CLEVELAND - It's only week three of the 14th season of "Dancing with the Stars" and the show is bringing out the big guns.
This week, the 11 remaining couples have to pick a song and dance that represented the most memorable year of their lives. Read that as most tear jerking and emotionally draining story.
First up was soap star Jack Wagner. Jack had a "Who knew?" story, about the long-lost adult daughter he never knew he had, tracking down her birth father and appearing out of nowhere at his concert. Jack and Anna do a light-hearted and charismatic samba to one of his songs. He keeps looking better at this stuff, and the judges loved it. Jack got a 24 out of 30.
Jack tweeted, "Want 2 send out a special Ty 2 Anna. She choreographed a beautiful n difficult samba 4 us 2 dance 2. Grateful 2 @atrebunskaya….4 so much!!"
Next is TV host Maria Menounos. She picked 1988, when she went to work with her immigrant parents in Boston, dancing to Madonna, who somehow represented the promise of a better life. Maria and Derek did a rumba to "Material Girl." Wearing barely anything, Maria looked amazing, both appearance- and performance-wise, to a very slowed-down and somber rendition of Madonna's pop hit. The judges also thought Maria did great. She got a 27.
Maria tweeted, "What a night!!!!loved Dancing the rumba w/ @derekhough.I feel such a sense of accomplishment w/this dance in particular.so happy!thanks der."
Gladys Knight chose 1957, when she and the Pips went on tour for Sam Cooke. She choose his song "Cupid." Gladys was regal as ever, but Tristan's choreography was not challenging enough for her. She got a 24.
Disney star Roshon Fegan channeled – who else? – Michael Jackson. He picked 1996, when he saw Jackson in concert. Roshon and Chelsie tackled a samba, and he did more of the Jackson moves he's done in the previous two weeks. The judges liked it, but weren't crazy about it. Roshon got a 25.
Roshon tweeted, "Yeahhhhhhh baby!!!!! Tonight felt great. Thanks @chelsiehightowr for a amazing dance. #LoveYouMJ."
Singer Gavin DeGraw picked 1998, the year he moved to New York for his music career. He choose a rumba to Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind." Gavin and Karina did a great job. In fact, he's never looked more confident and masculine on the show so far. The judges complimented his rumba hip-work, and he got a 24.
Barring some viewer voter snafu, this season's predestined winner once again stole the show. Opera singer Katherine Jenkins picked 1996, the year her father died from lung cancer. To tell her emotional story, Katherine picked a waltz to Josh Groban's "To Where You Are." Cue the Kleenex. Katherine looked like she's about to start bawling during the tender and touching dance with Mark, who loves high drama in his dances. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba, not making the slightest effort to hold back tears, said Katherine had another partner with her on the dance floor, her father. Katherine got the first 10s of the season, and a 29 overall.
After the show, Katherine tweeted, "@joshgroban Hey Josh... Did you see it?! I hope we did your song justice!! #Dancing ABC #DWTS." Is she serious? Probably. She seems that innocent. Katherine was amazing.
Keep that Kleenex handy. TV host Sherri Shepherd choose 2005, the year her son was born. And almost died. The poor kid was born very prematurely with lots of medical complications. The comedienne said she couldn't picture making people laugh again at the thought of losing her son. We see him now, and he's absolutely adorable, and doing great. Sherri chose a rumba with Val, and she really toned down her bubbly personality to convey how serious her story is. Her story is probably more powerful than her dance, though. The judges gave her a 24.
Sherri tweeted, "ThankU 2 EVERYONE who voted for @IamValC & I last night (& this morning). We appreciate your faith in us & will continue working hard #DWTS."
Melissa Gilbert tackled a jive, and tackle it she did. She got one of the lower scores of the night, but Melissa attacked her jive. Melissa chose 2010, when she broke her back, and was in danger of not walking again. Well, she proved otherwise, picking Florence + the Machine's "Dog Days are Over" to jive to with Maks. She was hungry for the dance, had great energy, but her kicks looked better in the rehearsal. It's nice to see this actress finally come alive on the show. The judges are complimentary and she got a 24.
Actor Jaleel White choose 1993, when he played Urkel's alter ego on "Family Matters." He said people started treating him differently, so he choose to rumba to a Babyface song. Jaleel and Kym did a great job, he looks very much in control of the dance, making Kym melt on him. The judges nitpicked a bit, and he got a 25.
"Best night everrrrrrrr ! s/o to my genius choreographer partner @kym_johnson comin thru in the clutch !!!!! #dwts @DWTS2012."
Actor William Levy was simply built for the salsa. He choose 1995, when he came to the U.S. from Cuba. He got emotional in his backstory, talking about his parents. William knew what he was doing when he chose to do a salsa with Cheryl, because it looked like he studied it since birth. The audience and the judges – all of them – seem to swoon over his dance. He got a 28.
If you thought you were safe using up your tissues by the time we got to tough guy Donald Driver, think again. The Green Bay Packer choose 2010, the year his best friend died of cancer in his arms. The man introduced Donald to his wife. Donald and Peta did a rumba to "One Sweet Day," the Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men song. Donald looked so graceful, you can tell how much he cares about his friend. He can't even say one word when host Brooke Burke is trying to talk to him. The judges have lost of compliments, but point out a few technical problems. He got a 26.
Classy as ever, Donald tweeted, "Good morning in LA and good evening everywhere else, thanks everyone for there votes last night and this morning. Very special! Love you all."
Katherine and Mark have the highest score. That means, folks, there are five people at the bottom – with the bottom score a shocking high 24.
"Dancing with the Stars" starts at 8 with an encore special, then the elimination show at 9. It's anybody's guess who could go home.
On week two, the first contestant to go home was tennis legend Martina Navratiloa.
Viewers can look forward to a performance from Seal and Rascal Flats on Tuesday's elimination show.
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