Last night was the annual heart wrenching “most memorable year” episode of Dancing with the Stars in which each performer chooses a life-changing event and dances to a song from the year in which it occurred. For me, nothing will top last year’s performance by DWTS winner J.R. Martinez who performed a rumba dedicated to those who lost their lives in military service but last night was packed with good performances. Let’s see how the season 14 Dancing with the Stars cast did on what is sure to be the most emotional week of the season.
Celebrity: Katherine Jenkins
Partner: Mark Ballas
Opera singer Katherine Jenkins dedicated her waltz to the year 1996 when she learned her father had lung cancer. She and the judges were teary-eyed at the end of her performance, that is, until Katherine and partner Mark Ballas became overjoyed by the first set of 10s of the season. There’s no denying, Katherine’s good!
Celebrity: William Levy
Partner: Cheryl Burke
Soap star William Levy did a sassy salsa in honor of the year 1995 when he came to the States from his native Cuba when his stepdad found asylum after being a political prisoner. The dance was super fun but I feel like I saw a few mistakes in there.
Celebrity: Maria Menounos
Partner: Derek Hough
Maria Menounos shared a story about finding quarters while her immigrant parents worked as janitors back in 1988. The 10-year-old would pop the coins into a jukebox to dance to Madonna’s "Material Girl." Hopefully she didn’t dance like she did last night! The judges couldn’t get over the “mix of ballroom with a touch of bedroom” and when asked by host Brooke Burke Charvet if they kissed on the dance floor, partner Derek Hough refused to answer….
Celebrity: Donald Driver
Partner: Petra Murgatroyd
Donald Driver picked 2010, the year his best friend died of cancer. I’ve never seen the football player so serious but his performance was, as judge Len Goodman put it, “top notch.”
Celebrity: Jaleel White
Partner: Kym Johnson
Jaleel White did not let us down this week! He chose 1996, the year he got to play Stefan Urquelle, Steve Urkel’s super-suave alter ego on Family Matters. It was a little odd how emotional he got about it but personally I’ve been hoping Steve Urkel would come into play at some point!
Celebrity: Roshon Fegan
Partner: Chelsie Hightower
Roshon Fegan chose 1996 the year he got to see his idol Michael Jackson perform on stage. Was it just me or was it confusing that he was dressed up 1970’s style bopping away to Jackson 5? It was pretty cool that Jackson’s choreographer Travis Payne lent a hand in this dance but I personally didn’t love it and agree with the judges that it wasn’t a very samba-y samba!
Celebrity: Melissa Gilbert
Partner: Maks Chmerkovskiy
Love that Melissa Gilbert shook things up with a jive and she came out with a bang. The speed and sharp movements of her opening steps were impressive but unfortunately they gave way to wimpy flip kicks and limp arms. I also didn’t love the hair-whip but after breaking her back in 2010 the actress is probably thrilled to be able to toss her hair like that!
Celebrity: Gladys Knight
Partner: Tristan MacManus
I am just loving Gladys Knight. She danced in honor of 1957 the first year she toured with the Pips and, like everything else, she shared her story with such joy. I’m sad to say her fox trot wasn’t great and she and partner Tristan MacManus wasted a lot of time with the intro before dancing. I imagine we’ll only be seeing these two another week or so but I’m soaking up her positive attitude until then.
Celebrity: Sherri Shepherd
Partner: Val Chmerkovkiy
Sherri Shepherd is usually all sass and silliness but she broke down in tears talking about 2010, the year her son Jeffrey was born at one pound, 10 ounces. I loved watching her interact with her son, sadly her performance wasn’t as fun to watch.
Celebrity: Jack Wagner
Partner: Anna Trebunskaya
Jack Wagner shared an amazing story from just last year when he met his daughter for the first time. Until then the actor had no idea he even had a daughter (who is now 23). While he received good reviews from the judges, Len saying, “this is, for me, your best dance” Wagner finds himself at the back of the pack.
Celebrity: Gavin Degraw
Partner: Karina Smirnooff
Despite being so happy after his performance, Gavin Degraw finds himself at the bottom again after performing to "New York State of Mind" in honor of 1998 the year he moved to the city to pursue his music career. Will the singer avoid DWTS elimination one more time or is this the end of the road? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
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