Born Chelsie Kay Hightower in Las Vegas, Nevada, and raised in Orem, Utah with five older brothers and her mother and father until they divorced in 2006. She started dancing when she was nine years old and received conventional training since the age of 14. She has been trained in ballroom, jazz, ballet, and hip-hop. Hightower has performed in musical theaters across the United States and won her first national title when she was 11. She was a U.S. Worlds finalist in 2005, and competed on Team USA during the British Open in Blackpool, England. She graduated from Timpanogos High School, then attended Utah Valley University.
At age 18, she made her television debut on season four of So You Think You Can Dance. She is highly remembered for her Emmy nominated performances with Mark Kanemura to a revision of "Bleeding Love" by Leona Lewis choreographed by Nappytabs and with Joshua Allen to "A Los Amigos" choreographed by Dmitry Chaplin. She was eliminated from the U.S. reality TV show on July 31, 2008 after making it to the top six. Hightower was one of two contestants who were never in the bottom 3. After season four, Chelsie has since returned in season eight as an All-Star and in season 10 as a Choreographer and All-Star.
Hightower joined the season eight cast of Dancing with the Stars as a professional Dancer, and was partnered with Ty Murray, a nine-time World Champion rodeo Cowboy. On May 12, 2009, she and Murray were eliminated from the competition with a 4th-place finish. This is Hightower's best finish to date. Her partner for season nine was professional Snowboarder Louie Vito. They were eliminated in week six of the competition, and came in eighth place. For season ten she was partnered with The Bachelor star Jake Pavelka. They were voted off in week six of the competition, and came in seventh place. She was paired with Michael Bolton in season 11. The couple were eliminated in week two. For season 12 she was partnered with Rapper and actor Romeo Miller. They were eliminated in week eight of the competition, and came in fifth place. She was not on season 13 (2011), but returned in season 14 (2012) partnered with Disney Channel star Roshon Fegan. The couple was eliminated on week eight, finishing in sixth place. Hightower earned her highest score and her best average with any partner woth Fegan earning 29/30 for their Foxtrot and earning an average of 25.7. For season 15 (the first "all-stars" season), she was partnered with season five winner Hélio Castroneves. They were voted off during a double elimination in week three and finished in 10th place.
Hightower made an appearance in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Winter 2010 edition (pages 152 and 153) along with three other couples from Dancing with the Stars. On July 8, 2010, she received an Emmy nomination for the "Paso doble/Malagueña" dance that she and Derek Hough performed and co-choreographed for season ten.
From November 1, 2014 through April 19, 2015, Hightower performed with Dancing Pros Live, a touring show in which five dance couples compete and then the audience picks the winner. She was joined on the 50+ city tour by fellow Dancing with the Stars alumni, Edyta Śliwińska and Karina Smirnoff who acted as judges.