Monday night’s “Dancing With the Stars” evoked emotion from most of the contestants. The third round of performances challenged the celebrities to dance to a song of their choosing that reflected the most memorable year in their lives.
There were many moist eyes in the audience as people heard stories of tragedy and heartbreak that were close to the hearts of this year’s cast. Former talk-show host Ricki Lake scored the night’s highest scores, once again impressing the judges with her technique and execution.
Here’s how everyone fared:
Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke
The reality star danced the foxtrot to Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon” in memory of his father, O.J. Simpson attorney Robert Kardashian Sr., and the judges found it to be very emotional. Said head judge Len Goodman: “You just put the dash into Kardashian, I’m telling you! Posture was good. Footwork was good. I hope your dad is looking down and saying, ‘Rob, you did good,’ because you did.” 24/30
Chynna Phillips and Tony Dovolani
Phillips picked the moment in her life when she was sobering up and danced to “Hold On,” a song she sang with her group Wilson Phillips that she says is therapeutic for her. In her rehearsal, she cried and had a few breakdowns but said she hoped people would see in her rumba routine (and the song’s message, of course) that there was always a way out. “I knew you could do it. You are a smoldering siren. Seductive, intriguing, stylish, always so expressive. You belong in a museum to admire, my dear,” said judge Bruno Tonioli. They scored the first pair of 9’s of the season. 26/30
Chaz Bono and Lacey Schwimmer
Bono was charged with dancing the rumba, and he picked a song that his dad, Sonny Bono, wrote, called “Laugh With Me.” Bono, who is the competition’s first transgender contestant, said this was his best year ever and the song meant a lot and is about being a different kind of man. The judges didn’t think Bono kept focus during the dance but praised his willingness to come back week after week in spite of being heavily criticized for his dancing skills. “Every time I watch you get out on this dance floor, I’m so impressed by your real courage,” Carrie Ann Inaba offered. “Because what you do just by showing up here takes incredible amounts of courage. I’m always touched by that. Tonight you looked really distracted. You seemed not quite focused into the dance. I felt like you didn’t dance enough in this rumba. It’s breaking my heart to say this, because I find you to be such an inspiration.” 18/30
Kristin Cavallari and Mark Ballas
Not every story was forlorn. The former MTV reality-TV star picked Beyoncé’s hit “Crazy in Love” for her samba, because she said 2005 was a big year for her. It was the year she moved to L.A. and decided to pursue a career in entertainment. “That was more than crazy in love; that was crazy in lust! Who can say no after that? It’s yes, yes, yes, yes for me all the time!” Tonioli said. 24/30
Carson Kressley and Anna Trebunskaya
Kressley picked the tango and danced to “It’s My Life” by No Doubt, because the song came out the year that his Emmy-nominated “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” premiered and was a huge hit. He talked about being awkward and dweeby and coming out and how his life now is inspired by the meaning of the song, because it’s about celebrating his life. Judges thought he finally turned it around and gave a great performance. “That was insanely brilliant! And yes, you will make it to the ball!” Tonioli said. 23/30
J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff
War hero Martinez picked the year he was injured in Iraq when he drove over a landmine. He shared the story of when he first looked at his face after his accident and talked about how he started to blame himself and question how his life had turned upside down. He said it was a tough time in his life and didn’t think there was anyone who could understand the pain he was going through. He picked Tim McGraw’s “If You’re Reading This” for his rumba and said there are a lot of families that don’t get a second chance. His dance was in tribute to the men and women who didn’t make it home. The judges and the audience (judging by the long applause) found the dance to be beautiful and moving. “Heroes are normal people. Tonight, you did something extraordinary: You touched us all. That was one of the most profound, honest dances I’ve ever seen,” Inaba said. 26/30
Nancy Grace and Tristan MacManus
The talk-show host picked “Moon River,” the song she walked down the aisle to, for her dance. She said it also was the song that she used to sing to her twin babies. She told the story of their birth and said doctors told her that her daughter Lucy may not make it. “Nancy, you’ve got to try to get … a little bit better posture. The thing is, you’ve got to show the emotion of the dance. I thought you did that very well,” Goodman said. 21/30
Ricki Lake and Derek Hough
Lake, who was at the top of the leaderboard last week, said she had a rough 2010 because her marriage ended, her house burned down and she saw her life flash before her eyes. During that time, she met her new fiancé and said she never felt love the way she does with him. The song she chose was “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles, and the rumba routine she performed reflected the first few months with her new love. The judges were impressed and thought she turned in another knockout performance. “Ricki Lake is on fire! That was breathtaking, that was gorgeous, and it was sensual,” Inaba said. 27/30
Hope Solo and Maksim Chmerkovskiy
The athlete picked 2011 when she went to the Women’s World Cup as her biggest year. They made it to the finals but didn’t win. She talked about the disappointment in not taking home the top prize but said she ultimately learned it was about the journey. She danced the cha-cha to “Tonight” by Enrique Iglesias, her team song. The judges thought the dance was sexy and hot and said there’s so much potential with her as a dancer. “I would have liked a little sharper action. But for me, that was your best dance so far,” Goodman said. 24/30
David Arquette and Kym Johnson
The actor picked last year when his marriage to actress Courteney Cox fell apart. He was really hurt and lost and escaped into alcohol to try and numb the feelings. It was really hard to deal with, but Arquette is grateful for it because it showed him that he needs to be there for his daughter. They picked “O-o-h Child,” because the lyrics speak to his daughter and tell her everything is going to be all right. The judges liked the emotion in his dance and thought it was a vast improvement from last week, when he landed in the bottom two. “I thought you did a great job. I’m very proud of you,” Goodman said. 24/30
Which star had the most emotional dance? Share your thoughts in the comments below.