Dancing With The Stars Serves Up Memories
Each celebrity chooses a most memorable year to commemorate through dance. Some are happy, some are sad, but all will do their best to wring tears from your eyes. (With dry ice if necessary.)
I know every season, I rail against the "Most Memorable Year" theme, because I feel like it's ridiculous for the contestants under twenty-five or so, and everyone usually picks something heart-wrenching and traumatic. If it were one routine or even two, fine. But to watch routine after routine about a dead parent or grandparent gets to be a little much. I also skip the parts in People magazine about the everyday Americans who overcame insurmountable odds or personal tragedy, if that tells you where my head's at. Here are your rankings:
10. Mr. T and Kym: Waltz
Mr. T's most memorable year is 1995, when he was diagnosed with cancer. He had to draw on his faith in God to get through the difficult treatments and he will be dancing to "Amazing Grace" to honor God in his own way. This is the slowest waltz ever. Mr. T looks like someone's dad who is really nervous to do the father-daughter dance at a wedding. Bless his heart. He doesn't forget any of the steps but there's not much emotion in the motions. It feels like he's just trying to get through it without screwing up, although at the end, he seems moved. The judges talk about how much they admire Mr. T and were moved by his spirit, but they don't say much about the actual dance moves. Scores: 28/40.
9. Erika Jayne and Gleb: Cha Cha
Erika's most memorable year was when she moved to New York City to pursue her dreams. And she's dancing to Madonna, "Express Yourself." She starts out dancing alone and goofs up the first bit. And then in hold, she looks really tentative. This is not her best, and I think she knows it. I don't know if that first flub threw her off, but she seems a little scared of the routine. Carrie Ann thinks she challenged herself, but Len thinks she's plateaued and comes out with the sexy moves every week, and he wants to see more dancing. Scores: 30/40.
8. David Ross and Lindsay: Viennese Waltz
Obviously, his most memorable year is going to be his final year of playing baseball, when the Cubs won the World Series. I don't love the choreography in this routine. It's really fast for a waltz and David looks like he's running around the stage to be in place. He doesn't screw up, although his posture could be better, but I always felt like he was rushing through each movement to make sure he wasn't late for the next one. The judges loved his enthusiasm but they didn't love his posture and squattiness, if that's a word. Scores: 31/40.
7. Nick Viall and Peta: Rumba
Nick's most memorable year is LAST YEAR SEE THIS IS WHY I GET MAD deep breaths, deeeeeep breaths. Anyway, it's because he finally met his fiancée last year blah blah call me back when they actually get married. Their routine is going to recreate the experience of being on The Bachelor which means lots of women fighting over Nick bleh. ABC is really going all-out to sell this dude as a sex symbol and I'm not buying it. I really dislike this guy. I will say that Nick looks good while dancing with the various women and has good hip action, though his arms aren't great. At the end of the routine, he abandons Peta and grabs his fiancée Vanessa out of the audience and dips her. And then he lifts her and kisses her and her dress rides up in the back and I think her butt was showing? Luckily the camera angle wasn't such that it was televised. The judges thought Nick showed more promise tonight, although it wasn't perfect. Scores: 30/40.
6. Bonner Bolton and Sharna: Foxtrot
Bonner has been a bullrider his whole life, and in 2016, he was having the greatest success of his life. In January, he was thrown from a bull and just had a fluke bad landing. He was paralyzed, but eventually recovered enough that he's dancing now, obviously. I'm not sure how I feel about this foxtrot. His posture is great, but there's something weird about his footwork. And there doesn't seem to be much content. The judges like his dancing, although they offer some technique improvements he could make. Scores: 32/40.
5. Normani Kordei and Val: Rumba
Normani appreciates the sacrifices her family made so that she could become famous, and decides to celebrate 2012, which is the year she went on X Factor as part of Fifth Harmony. So then the members of Fifth Harmony sing while she dances with Val and I was quite confused by there only being four members, but apparently one member left the group in December. Do they have to change their name now? Normani is a beautiful dancer, but this rumba is way too fast and her movements are too sharp instead of flowing. I also didn't feel any chemistry between her and Val. Len wants to see more rumba in their rumba but the other judges loved it. Scores: 32/40.
4. Heather Morris and Alan: Cha Cha
Heather Morris's most memorable year was 2015, when she got married. At their wedding, they played the song "Shut Up And Dance" and had their son come out and dance with them, so she'll be dancing to that tonight. Heather starts out wearing a wedding dress and then rips off the skirt so that she's wearing these pleated satin pants that I really hate. I can't look at her dancing because I'm so distracted by how awful those pants are. Her dancing is great as usual, although it does look a little like she's overdancing like maybe she's got too much adrenaline. This wasn't my favorite routine she's done. The judges really love it, though. I guess they didn't get distracted by her terrible trousers. Scores: 35/40.
3. Simone Biles and Sasha: Viennese Waltz
Simone's biological mother was a drug and alcohol addict who neglected her, so she was placed into foster care at age three, but then in 2000, she was adopted by her grandparents. Simone seems strangely wobbly in this routine. Her posture is not great. This is the first time I've felt some emotion from her during the routine, though, and I'll take more emotion and less perfection any day. She ends the routine by hugging her grandparents in the audience and all three are sobbing. The judges are happy to see her bringing out some feelings in her dancing. Scores: 36/40.
2. Nancy Kerrigan and Artem: Foxtrot
Nancy doesn't pick her Olympics year, as you might think. Instead, she talks about how she wanted three kids before thirty, and she had the first one right away but then she had six miscarriages in eight years, which wow. That is tough. So then she used IVF and had her second son, and later had a daughter. So her most memorable year is a year that isn't mentioned. When her second son was born, maybe? Nancy is a lot more graceful in this foxtrot than she was in her waltz in Week 1. And boy, are there a lot of turns. After one long one, she looks a little wobbly but covers it up well. I thought this was technically her best dance but I didn't feel the emotion. The judges think this showed great improvement and they think she can do even more. Scores: 33/40.
1. Rashad and Emma: Contemporary
Rashad is super-honest about how his relationship with his father wasn't great growing up, because his father drank a lot and thought that providing for his family financially was the only way to show love. And then after Rashad went to a Division I college to play football, he found out that his father had to have his leg amputated. So he transferred colleges to be closer to his family, even thought it might mean he wouldn't get scouted as closely. Ultimately, he was able to repair his relationship with his father.
The dance is really beautiful. I continue to be impressed with how open Rashad is with his emotions, and how much he just throws himself into the dance. Many times on this show, the athletes hold back a little bit because they don't want to be seen as less than manly by dancing full-out, but Rashad dances beautifully (and looks foxy doing it). Emma really takes advantage of his physical strength in this routine with lots of lifts and at the end, Rashad goes over and hugs his father and they both cry. Oh shit, you guys. I'm crying too. How did that happen? All of the judges are crying too. Julianne compliments his vulnerability and thanks him for giving other men the courage to be themselves. Scores: 39/40.
The couples in jeopardy are Mr. T and Kym along with Erika and Gleb. And of course, Mr. T and Kym are going home. I mean, Erika hasn't been the best dancer, but if Mr. T made it longer than she did? That would be a shame. Mr. T has been great and inspirational, but he's not a good dancer, and if he went any further, he'd be taking a slot from someone more deserving, so this is the perfect week for him to go.