Tuesday, April 1, 2014

'Dancing With the Stars' recap: A 'Most Memorable' Evening

Tonight it's week three of "Dancing With the Stars," and it's the week when the dancers pick a song and dance that represents the most memorable time in their life. This is always the week when I'm super cynical going in, and then I end up crying like eight times throughout the night at the touching stories the stars tell. I am such a sap.

First, a few housekeeping notes: Robin Roberts is a guest judge this week, which is kind of awesome. She looks fabulous, and I like her! 

Another note: Billy Dee Williams isn't dancing tonight! Very sad! He has a chronic back problem, and his doctor said that he can't dance. They had hoped to do a dance dedicated to his grandchildren, and though he couldn't dance, his grandkids did come out to see him! It was all very cute, but I'm sad that he wasn't able to dance and so has to withdraw from the competition.

Let's have a moment of silence for Lando. 

And now, away we go!

First up is James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd. 2007, when James booked "Big Time Rush," is his most memorable year, and they're dancing a jive to "The Middle" by Jimmy Eat World. It was slightly messy at the very beginning, but when they got into the dance, it was really pretty sharp and very, very cute. James put a lot of personality into his jive, though I thought Peta overshadowed him a little bit. Still, James did a lot of very cool tricks and danced very well. Len thought they "rocked this place," and said it was their best dance. Robin liked the way they attacked the dance, and also enjoyed the story, both in his dance and behind it. Bruno thought it had "explosive energy," and thought the jive was great. Carrie Ann thought it was vibrant, though she thought he had a little claw problem going on that was really minor compared to the great dance. Score: 36. 

Next up is NeNe Leakes and Tony Dovolani with a rhumba dedicated to her second marriage to her first husband in 2013. She danced to "I Believe In You and Me," to which she walked down the aisle. It was a very sexy dance, and not just because Tony was shirtless (though that helped quite a bit!). NeNe is sexy, and she also has wonderful presence on the dance floor. I'm not sure that her steps were all there, but she really knows how to perform well. I liked her dance quite a bit. Robin said that NeNe is the "life of the party." She liked that she showed us a different part of her personality. Bruno liked the way she kept the flow of movement, but he didn't think she had enough basics. Carrie Ann really liked the sensuality in her movement, and she thought they did a "beautiful job." Len was pleasantly surprised and liked the sensuality and flow. Score: 31.

Cody Simpson and Witney Carson were next, with the year 2010, when Cody moved to the U.S. and signed his record contract. He danced jazz to "Surfboard," one of his songs. It was a really hypnotizing dance, and I really liked the way Cody moved. He really has a loose, easy way of moving, which served him very, very well in this dance. They did a great job working together, too - many of their movements were side-by-side, and they were very together. It had a lot of cool personality to it, and I felt like it had a lot of Cody's cool Aussie style in it. It was a lot of fun to watch, and I was very impressed. Bruno thought the dance was perfect for right now. Carrie Ann thought it was "so good," with great movements. Len thought it was a tight dance. Robin loved his style, and how he owned it. Score: 35.

Danica McKellar and Val Chmerkovskiy danced next, a contemporary to Billy Joel's "Lullaby." It's remembering the year 2010, when Danica's son Draco was born, as well as when her grandmother died. Danica danced really well. It can be easy to just get thrown around by a strong dancer like Val, but I felt like Danica really had control of the dance the whole time. I could tell that she really felt strongly about the dance, too. It wasn't anything too insanely thrilling, steps-wise, but the emotional undercurrent more than made up for that fact. I loved this dance! Carrie Ann thought the dance was sincere and delicate, as well as very graceful. Len praised her for her smooth movements, and said the dance was beautiful. Robin loved her emotion. Bruno thought the dance was enchanting, and loved the intent and truth in the dance. Score: 36. 

Drew Carey and Cheryl Burke were up next with the year 2005, when Drew's son was born, which was part of what sparked him to lose weight and get healthy. He danced a waltz to "Fade Into You." It was a really lovely, well-executed dance. Drew has a really classy style to him, which was a real surprise to me when he started dancing. His steps were really good, and I really loved the emotion behind the dance, but I was also just struck by what a classy, classic dance it was. Len thought the dance was charming, even though it got "muddled" a bit through part of it. Robin said Drew has been a wonderful surprise, and she thinks he is a beautiful dancer. Bruno liked the classic waltz content and thought it was an elegant dance. Carrie Ann could tell how much the dance meant to him, but thought his face was a little bit stressed and the vibe wasn't as relaxed as it could be. Score: 30.

Next was Meryl Davis and Maks Chmerkovskiy, representing her 17-year journey as a skater with her partner, Charlie - from shy young skaters to Olympic gold medalists. She danced a foxtrot to "All of Me" by John Legend. Meryl is a wonderful performer, and I really enjoy seeing her dance to something with so much emotion. But what makes their dance even better is the way that she connects with Maks. They really have fantastic chemistry, and their dance was really, really sexy. It was a hot dance, and they have some real passion between them. Robin liked how the dance showed her journey, and thought the dance was beautiful. Bruno thought it was like watching a love story (Bruno's right!), and he was also very impressed with the technical aspects. Carrie Ann thought it was "so beautiful," and praised their chemistry and partnership. Len loved it, especially the light and shade in the dance. Score: 39. (First 10s of the season, and well-deserved!)

Amy Purdy and Derek Hough were up next, remembering the year 1999, when Amy contracted bacterial meningitis and lost her legs, as well as got a kidney donated by her dad. She danced a contemporary to "I'm Only Human." It was a beautiful and really interesting dance, because Amy was using different feet with pointed toes. I really liked the story that the dance showed, having somebody there to catch her when she needed someone. Yes, it was a little bit literal at times, but I thought that the flow and the emotion of the dance, coupled by the strong emotions on both dancers' faces, really brought the dance home and made it so that it was inspiring rather than cheesy. This was a dance that could have been corny, but they made it really beautiful instead. And seeing her parents so proud of her in the audience was just even better. Bruno thought it was heart-wrenching, inspirational, and life-affirming, and he called it "borderline miraculous." Carrie Ann said the dance was inspiring, and she loved being able to see her physicality. Len said the dance was technically sound, but that it also touched his heart. Robin was also very inspired by her performance. Score: 36. 

Charlie White and Sharna Burgess were next with a jive to "Happy." The dance remembered the year 2010, when they won the silver medal at the Olympics, and the journey for the next four years to the gold medal. Charlie has a great personality, and is very light on his feet. He just brought such joy to the dance floor this week. And yet, as laid back as his dancing looked, he really attacked the dance well. He and Sharna really were together the whole dance. It was just sort of an adorably fun dance! I loved watching it. Carrie Ann loved that they were in sync and lots of fun, although she thought they were a little ahead of the music in a couple of small places. Len was happy with the dance, and thought it was terrific. Robin thought it was a celebration of a dance and said it was "marvelous." Bruno thought it was cheerful and uplifting, and loved how light on his feet he was. Score: 36. 

The final dance was Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas, celebrating the year 1995 when "Full House" ended and she got engaged. They danced the jive to "Blue Suede Shoes." Cameron's dancing was a little bit ploddy and her steps felt just a little bit small for a big ol' jive. She had her moments of really great personality that I loved, but she was just a little bit stiff for most of the dance. I wish she would loosen up a bit and just chill, because she felt too tightly wound when she danced. Len loved the energy and thought it was sharp, though he thought she needed some bounce. Robin thought she was snazzy and wonderful. Bruno thought she went wild, though thought she needed some work on the footwork. Carrie Ann can't believe she's not a dancer because she dances so well, but said that she needs to work on her weight distribution and the way she holds her body. Score: 32.

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