April 3rd, 2012
12:13 PM ET
Monday's "Dancing with the Stars" was all about the most memorable years of the contestants' lives. As was the case last fall, the tissues were plentiful as the tears were flowing like wine.
The first celebrity up was Jack Wagner, who performed a samba in honor of last year, when he learned he had a daughter he'd never met until she showed up at one of his concerts. The dance was performed to a Wagner tune that wasn't "All I Need," shocking many who didn't realize that he had a repertoire of more than one song.
As far as the dance itself, Jack looked better than last week, appearing more in sync with partner Anna Trebunskaya and demonstrating that he can hold off on the "over dancing" that hurt him before.
Judge Len Goodman liked the rhythm and choreography of the routine, while Carrie Ann Inaba complimented Jack for his "clean, effervescent" performance, making him sound like a tube of toothpaste.
Jack Wagner: 24/30 (All 8s)
Our next celebrity was "wrestling champ" Maria Menounos, who overcame a rib injury to win her WrestleMania 28 tag match this past Sunday. (After the scores, we saw footage of Maria's WrestleMania appearance, where she rocked the Greek flag bikini top.)
Her slow, sensual rumba with Derek Hough was done to Madonna's "Material Girl," but the show's version of the tune was a stripped-down, piano-heavy take that reminded me of Diana Krall.
It also lacked rhythm, making it difficult to match the dance with the song. Nevertheless, Maria and Derek managed to make it work.
Bruno Tonioli said Maria performed a near-perfect dance without a beat, while Len called the routine a touch of the ballroom and the bedroom. A bit of an odd comment for such an emotional song, so we'll move on.
Maria Menounos: 27/30 (All 9s)
Gladys Knight was up next, and she needed to bounce back from a disappointing quickstep last week. Her memorable year was 1957, when she had her first nationwide tour with The Pips. Her foxtrot with Tristan MacManus was classy and gracious, albeit slow. Nevertheless, the crowd was quite impressed.
Carrie Ann said Gladys' routine was "sensuous and soulful," while Len asked if he could be a Pip. Note to Len: The "Midnight Train to Georgia" won't be making a stop at the judges' panel anytime soon.
Gladys Knight: 24/30 (All 8s)
Roshon Fegan was next, and I was curious as to what the 20-year-old's "memorable year" could be. Last fall, Kristin Cavallari got the boot in part because of a "memorable year" selection that, to the viewer, sounded self-serving and lame. Could Roshon make it up for the younger crowd?
It looks like he can, as he went back to 1996 (when he was only in grade school), and seeing Michael Jackson on stage for the first time. A former Jackson choreographer, Travis Payne, dropped by during practice to help Roshon emulate The King of Pop on the dance floor.
The dance is on, and Roshon's samba looked more like a Michael Jackson tribute than a traditional dance. Nevertheless, the routine delighted the crowd and excited the judges, who loved Roshon's enthusiasm.
Roshon Fegan: 25/30 (Carrie Ann Inaba 8, Len Goodman 8, Bruno Tonioli 9)
Singer Gavin DeGraw was next, and he made history by taking off his hat during practice! Thankfully, he wasn't hiding anything under his hat, such as more hats. Tom Bergeron also complimented Gavin for removing it, and it was nice to see someone else noticing this.
Gavin's most memorable year was 1998, when he moved to New York to begin his quest to become a successful singer/songwriter.
Performing a rumba to a Billy Joel song, Gavin's dance with Karina Smirnoff looked quite sensual and exciting, and was easily his best dance of the competition. The judges agreed, with Len noting Gavin's progression as the weeks have gone by.
Gavin DeGraw: 24/30 (All 8s)
Singer Katherine Jenkins also went back to 1996, which is when her father passed away. Her waltz with Mark Ballas was quite passionate and glamorous, and showed that she can currently do no wrong in this competition.
Len said Katherine was a wonderful dancer, but took Mark to task for going out of hold several times. Bruno's review was one word - "sensational" - and Katherine was rewarded with the first perfect 10s of the season, courtesy of Bruno and Carrie Ann.
Katherine Jenkins: 29/30 (Inaba 10, Goodman 9, Tonioli 10)
Sherri Shepherd then honored the year her son was born with a routine that was easily her best of the season. She does tend to overact her facial expressions on the dance floor at times, but it was refreshing to see her getting out of the "happy zone" that kind of coasted her through the first two weeks of the competition.
Len said Sherri's routine was "heartfelt," complimenting pro partner Val Chmerkovskiy for leading the routine well.
Sherri Shepherd: 24/30 (All 8s)
Melissa Gilbert was the next to take the stage, and she looked back to 2010, when she broke her back while performing in a "Little House on the Prairie" stage musical. The fact that she's dancing so soon from that is a miracle in itself.
Her jive with Maksim "Mr. Warmth" Chmerkovskiy was decent, although Melissa appeared to stumble once and commit some footwork errors.
However, the judges were in quite the jolly mood last night, with Len noting that Melissa "entered" the competition with her latest routine.
Melissa Gilbert: 24/30 (All 8s)
Jaleel White came back to the dance floor with his take on the rumba, keeping last night's sensual streak alive with an alluring routine that delighted the crowd. Unlike last week, Jaleel did not look like he was coasting.
Carrie Ann said Jaleel was "back in the competition," but both Len and Bruno warned that he was a bit stiff at times. Before and after the scoring, Jaleel appeared to break down to pro partner Kym Johnson and co-host Brooke Burke Charvet as he was explaining why he chose the debut of his "Family Matters" alter ego "Stefan Urquelle" as his most memorable year.
Jaleel said both Stefan and "Steve Urkel" were his "Mickey Mouse," adding that he loved "entertaining people."
Given that he's been under fire for an alleged altercation with Kym during practice, as well as having to answer to abuse allegations made by an ex-girlfriend, perhaps the show is getting to be too much for the ex-child star.
Jaleel White: 25/30 (Inaba 9, Goodman 8, Tonioli 8 )
William Levy was next and, as usual, his routine was second nature to the women screaming their heads off whenever he appears on screen.
William paid homage to 1995, the year he and his family immigrated to the U.S. from Cuba, with a salsa that whipped the crowd into a frenzy. William showing off his abs early in the routine didn't hurt.
Len said William "conquered" the salsa, while Carrie Ann called the routine "ridiculously hot," adding that she wanted to go to Cuba after watching the dance. Carrie Ann really needs to catch up on her history lessons.
William Levy: 28/30 (Inaba 9, Goodman, Tonioli 10)
The final dancer of the night was Donald Driver, who paid homage to a deceased best friend with a rumba that Len described as "awesome."
Donald Driver: 26/30 (Inaba 9, Goodman 8, Tonioli 9)
What did you think of last night's "Dancing with the Stars" episode? Who do you think will be eliminated tonight?
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