Grab your hankies and brace your family for an ugly cry, because it’s Memorable Year night on Dancing with the Stars. For the uninitiated, that means our beloved D-list stars recounting the most tear-jerking stories about themselves and crying in public and then interpreting all those feelings into dance in order to curry favor with the voters and stick around the show for one more week. It’s all very moving.
After last week’s double elimination, the competition is heating up — so helping cull the spandexed wheat from the sparkly chaff is über fan Robin Roberts of Good Morning America fame, who is sitting at the judges’ table this week.
Here’s what happened on Dancing with the Stars:
Best Revenge: Dear Whoever Bullied James Maslow For His Looks In Middle School: You’re Idiots. Signed, Everyone Watching Dancing with the Stars Tonight.
James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd: To show all bullied children that you can survive middle school, James and Peta stormed the stage with a fast-paced jive that floored the judges. Len Goodman called it his “best dance, no question!” Robin really appreciated his anti-bullying message, while Bruno couldn’t get enough of James’ flicks and kicks. 36/40
The Switch-Up: Next week, everyone is switching partners based on fan votes. While the experiment will only last a week, that’s still long enough to get Maks and Nene together, right?
Billie Dee Williams and Emma Slater: As has sadly become the norm for older stars who sign up for the show, Star Wars legend Billie Dee Williams has decided that his body isn’t up to the challenge of dancing for hours a day after all. His back is acting up too much for this and he has no choice but to bow out of the competition.
Nene Leakes and Tony Dovolani: Nene decided to dance to the song she walked down the aisle to for the first time. She remarried her man in 2013 and to show how much she loves her husband, she danced a sultry rumba on a bed with fluttering bed curtains and a distractingly shirtless Tony, whom Carrie-Ann Inaba couldn’t help but objectify. While Robin liked the “sensuality”, Bruno dubbed her “naughty Nene” and, truly, there is no greater compliment. 31/40
Cody Simpson and Witney Carson: Cody chose to dance to the year 2010, which is the year that his entire family gave up their lives to help promote his career, moving from a house in Australia into a Hollywood hotel room. He is showing his gratitude through jazz set to his own song “Surfboard,” natch. It should be noted that this is not Beyoncé’s “surfboard,” but is a song Cody claims is about surfing with his dad, but includes the dubiously filial line “she’s on my surfboard” a lot. The judges thought it was tight and engaging, but Len brushed it off as a “boy band routine.” 35/40
Danica McKellar and Val Chmerkovskiy: Danica is marking 2010, the year her son was born a few weeks after her grandmother died. Val choreographed a contemporary routine set to an uplifting song about a child asking questions about death. It’s a beautiful, elegant routine that fittingly makes Danica’s young son burst into tears. She grabs him out of the audience and holds him tight while the judges extol her virtues. 36/40.
Drew Carey and Cheryl Burke: Drew is marking the year his son was born and changed his world. He started crying telling how his dad died when he was 8 and how he wanted to live for his son, so he made the decision to change his lifestyle and eating habits and improve his health. He and Cheryl performed a competent if slightly safe waltz, which ended much like Danica’s with Drew dashing to the sidelines to pick up his 8-year old son. The judges liked Drew’s waltz, but not as much as his son liked Cheryl’s moves. 30/40
Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Meryl cheated on the whole memorable year thing and opted to mark the entire Meryl and Charlie era of ice dancing. She and Maks danced a dizzyingly good foxtrot to John Legend’s “All of Me” (with guest violinist Lindsey Stirling). The routine made Carrie-Ann cry, because it was so impressive, and earned high praise from the judges including laurels for Maks’ choreography. Maks is very proud of Meryl and himself and it’s going to be so much fun to watch when he is paired with Nene in the Switch Up next week. They earned a 39/40, with Len being the only hold out.
Amy Purdy and Derek Hough: Paralympian Amy is dancing to mark the year that she got bacterial meningitis and had both her legs amputated and her dad donated a kidney to save her life. Derek choreographed an emotional contemporary routine to commemorate the moment that Amy walked on her new legs for the first time. She has new high heel feet for the occasion and is dancing barefoot as her dad cries in the audience. The judges can barely muster a critique of the routine each mumbling something about making America cry. 36/40
Charlie White and Sharna Burgess: Charlie is marking this very year, which is, of course, the year he and Meryl won a gold medal for ice dancing at the Sochi Olympics. Naturally the routine is set to Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” because Charlie and Meryl are the happiest people on the planet at all times except for maybe that couple who won the lottery three times in one month. The judges were quite pleased with the routine. In Len’s words, “You were steaming, I was beaming, it was happy hour!” 36/40.
Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas: Kimmy Gibbler alert! Candace has wisely taken a page from the Elizabeth Berkley/Jessie Spano playbook and decided to mark 1995, the year that Full House ended complete with cameos from Kimmy Gibbler and Aunt Becky. 1995 was also the year she got engaged to her husband, but that pales in comparison to a mini-Full House reunion and the revelation that Aunt Becky taught Candace how to kiss. She danced a jive to Elvis Presley’s “Blue Suede Shoes” and it was fine, but compared to some of the stellar routines and seriously skilled dancing this season, it was nothing to write the Full House fan club about. 32/40
The Leaderboard: Meryl White tops the rankings this week with a nearly-perfect 39/40, while Nene Leakes and Drew Carey hold down the bottom with 31 and 30, respectively.
Best Reason to Come Back Next Week: Well, there’s no “best” reason to come back, but here are two reasons: The Switch is finally happening, and Julianne Hough will be guest judging.