‘Dancing With the Stars’ Most Memorable Year Week Sparks Plenty of Tears
(Spoiler alert: Please do not read on if you haven’t watched Monday’s episode of “Dancing With the Stars”)
As always at this point in the season, “Dancing With the Stars” focused on defining moments in the contestants’ lives on Monday night’s installment of the ABC reality contest.
During the emotional roller coaster of “Memorable Year” week, the contestants were all relieved to hear that there wasn’t an elimination this week — but that didn’t mean that their performances were any less crucial than usual.
First up was former “Brady Bunch” star Maureen McCormick, who revealed how she “lost all control” and “did things that I was not proud of” as a child actress but was saved from a five-year cocaine addiction by her husband, who she married in 1985.
To honor that bond, she danced a fiery Foxtrot, which Julianne Hough said was “art imitating life. From what we saw that first night to where you are now is a transformation. You are a different person,” she praised. “This was one of your best dances.”
Calvin Johnson Jr.’s most memorable year came in 2012 when Megatron smashed Jerry Rice’s record for the NFL single season receiving yards, so he took his pro partner to Ford Field in Detroit — where the historic moment took place, and then he walked off the field and gave the game-winning ball to his dad.
“My family are my original team, they’ve always had my back and always been here for support,” Johnson said, before taking to the stage for a jazz routine.
“It looked like you stepped out of the Motown charm school right onto the set of ‘Grease,’” Bruno Tonioli gushed. “All the little stylistic points were there … Darling, you really are a dancer.”
Football icon Rice was actually a contestant on “Dancing With the Stars” in 2005 when he came in second to singer Drew Lachey. In the video clip, the former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver threw a “perfect spiral” to Johnson, who didn’t even know who had thrown it to him until after he caught the ball.
Jana Kramer didn’t go back very far — she didn’t even leave this year, choosing 2016 because she had her baby girl. She went on to recall a past abusive relationship with someone who went to jail for attempted murder on her. “This situation essentially broke me … it took having Jolé to put those broken pieces back together,” Kramer said.
The country singer then danced to “In My Daughter’s Eyes” by Martina McBride, which the judges raved about. Carrie-Ann Inaba called it “a breakthrough for you tonight. It’s like you finally danced with the beauty that we’ve all known,” while Hough praised Kramer’s “perseverance,” then burst into tears herself.
Next up was Ryan Lochte, who is no stranger to dramatic life moments — both good and bad. “I didn’t think I was going to make it past the first week,” he confessed.
Lochte said that his most memorable year was 2008, when he won his first individual gold medal at the Olympics. “Having my mom and family there in the stands” was the best part, he said.
Basking in his career glory, Lochte said that then the Rio incident happened “and it was all over in the blink of an eye,” so he dedicated his routine to his mom for sticking by him through “the one mistake he made.”
As for his routine, it was his “most honest performance to date,” Tonioli told him. “This is the way to go — show who you are.”
After getting perfect scores last week with a Michael Jackson dance, Laurie Hernandez also picked 2016 as her greatest year thanks to her Olympic victories in Rio after battling multiple injures.
Tonioli said while she is a “force of nature,” tonight, it went wrong because her foot work wasn’t as clean as she can actually do. “Never make it angular,” he advised. “You are undoubtedly a warrior goddess,” Inaba praised the 16-year-old, but she had criticism about the dramatic opening of the dance.
Marilu Henner‘s choice was 1978, calling the year like a “Tale of Two Cities,” because it was “the best of times and the worst of times,” as her career took off with “Taxi” just before her mother died.
“You did it tonight, you absolutely did it,” Hough gushed, before crying yet again. “You hit the floor and you never stopped — brilliant!” Tonioli exclaimed, flailing his arms for emphasis.
Model Amber Rose picked 2013 as her son was born then and she wanted to do a Samba as a “celebration for women and a celebration for moms,” she said.
“The dance was very intimidating,” Rose told Inaba, who said she “filled the room, you killed it. You were bigger than the outfit, you were incredible.”
“Dancing With the Stars” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.