Dancing With The Stars Commemorates A Car Crash
James Hinchcliffe recalls the time he crashed his car and flatlined, while the other celebrities evoke their own noteworthy years.
Tonight's theme is the "most memorable year," which always gets super-sentimental. I feel bad critiquing a dance someone created to remember their dead father or whatever. I mean, not that bad, but kind of bad. Tom announces at the end of the night that there is no elimination this week, so the whole thing feels like a waste of time, if you ask me. I mean, obviously people like sappy shit. The Hallmark Channel exists. It's just not my jam. Also, I miss Len. The remaining judges get too caught up in the emotion of the routines and don't judge the technical aspects of the dancing. Anyway, your rankings:
9. Calvin Johnson Jr. and Lindsay: Jazz
In 2012, Calvin broke Jerry Rice's record for single season receiving yards. Lindsay, on the other hand, graduated from high school. Sigh. I guess the producers decided a career high wasn't sappy enough because Calvin also has to dedicate his dance to his father. Calvin can really move, even if he sometimes looks a little bit awkward due to his long legs. They do at least three lifts, which look amazing, but I would have liked more footwork. The routine ends with Jerry Rice throwing a pass to Calvin, and then Calvin gives the football to his dad, just like he did when he broke the record. I love Calvin and I love how he dances, but this routine had way too many gimmicks. The judges love him too and give small things he can improve. Scores: 24/30.
8. Ryan Lochte and Cheryl: Contemporary
Ryan says that his most memorable year was 2008, when he won his first individual gold medal. I do kind of feel for Ryan Lochte and any other male swimmers who hit their prime in the past twelve years because, you know, Michael Phelps. Any one of them might have dominated in another era, but because of their birth year, they will always be second best to that freak of nature. Ryan is actually a pretty good dancer but contemporary is not my favorite, because it always looks like the routines a toddler would make up when you just turn on music and they move around. I don't really understand what the message of this routine is either. It's fine. Ryan is also a weird runner; he runs off the floor to hug his mom like Phoebe on Friends. The judges praise Ryan for continuing to work hard and come back better each week. Scores: 24/30.
7. Amber Rose and Maks: Samba
Amber wants her dance to be a celebration of women and moms in particular, because her son was born in 2013. During rehearsals, Amber seems to be feeling powerful, but when they get to the walkthrough and blocking rehearsal, Amber keeps missing steps. Maks is not the partner I would personally want in this situation; his means of motivation is to basically say, "Suck it up and go again." That probably works for some people, but not for Amber and it wouldn't for me. Anyway, Amber's samba is above average but not what I would call great. Her attitude and smile are perfect but her footwork leaves a bit to be desired. There's one pass where she seems really unsure. I think Maks should work on simpler choreography where she feels rock solid instead of pushing her to do more so that she feels unsure. Also, they've got her in another turtleneck, which I don't love, but it's completely bejeweled and looks amazing. I just wish it had a scoop neck or something. It wasn't as good as last week, but better than the weeks before. The judges remind her to give as much when she's with Maks as she does when dancing solo. Scores: 24/30.
6. Maureen McCormick and Artem: Foxtrot
Maureen's most memorable year was 1985, when she met her husband. After The Brady Bunch ended, Maureen got into heavy partying and became addicted to cocaine, and she credits her husband for saving her. Maureen really puts ALL of the emotion into this dance, and it's beautiful. I would have liked a little more content at this point in the competition, but she executed what she was given gracefully. The judges love the progress they are seeing in Maureen. Backstage, Maureen's husband very sweetly compliments how amazing she is and poor Artem is just crying over the emotion of the whole thing. Scores: 24/30.
5. Jana Kramer and Gleb: Contemporary
Jana's most memorable year is THIS year, because she had a baby. I feel like that's cheating. I'm glad that someone has had a great 2016, though. Most people I know think 2016 has been garbage. Anyway, the song "In My Daughter's Eyes" is perfect for her situation because it's all about how her daughter thinks that she's a hero, but in reality, her daughter saved her. The emotion of the routine is amazing, and the dancing is graceful and expressive. However, they screwed up a lift. Other than that, it was very nice. The judges are also very moved. Scores: 26/30.
4. Terra Jolé and Sasha: Contemporary
Terra's most memorable year was 2013. Her father was always her biggest supporter, and 2013 was the year he passed away and also the year she broke through in the entertainment industry, and she's sad that he didn't get to see that. This is a bit literal for me; they are dancing as if they're in heaven and there are actual pearly gates in the background. That said, Sasha is figuring out ways to use Terra's stature to their advantage. I'm sure Terra is feeling very real emotion during her routine, but I kind of didn't buy it? She's not a great actor. This was not my favorite of her routines, but the judges seemed to love it. Scores: 27/30.
3. Laurie Hernandez and Val: Paso Doble
Laurie has to figure out how to come back after a perfect score. Her most memorable year is 2016 because, you know, gold medal. During rehearsals, Laurie gets frustrated and when she experiences negative emotions, she goes into hiding instead of sharing what she's feeling. So she's learning. She's also a teenager, for crying out loud. Anyway, her paso is not my favorite. It's non-traditional at first, and I had to double-check the style because it felt contemporary. I also don't like Laurie's dramatic expressions; she's making duck face like she's taking a selfie. Her expression doesn't change throughout. That said, her intensity and posture are amazing. It's tough to come back after a perfect score, because everything has to be exact, and it wasn't quite there. The judges didn't love the choreography and saw some flaws in the performance. Scores: 25/30.
2. Marilu Henner and Derek: Viennese Waltz
Okay, so I've been complaining about all of the other sappy roll-in packages but this one actually got to me. Marilu's most memorable year was 1978, because it was the year her mother died and also the year she booked her star-making role on Taxi. Her mother wanted to be a dancer, and made Marilu promise to never hold herself back. Marilu has been criticized this season for not letting go, and she vows to let go and just dance this week. And Marilu does exactly that. This is her best dance, for sure. She is very free and open in her movements, unlike the hypercontrol she had in past weeks. I'm really proud of her. Carrie Ann and Julianne run off the judges' podium and hug her. Bruno hugs Derek, which cracks me up. He's been waiting for that opportunity for YEARS. Scores: 27/30.
1. James Hinchcliffe and Sharna: Tango
James had a huge car crash in 2015, and he was injured so badly that he died due to blood loss while being taken into surgery. This was eighteen months ago. And now he's dancing on this show, which is physically quite amazing. His routine is great in terms of attitude, attack, and posture. His footwork gets a little dicey in parts, but I'm nitpicking. I have to wonder about someone like James; did he know he was a good dancer before going on this show? I mean, he's SO good and it's not like he was a performer or singer or had a dance background as far as we know. The judges heap praise on him. Scores: 29/30.