Week three of “Dancing With the Stars’ brought back "The Most Memorable Year of Your Life" night which is normally marked by a couple of poignant performances. Instead, every performance touched our hearts and many brought tears to the eyes as Entertainment Weekly recapped on April 1.
“Good Morning America’s” Robin Roberts joined the judges as the first of this season’s promised guest judges. The “DWTS” superfan squeezed in between the boys, Len and Bruno, after being walked on stage in the middle of Chmerkovskiy sandwich.
Fans also learned early on there would be no elimination this week. Billy Dee Williams withdrew from the competition under doctor’s orders because of his chronic back condition.
James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd earned a 36 out of 40 points putting them in a 4-way tie for second place on the evening with a jive performed to “The Middle.” James talked about how he was bullied as a child for being , as he called it, ‘chubby.’ In 2007, he overcame the bullying, lost the weight and turned his life around. His performance was high-octane and had the “explosive energy of a lightning strike, according to Bruno.
Nene Leaks and Tony Dovolani danced a rumba dedicated to NeNe’s husband Greg, a man she married twice. The number earned a deserved 31 because she clearly made the effort. The pairing was lackluster though, despite Tony’s shirtless performance and those great abs he’s been hiding.
Cody Simpson and Witney Carson danced a jazz number to one of Cody’s hits, “Surfboard.” The routine was designed to showcase his onstage boy band-type moves which he executes brilliantly but was less jazzy then you would expect from a “Dancing With the Stars” performance. Still the judges liked it and gave the couple a 35. Carrie compared the likeability factor of the young couple to the fervor with which a corn lover might devour an ear of corn., gesturing madly.
Danica McKellar and Valentin Chmerkovskiy also landed in that 4-way tie for second with a 36 for what was arguably the best dance of the night. A lot of much-deserved attention goes to the ice dancing couple on the show but Danica is the surprise ringer who could go all the way. Her contemporary number dedicated to 2010 when her son, Draco, was born just months after beloved grandmother died stole the show. Carrie Ann called it the “most beautiful, delicate, sincere dance ever” while Bruno called it spell binding and yet she got no 10s.
Drew Carey and Cheryl Burke gave their best effort in a waltz set to a song from ABC’s country music soap opera, “Nashville”, “Fade into You.” Though Drew is no comparison to likes of Charlie White, Meryl Davis or Danica McKellar, he is passionate and fun to watch. The year 2005 was honored because that’s when Drew’s son Connor was born, an event that caused the comedian to take stock of his life and lose weight. When Connor was asked how he liked his dad’s dance, he said he did great but turned to Cheryl and said "And I need her to teach me some dance moves." A chip off the old block. Drew and Cheryl landed at the bottom with a 30.
Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy gave what is most probably the sexiest foxtrot the show has ever seen. She dedicated their leaderboard-topping dance to the 17 year journey that saw her pair for the first time with partner Charlie White to the culmination of their dreams, an Olympic gold medal 17 years later. Bruno called the dance “irresistibly romantic” while Len labelled the couple “M&M – sweet and delicious.” Three of the four judges awarded them 10s and they finished in first with a 39.
Amy Purdy and Derek Hough did a contemporary routine that was dedicated to the second time Amy’s father gave her life in 1999. The bacterial meningitis which claimed her legs also damaged her kidneys. Her father donated one of his, saving her live. In family footage, Amy danced with her father in the kitchen of their home, a dance that took place before she mastered walking and gave her the motivation to go on. The couple received a standing ovation. Len said the performance “Touched my brain with its technicality and touched my heart with its artistry.” Amy and Derek landed in the 4-way tie for second with a 36.
Charlie White and Sharna Burgess have topped the leader board since week 1 but fell to that 4-way tie with their jive done to “Happy.” Charlie dedicated the dance to the year 2010 when he and Meryl won the silver because it was when he decided to go all out for the gold , which they eventually won. He also dedicated it to his parents and girlfriend and all those who supported him during this journey. The number started backstage and eventually wound its way throughout the ballroom but seemed to lack some of the much needed jive elements.
Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas had a “Full House” family reunion of sorts both during rehearsals and in the ballroom. She dedicated her jive , done to Elvis tunes – a staple on the “Full House” show – to 1995 when the show ended and she became engaged to her now husband. Andrea Barber and Lori Loughlin turned up in a rehearsal and Kimmy Gibbler and Scott Weinger were in the audience as Candace and Mark earned a 32 for the night.
Next week we will see the result of the Twitter campaign to vote in different partners for the celebs as the “Switch Up “ week unfolds. Macy’s Stars of Dance will also return to the ballroom next Monday when “Dancing With the Stars” returns.
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