It was time to get out the Kleenex as the remaining celebrities examined their most defining moments on Most Memorable Year Night on Dancing with the Stars. Maks was visibly back in the ballroom and there wasn’t much time for nonsense in between things so that everyone had time to convey their greatest triumphs and struggles. Most Memorable Year Night is always an inspirational night, as we’re given glimpses into the celebrities’ personal lives, and this season was no exception. Let’s see how your favorites fared on this fourth week of competition:
Frankie Muniz and Witney Carson, Quickstep
It was refreshing that instead of dwelling upon the year Malcolm in the Middle hit it big, Frankie chose to focus on the present. However, it was heartbreaking when he admitted that he likely can’t remember everything from his past because he’s had nine concussions and several mini-strokes. Wow. Dancing a Quickstep to “Adventure of a Lifetime” by Coldplay, I loved the twinkling fireworks effect at the beginning of their dance – it was so cool! Len called it light and fluffy, reminiscent of Yorkshire pudding but cautioned Frankie to work on his footwork. Bruno said he knows how to put on the glitz and glamour, while Carrie Ann found his joy contagious and alluring. She called his dance neat and clean and proclaimed that Frankie is back in the ballroom!
Terrell Owens and Cheryl Burke, Viennese Waltz
2012 was Terrell’s most memorable year because it was the year he lost his grandmother, who was a strong presence in his life. She was diagnosed with dementia in 1996, which was his rookie year in football. Dancing a Viennese Waltz to “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston, I finally felt an emotional connection to Terrell this week. He looked charismatic and my heart went out to him when he was crying afterwards. Bruno called it his most accomplished performance to date because his flow and posture were beautiful. Carrie Ann admired how much he’s grown with poise and a newfound elegance in the competition. Len congratulated them for a well-crafted routine full of emotion. It was a well-deserved trio of 8’s from the judges.
Nikki Bella and Artem Chigvintsev, Contemporary
Nikki’s most memorable year was 2016 when she found out her neck pains were more serious than anyone knew. She came back from injury to remain in the ring, so it was only fitting that she danced her Contemporary piece in a makeshift wrestling ring to “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten. It wasn’t the best Contemporary routine I’ve ever witnessed on the program, but it did make her seem more like a real person to me instead of just a diva. Carrie Ann called it a breakthrough performance because Nikki connected the body with the heart, and she praised it for being newfound artistry with inner dialog in her movements. Len liked it, saying it was very creative and dynamic, showing off both her dance and athletic skills. Bruno called her a powerful dominatrix, likening it to a contemporary interpretation of the Kama Sutra. Yeah, he sometimes makes things creepy.
Nick Lachey and Peta Murgatroyd, Contemporary
Surprise, surprise. Nick’s most memorable year was the year he proposed to Vanessa. Does anyone else get a little sick about hearing about their picture-perfect marriage? Dancing a Contemporary to “Falling Slowly” by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, Nick finally found his element. He’s never looked more sincere and vulnerable on the dance floor – I actually loved it. Len said it was touching and poignant and commended him for showing his sensitivity, while Bruno said he was light on his feet with great energy but told him to watch his balance. Carrie Ann thought it was beautifully choreographed to show off Nick’s body movements in the best possible way. With such high praises, I was surprised to see two 7’s in his scores.
Lindsay Stirling and Mark Ballas, Viennese Waltz
This has been an emotional year for Lindsay – her father recently passed away from cancer. Her Viennese Waltz set to “Anchor” by Mindy Gledhill was an ethereal, heartfelt tribute, down to Mark adopting her father’s signature style (he was actually wearing his hat and scarf – those weren’t props from the wardrobe department). The clouds were truly breathtaking, and I couldn’t stop crying from start to finish. Bruno called it gorgeous and magical – a beautiful dream that you never want to wake up from. Carrie Ann was verklempt. She loved the artistry and chemistry and thanked Lindsay for being herself. Len said it had a floating quality to it and likened it to a Banksy painting – I think he was referring to “Balloon Girl” – because it possessed such great imagination. However, he would’ve liked to have seen a little more Viennese Waltz content. (Boo!)
Derek Fisher and Sharna Burgess, Jazz
Derek’s most memorable year involved his 10-month-old daughter’s struggle with an extremely rare eye disease that almost claimed her life and/or vision. He walked away from his multi-million-dollar NBA contract to care for his daughter, which gave me a newfound respect for Derek. Dancing a Jazz routine to “Move On Up” by Curtis Mayfield, I think he did his daughter proud tonight. Carrie Ann thanked him for being a leader with good values. She loved that the dance was a celebration, though she did note that they were a little bit out of sync. Len said it was upbeat and uplifting, calling it his best dance to date. Bruno said they were busy buzzing bees on a summer meadow, but he loved it for its joyfulness.
Jordan Fisher and Lindsay Arnold, Contemporary
Jordan’s most memorable year was being adopted by his grandparents because his mother was unfit to take care of him. Dancing a Contemporary to “Take Us Home” by Us the Duo, Jordan is so amazing to watch because his body movements are so beautifully expressive. Any other season, he would be shining in a class all to himself (though Lindsay is giving him a brilliant run for his money). Len praised him for singing the National Anthem at a Rams game fantastic and then for dancing fantastic. Bruno called it exquisitely flawless and admires how he dances with open-hearted sincerity, saying it was a work of art. Carrie Ann said he made her cry with his pure love and gratitude. Jordan was awarded the first 10’s of the season but still not the coveted perfect score (thanks a lot, Len).
Sasha Pieterse and Gleb Savchenko, Foxtrot
Wow, I hadn’t realized how long Pretty Little Liars lasted. 2016 was a struggle for Sasha because that chapter of her life ended and she was diagnosed with her condition that caused her to gain weight. However, she also started a new life chapter because she got engaged. Dancing a Foxtrot to “Over My Head (Cable Car)” by The Fray, she was much improved from last week. Bruno said she was back on track with a natural grace and glowing energy, while Carrie Ann loved seeing her transition and the fantastic storytelling. Len liked the quality of the Foxtrot content, saying it was well done. Don’t call it a comeback with three 8’s; she’s been here for years.
Vanessa Lachey and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Rumba
Vanessa’s proudest achievement in life is her family. So, when she had her third child prematurely, nothing challenged her as much. She chose to dance her Rumba to husband Nick’s “Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)” because the song helped her family through a really difficult time. It was a wise choice; that was probably her best dance to date. I think there might be some truth to the rumors surrounding this couple having drama behind the scenes last week – did anyone else note how subdued Maks was during the routine and in the package? (And then he made some kind of short speech about how real the emotions were that it even made him cry beforehand – very unMaks-like behavior.) Carrie Ann felt it was the perfect dance for Vanessa because she was able to dig deep emotionally while she was dancing (though she did note a few wobbles). Len commended Maks for giving him the right Rumba choreography, while Bruno said it possessed lovely lines and shapes.
Drew Scott and Emma Slater, Jive
2007 was the year that changed Drew’s life. He wanted to put real estate aside and make it as an actor on TV. However, it didn’t pan out for him. That’s when he decided to combine real estate with TV and included his twin brother Jonathan in on the act. Dancing a Jive to “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen, I loved it. Drew continues to improve, and what a treat having Jonathan join the dance! Len said nothing will stop Drew now because it was twice the energy and fun and his best dance thus far. Bruno thought he was hallucinating at first but called it a full-on jive with a feel-good factor. Carrie Ann has decided Jonathan is Drew’s secret weapon. She said she loved it, but she told him to watch his hands during the dance (he apparently makes weird pronging gestures).
Victoria Arlen and Val Chmerkovskiy, Foxtrot
I knew Victoria’s story would be extra emotional because of her incredible journey from being paralyzed to being able to walk again. Dancing a Foxtrot to “I Lived” by OneRepublic, they saved the best for last. The visual transformation from her dancing in a wheelchair to seeing her be able to dance on her feet had quite an impact. Bruno said what she’s achieved is beyond belief and praised her for dancing like a star tonight. Carrie Ann loves that they get to be part of her magical journey. Len called her inspirational, saying it was a joyful, lovely experience that should inspire all of America. That’s rare for Len.
After such an emotionally-charged night full of breakthroughs, it was difficult to say goodbye to someone. It was revealed that Nick & Peta and Derek & Sharna were in jeopardy. Ultimately, it was Derek & Sharna who were sent packing. I enjoyed watching Derek dance, but I was at peace that he went before Nick. Next week the program returns with Disney Night and another elimination. Who do you think will be going home next?
Which dance had you reaching for the Kleenex? Did the right star go home? Tell us in the comments below!