Dancing with the Stars: Can it help a career?

"Dancing with the Stars," now in its 13th season on ABC, offers its celebrity contenders a huge amount of exposure – but not much of a career boost. Italian actress Elisabetta Canalis, bounced Tuesday in the second round, is likely to go back to her preshow level of popularity, as have most of the 160 "Dancing With the Stars" contestants. But a few have bucked the trend. Using the show's extraordinary exposure – this year's premiere netted 18.6 million viewers, nearly six times the highest ratings that DWTS contestant Nancy Grace ever got on her eponymous HLN show and more than double what DWTS competitor and US soccer goalie Hope Solo got in the Women’s World Cup final this summer – these five contestants have seen their careers take off. Can you guess who was tops?

5.Mario Lopez

Actors Eva La Rue (left) and Mario Lopez announce Adam Rodriguez as the winner of Favorite TV Actor for "CSI: Miami" at the ALMA Awards in Santa Monica, Calif., earlier this month. Since taking second place on DWTS in season 3, Mr. Lopez has become a host on 'Extra' and twice hosted the Miss America Pageant. (Jason Redmond/AP/File)

Mr. Lopez has been working steadily in television since his best-known role, as jock A.C. Slater on the early ‘90’s sitcom “Saved by the Bell.” In the years running up to 'Dancing with the Stars,' however, his hosting duties included the failed men’s talk show “The Other Half,” a pet talent competition on Animal Planet, and a kids’ game show entitled “Masters of the Maze.” Since his strong showing in the ballroom – he came in second in season 3 – he’s become a regular host of the TV entertainment magazine “Extra,” hosted six seasons of “America’s Best Dance Crew” on MTV, twice hosted the Miss America Pageant, and even starred on Broadway in a revival of the musical “A Chorus Line.” Not quite A-list stuff, but not dog-talent shows, either.

Bristol Palin

Bristol Palin and her professional dance partner Mark Ballas are shown as they perform during the ABC reality series 'Dancing with the Stars' finals in Hollywood last year. Most DWTS contestants don't get much of a career boost from the show, but Ms. Palin is an exception. (Adam Larkey/ABC Handout/Reuters/File)

Before "Dancing with the Stars," teen mom Bristol Palin was known mostly as a cautionary tale and political liability for her mother, Sarah Palin, former vice presidential nominee and governor of Alaska. But on the show, Bristol earned praise for her down-to-earth demeanor and lack of Hollywood polish, riding a wave of voter popularity all the way to the finals of the show's 11th season. She took third place. Since Dancing with the Stars, she’s released a book, moved to Los Angeles, and begun filming a reality show for the BIO channel.

Nicole Scherzinger

Singer Nicole Scherzinger performs during the second day of the iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas earlier this month. Her star appeared on the wane before her "Dancing with the Stars" win in season 10. Since then, her career has taken off. (Steve Marcus/Reuters)

Ms. Scherzinger first rose to prominence as the lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls, a pop group that enjoyed huge success in the mid-2000s. In the years that followed, her much-delayed solo debut was shelved, and her star appeared to be fading. Enter "Dancing With the Stars," where a dominant Scherzinger was called “by far, the best dancer we’ve ever had on the show,” by judge Carrie Ann Anaba. Afterwards, her record was finally released, with a single that debuted at No. 1 on the British pop charts. She became a judge on the British version of Simon Cowell’s television talent competition, “The X Factor,” and now serves as a judge on the new US installment of the show. One could argue Scherzinger is experiencing the normal hills and valleys of an entertainment career. But her win on season 10 of DWTS certainly didn't hurt.

Brooke Burke-Charvet

Brooke Burke-Charvet arrives at the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2011, in Los Angeles. After winning season 7 of 'Dancing with the Stars,' Ms. Burke-Charvet has gone on to cohost the show. (Chris Pizzello/AP)

Ms. Burke-Charvet is the most direct example of "Dancing with the Stars" helping out a career. After her win on season 7, she became the program’s cohost in season 10 and has stayed on. If DWTS’s popularity holds steady, she may have landed a regular gig for years to come.

Kelly Osbourne

Kelly Osbourne arrives at the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2011, in Los Angeles. Since her third-place showing at 'Dancing with the Stars,' Ms. Osbourne's career has blossomed. (Matt Sayles/AP)

Since her DWTS stint on season 9, where she won third place, Ms. Osbourne’s successful ventures have included a top-selling book, a weekly advice column in the British gossip magazine Closer, a job as a fashion commentator on E! ‘s “Fashion Police” (opposite Joan Rivers), and a gig as the face for “Material Girl,” a Macy’s clothing line designed by Madonna and her daughter Lourdes. Once known primarily as Ozzy’s daughter, Kelly Osbourne has become known for her sense of style.