Gaining on the successful momentum that helped to shove Dancing with the Stars into popularity the show made a few additional changes when it was time to start casting season three. The first change that was made was the inclusion of an additional celebrity and professional pair. This brought the total number of contestants to twenty-two total with eleven being celebrities. Additionally changes were made to the actual scoring system with the total points being awarded to each pair of contestants being heavily influenced by the total overall voting numbers.
The third season saw the highest viewer numbers so far with a total of 27.8 million viewers tuning in for the season finale that was aired on November 15, 2006. With changes in voting and scoring worked out it was hoped that the competition would be again focused solely on the actual dancing ability. However, this was proven untrue by the scores of both Jerry Springer and also Sara Evans. Additional complications that plagued the season including Sara Evans dropping out after filing for divorce from her husband.
The contestants of season three included:
Tucker Carlson a news anchor for MSNBC was teamed up with professional Elana Grinenko and was the first pair eliminated on September 13, 2006 after the season kicked off on September 12, 2006.
Shanna Moakler the wife of rocker Travis Barker is a former Miss USA, as well as has started in numerous television shows and also appeared in Playboy. Shanna was paired with Jesse DeSoto and was eliminated quickly from the show on September 20, 2006.
Harry Hamlin, an actor was paired with Ashly DelGrosso, however was eliminated on September 27, 2006.
Vivica A. Fox well known for numerous acting roles was paired up with Nick Kosovich and stayed on the show until October 4, 2006.
Willa Ford, the self-proclaimed Bad Girl of Pop was paired with professional Maksim Chmerkovskiy. Following her time on the show, it was rumored that the two were dating, however several weeks later Maksim released a statement denying a relationship outside the dancing competition with Willa.
Sara Evans was paired up with Tony Duvolani. Sara was one of the celebrities to benefit from the popular vote as she was also the subject of many extremely low scores. She withdrew herself from the competition on October 13, 2006 after filing for divorce from her husband.
Jerry Springer daytime talk show host and also former politician was paired together with Kym Johnson. Due to the elimination of Sarah by withdrawal the couple was given an extra week to remain on the show. However, after receiving the popular vote for an extended period of time their luck came to an end and the pair was voted to be eliminated on October 25, 2006.
Monique Coleman the star of several Disney shows was paired together with Louis van Amstel. Popular in many shows for tweens and other similar age groups she performed well and was eventually eliminated on November 1, 2006.
Joey Lawrence the actor most recognized for his roles on Blossom as well as several other television shows. Coming in third place for season three he was paired up with professional Edyta Sliwinska but was eliminated on November 8, 2006.
Mario Lopez, best known for his time spent on the popular teen show Saved by the Bell was paired up with Karina Smirnoff, whom he eventually started dating. Finishing the season in second place, he performed quite well throughout the entire season and finished extremely close to first place.
Emmitt Smith a respected, loved and retired NFL running back was teamed up with Cheryl Burke and performed quite well through the entire season. When the season ended up November 15, 2006, the pair was awarded a first place finish. Barely beating out Mario Lopez and Karina Smirnoff the pair performed well throughout the entire season with only one low score during the third week.