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10. Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough: Viennese Waltz
Many of the season 16 winners' routines were technically near-perfect, but this waltz (featuring Derek's fave prop: a mirror) signaled an emotional breakthrough for country singer Kellie.
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9. Shawn Johnson, Derek Hough, Mark Ballas: Samba Trio
This season 15 romp through the Pride Lands (Mark is sort of like Rafiki) is one of those dances where viewers think ''What the hell was that?'' followed a split-second later by ''Who cares? I loved it!''
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8. Jonathan Roberts and Anna Trebunskaya: Interlude from Heaven
I know, I know, this wasn't a ''real dance.'' I don't care! The married (at the time) couple's dreamy, floating-through-the-clouds season 10 exhibition to Sarah McLachlan's ''Angel'' has become the emblematic routine for my entire Dancing With the Stars experience.
(Seriously: If there were a movie of Jonathan/Anna and Edyta Sliwinska/Alec Mazo trading off routines while Sarah McLachlan presented a two-hour-long medley, I would go to the sad little theater that carried it every Sunday afternoon just to chill out.)
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7. Drew Lachey and Cheryl Burke: Freestyle
There've been so, so many fantastic freestyles over the years that have not so much to do with ballroom, but season 2's Big & Rich breakout is the one that started 'em all. Remember, when in doubt: Save a horse, ride a cowboy, and brazenly disregard Planet Mirrorballus' 'no denim' policy.
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6. Joanna Krupa and Derek Hough: Futuristic Paso Doble
Season 9 marked the point at which Derek fully unleashed his mad-genius streak as the ballroom's resident choreography outlaw. Turned out The Future was much shinier than we'd ever imagined.
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5. Helio Castroneves and Julianne Hough: Quickstep
Everything about this season 5 stunner worked: Helio's crazy Banana Man costume, Julianne's choreography of a fast-paced dance suited to her partner's strengths, and that 'surprise' kiss at the end. The pure exhilaration of it all was something future couples would attempt to replicate for years.
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4. Apolo Anton Ohno and Julianne Hough: Cha Cha
Many pick the samba as their fave dance from this winning couple (hello, Julianne's tiger outfit) but I remember the smooth 'n' sassy royal blue cha cha as Apolo's turning point from athlete to sex machine. You know something's suddenly working, hip action-wise, when Len Goodman whips out his ''too raunchy'' paddle!
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3. Donald Driver, Peta Murgatroyd, and Karina Smirnoff: Jive Trio
Donald doesn't get nearly enough credit for his utter fabulousness, and his jubilant efforts in the first-ever ''dance trio'' (ahem, threesome!) — in which he flicked and kicked in sync with two of the hottest female pros — absolutely helped secure his season 14 win.
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2. Mel B and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Paso Doble
This season 5 ''Free Your Mind'' sizzler, which featured memorable ''split walks'' across the ballroom floor, set the gold standard for what a bad-ass paso doble could really be on this show. I will never forget the way the cheesy DWTS house band changed En Vogue's lyrics from ''That doesn't mean that I'm out sellin' dope'' to ''That doesn't mean my life is without hope.'' It just doesn't get better/more ridiculous than that.
And dance talent aside — no couple has ever come close to rocking leather dominatrix-wear like these two. Good God!
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1. Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke: Argentine Tango
Similarly, ''quintessential Latin lover with an intense animal magnetism'' Gilles (according to Bruno, of course) and Cheryl raised the bar with this super-sultry slither in season 8. Screw the rumba — the real ''bedroom dance'' was now the Argentine tango. Many amazing routines would dazzle us later — Nicole Scherzinger and Derek, Jennifer Grey and Derek, Zendaya and Val Chmerkovskiy to name a few standouts — but the magic started with Gilles and Cheryl.