Dancing with the StarsIf Dancing With the Stars fulfilled its promise -- if it featured real stars, that is, rather than a revolving door of D-listers, ex-reality show cast members, and gimmicky attention-grabbers like Bristol Palin -- the motivation behind any given contestant's participation might be legitimately interesting. Did they join the show to promote a charity event? To lose weight? To actually learn how to dance?

As it is, we can pretty much assume that most of the third-tier celebrities on the show are primarily looking to extend their 15 minutes of fame. But as this season's 16-year-old front-runner Zendaya Coleman's contract reveals, for some stars it may be all about the paycheck. It turns out that in just a few weeks of hoofing it onstage, a DWTS contestant can rake in a fair amount of cash.

Back in 2012, it was reported that the professional dancers on the show pull in around $10,000 per week. That's a fair amount of moola, and it's probably a low guess when you consider the veteran pros have surely scored more lucrative contracts by now.

Still, it's nothing compared to what the "stars" can bring home if they manage to avoid elimination. According to Zendaya Coleman's DWTS contract -- which is reportedly standardized among all contestants -- she started with a $125,000 payment for joining the show and being on the first two episodes, then she gets paid as follows:

Weeks 3 & 4: $10,000 per week ($20K total)
Weeks 5 & 6: $20,000 per week ($40K total)
Weeks 7 & 8: $30,000 per week ($60K total)
Weeks 9 & 10: $50,000 per week ($100K total)

If a contestant can make it to the very end, that's a grand total of $345,000 they'll earn.

Now, it's true these aren't exactly standout salaries in the world of reality television (The Hills' Lauren Conrad made a jaw-dropping $125,000 per episode back in 2009), but for a cast that mostly consists of washed-up has-beens, it's not bad. I mean, no offense to Andy Dick, but where else is he going to make that kind of cash these days?

Personally, I think it's time the show creators go ahead and call this series what it is: Dancing With the Who? (Or Dancing With the Where Are They Nows?, I'm not picky). But hey, at least the folks who join the cast each year are getting a decent shot at padding their retirement accounts.

Are you at all surprised by the Dancing With the Stars salaries?


Image via ABC