Last night on Dancing With The Stars season 14 the eleven remaining dancers interpreted their most memorable year through dance. So the show was as interesting for the back stories as it was for the performances.
First thing to note was that William was in a shirt, though, so he’s not taking Carrie Ann’s advice to wear fewer clothes for higher marks. I’m kinda glad about that.
The opening dance saw soap star Jack Wagner and his professional dance partner Anna Trebunskaya dancing the Samba. His memorable year was 2011, when he met his long lost daughter for the first time. Awwww! So the samba was used to express his joy and I was crying already, before we even saw his daughter in the audience. I don’t think I’ve ever cried at a DWTS first dance! Len loved it too, saying it was his best dance. “He got the party started,” just as Bruno said. I was uplifted, like Carrie Ann.
Scores: 8-8-8 for a 24 out of 30.
Maria Menounos was next, dancing the Rumba with Derek Hough. The memorable year theme seemed to falter a little here as Maria chose 1988 for how hard her parents worked to take care of her family and how she loved watching Material Girl. A bit of an anticlimax after a long lost daughter, wasn’t it? But there was nothing anticlimactic about the performance. Bruno said it was full of fluidity, sensuality and she danced with the melodic climb, which is very hard to do. Carrie Ann and Len both picked up on the sexuality of the dance. Carrie Ann called it “vertical and horizontal expression of the true horizontal desire. Breathtaking.” And although it was a bit hesitant, Len said it was “a mix of ballroom and bedroom with good technique. Even without a tear-jerking back story the performance was impressive.
Scores: 9-9-9=27 out of 30
Then Gladys Knight danced the Foxtrot with Tristan MacManus. Her memorable year was 1957, for her first tour with the Pips and meeting and working some of music’s greatest legends. She dedicated her dance to Sam Cooke and what a tribute it was. Both Carrie Ann and Len picked up on how she had really improved her frame. I loved Len wanting to be a Pip and she really was “gorgeous” as Bruno said, commenting on her grace and finesse. A real touch of old style Hollywood this dance was beautiful and smooth.
Scores: 8-8-8=24 out of 30
Disney star Roshan Fegan danced the Samba next with Chelsie Hightower. His memorable year was 1996 when he saw Michael Jackson on stage for the first time. Typically, Len wanted something more traditional in his Samba, but he liked how Roshan gives it 100%. It was like watching Michael Jackson himself, according to Bruno. I’m not sure that’s true, but Carrie Ann seemed to have it right: a great tribute, but not Roshan’s best dance. It was still pretty good!
Scores: 8-8-9=25 out of 30.
Singer and songwriter Gavin DeGraw went next, dancing the Rumba with Karina Smirnoff. His memorable year was 1998 when he went to a Billy Joel concert and knew he wanted to play music. He moved to NYC and his father went door to door to help him get gigs. Bruno remarked on his continual improvement and liked Gavin’s extension. It was “sexy and sensual, 2 just as Carrie Ann said. Maybe it was his “good hips” that Len remarked upon. And it’s true that there was more musicality in his dancing than previously. I thought he portrayed emotion well too, not just when he hugged his father and cried, although I liked that too.
Scores: 8-8-8=24 out of 30.
Could Katherine Jenkins possibly keep up her impressive run of leading the pack again with Mark Ballas? Hers was a sad back story. Her memorable year was 1996 when she discovered her father had lung cancer and then lost him to the disease. Darn I was crying again, especially when Carrie Ann really saw the spirit of Katherine’s dad in the dance. There was not enough in ballroom hold for traditionalist Len and I can see what he meant. But as he also said, Katherine “is a wonderful dancer.” Bruno raved about the “sensational” dance. I totally loved it and I whooped for joy at her scores.
Scores: 10-9-10=29 out of 30
Sherri Shepherd did a great job on the Rumba with her professional dance partner Val Chmerkovskiy. Her memorable year was 2005 when her son Jeffery was born at 25 weeks. The routine was really heartfelt, as Len noticed. Both he and Bruno complimented her on a job well done. “Mama can move!” said Bruno and this week for Carrie Ann, Sherri’s lines were the best she has seen. And yet again I cried.
Scores: 8-8-8-24 out of 30.
Melissa Gilbert danced the jive next with Maks Chmerkvskiy. Her memorable year was 2010 and for once I didn’t cry at the sad back story because I knew she survived breaking her back. This was definitely Melissa’s best dance. All the judges seemed to agree. “Excellent! Beautiful dance!” said Bruno. Carrie Ann called it “dynamic!” which is exactly what the jive has to be. “Well done,” said Len, finally welcoming Melissa to the competition. She seemed much more relaxed this week and that helped her clean up her footwork. I loved her enthusiasm too.
Scores: 8-8-8=24 out of 30
Jaleel White and his professional dance partner Kym Johnson danced the rumba in recognition of the year he became Stefan Urquel. Given the comments, I was a little surprised by the great scores. Carrie Ann said he is back in the game and he has a unique style. Len only called it “competent” and said he needs to work on his upper body and arms though. Bruno said it was cool and smooth. And look at those scores. He does have good musicality and is certainly a sexy dancer, though so I am not arguing with the marks.
Scores: 9-8-8=25 out of 30.
Spanish Soap Star William Levy danced a hot and steamy salsa with Cheryl Burke for his memorable year: 1995, the year he came to America. Len thought he conquered the salsa, which has been the downfall of many celebrities in past seasons. There was some messing around from Bruno, urging William closer before shaking his hand and then jumping up and screaming about how amazing his salsa was. It had Carrie Ann wanting to go to Cuba. “Ridiculously hot!” I loved his hip action and I may have been confused by his abs.
Scores: 9-9-10=28 out of 30
NFL star Donald Driver danced the rumba with Peta Murgatroyd. His memorable year was another sad one: 2010, the year his best friend died of cancer. It was so good that Carrie Ann forgave him the lifts, because she was so touched she was crying. Len said it was “a little hectic but awesome.” I agree, so I can see why Bruno raved about it. The moving into the light at the end was inspired and I was a mess.
Scores: 9-8-9=26 out of 30
That was it for a night of stunning scores and almost as stunning performances. But it will probably be the back stories that will live with me the longest. No one really deserved to be knocked out of the competition this week as they all did so well, but on Tuesday night, that’s exactly what will happen.
Who do you think has danced their last dance in the DWTS 2012 competition.