,349
  209. Roshon Fegan – 1,325
  210. Mike Catherwood – 1,316
  211. Jonathan Bennett – 1,309
  212. Giselle Fernandez – 1,302
  213. Cody Linley – 1,270
  214. Carlos PenaVega – 1,240
  215. Jeffrey Ross – 1,239
  216. Noah Galloway – 1,233
  217. Kyle Massey – 1,202
  218. Josie Maran – 1,174
  219. Betsey Johnson – 1,112
  220. Chris Soules – 1,112
  221. Riker Lynch – 1,104
  222. Rob Kardashian – 1,070
  223. Trista Sutter – 1,028
  224. Melissa Rycroft – 993
  225. Sean Lowe – 958
  226. Sadie Robertson – 957
  227. Rumer Willis – 945
  228. Jake Pavelka – 940
  229. Ingo Rademacher – 937
  230. Brant Daugherty – 808
  231. Aiden Turner – 777
  232. Charlotte McKinney – 762
  233. Willow Shields – 709
  234. Ashley Hamilton – 698
  235. Hayes Grier – 0
  236. Alek Skarlatos – 0

Molly Fitzpatrick is senior editor of Fusion's Pop & Culture section. Her interests include movies about movies, TV shows about TV shows, and movies about TV shows, but not so much TV shows about movies.

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