Tonight’s theme, “Most Memorable Year”, brought on some of the most emotional and raw performances from all contestants. Whether it be portraying the feeling of getting married or battling cancer, each contestant had a story to tell and used their bodies to set the scene.
The night began with a guest appearancee from Fifth Harmony who performed “Impossible” during Normani Kordei and Valentin Chmerkovskiy’s rumba number. Normani had dedicated the performance to the year she met her band mates on The X Factor, when her life completely changed. The judges only had spectacular things to say about the performance, with Bruno even describing Normani as a “Rumba Dominatrix”. Normani and Val scored 32/40.
Nick Viall and Petra Murgatroyd recreated the feeling of being on The Bachelor during their rumba number to Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You”. The pair ended the dance off with an intimate kiss between Nick and fiancé, Vanessa Grimaldi. Judge Carrie Ann commented on the awkward beginning of the number and how it led to an effective representation of the memories Nick was trying to convey as the partners became more comfortable with each other as the dance continued. Nick and Peta scored 30/40.
Nancy Kerrigan based her foxtrot with dance partner Artem Chigvintsev on her 8 year battle to conquer the guilt she felt with having multiple miscarriages. This was one of the most vulnerable dances of the night as listening to Nancy’s story brought to light her resilient strength and courage as both a mother and as an athlete. Judges Lenn and Julianne both agreed that this was the performance that transformed Nancy and Artem from pack members to competition frontrunners. Nancy and Artem scored 33/40.
Mr. T and partner Kym Herjavec waltzed their way into everyone’s heart in a performance that conveyed Mr. T’s consistent faith during his battle with cancer. Dancing to Amazing Grace, Mr. T danced with a radiance that Carrie Ann described as “gallant, gentile and full of grace”. Mr. T and Kym scored 28/40.
Heather Morris danced a stellar foxtrot with Alan as her usual partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, is still recovering from surgery. Heather and Alan found inspiration for the dance from her wedding day to husband Taylor. The dance was crisp and flawlessly executed, as expected from the Glee alumn. As Julianne remarked, on a night when many celebrity stories can be deep and reflective, it was a much needed performance full of energy and light. Heather and Alan scored 35/40.
David Ross and Lindsay Arnold used a Viennese waltz to portray the feeling of the Chicago Cub’s World Series win and David’s last year of playing baseball. Although David’s foot work was not as “floaty” and resembled someone running for home base as Carrie Ann described, the duo still scored a 31/40.
Another emotional performance was made tonight by Rashad Jennings and Emma Slater. The pair danced to the song “Unconditional” in the spirit of the year 2006, when Rashad stated he realized what unconditional love really is. The inspiration for the performance came from Rashad’s relationship with his father during his time away at college. Bruno best explained the performance as a work of art in which you could watch the artists paint the most beautiful picture using only the expression of their bodies. Rashad and Emma scored a mesmerizing 39/40, the highest score of the season so far.
Erika Jayne and Gleb Savchenko recreated Erika’s memories of moving to LA in a cha cha to the tune of Madonna’s “Express Yourself”. Lenn argued that Erika has reached a plateau using the same provocative dance style; however, the other three judges disagreed stating the performance was fierce and raw. Erika and Gleb scored 30/40.
Simone Biles and Sasha Farber used a Viennese waltz as a thank you to Simone’s mom and dad for adopting her. Julianne stated that this was the performance that showed the emotion the judges had been waiting for. Simone and Sasha scored a 36/40.
Bonner Bolton and Sharna Burgess expressed Bonner’s strength and resilience after being paralyzed for 12 months following a bull riding accident. The pair used a foxtrot to demonstrate how strong of competitors they could be. The judges were impressed by Bonner’s ability to show fluidity and control in each of his movements and awarded them 32/40.
Mr. T and Kym, Erika and Gleb were the couples in jeopardy tonight. The episode ended with the sad goodbye of Mr.T and Kym Herjavec much to the discontent of audience and at home watchers. It was bitter sweet to say goodbye to the pair after such an emotional and vulnerable performance. The pair was sent off with a standing ovation. Stay tuned for next week’s recap on Disney Night.