This week’s episode of Dancing With the Stars is the one that will make everybody cry like an infant. Yup. You guessed it. It is the one called “Most Memorable Year,” where each of the stars chooses a song that represents the most memorable year of their life. The stories are always filled with high emotion, victories and tragedies, and the tears are always flowing from everyone. This season is no different, and the crying was endless and nonstop. Even host Tom Bergeron got into the spirit of “emotional” by not being there at all, so that he could instead be at his ailing dad’s bedside. Filling in for Tommy was last year’s champion Alfonso Ribiero, who looked shockingly small standing next to co-host Erin Andrews. Let us begin the waterworks …
Alexa / Mark: She chose the year 2000, which was the year she booked her starring role on Spy Kids. In the background piece, she talked about how her mom held the family together, and how much she admired her being a single mom. She used to blast the song “Mama Said” when they were kids and dance around, so that is the song she chose for their Foxtrot. She made a misstep in the dance, but it was a lovely start to the evening anyway. Julianne called it a “brilliant concept.” Scores were 7/7/7. Judge Len Goodman was at home pooping in his Depends.
Gary / Anna: The year was 1979, and Gary got his first Oscar nomination for The Buddy Holly Story. That film catapulted his career into becoming a star, and then he also talked about the brain trauma injury he received in 1988, after a severe motorcycle accident while riding without a helmet. His brother said “we could have lost him.” Their dance, although well-intentioned, was kind of all over the place, and those bizarre glasses and wig weren’t doing him any favors either. I know he was supposed to be portraying Buddy Holly, but it was a bit too cartoonish, and the dance was kind of a mess. Bruno said “there is nothing average about you, dahling!”, whatever that means. Carrie Ann said she felt his spirit, but there was no improvement. To which Gary responded: “You gotta look with your eyes open!” To which Carrie Ann said: “Okay Ill try that next time.” To which Gary said: “Do it now!” Scores were 5/6/5, which I think were maybe a tad harsh. Then again, it was kind of a mess.
Tamar / Val: They chose a Rumba, and the year 2012, where everything changed for Tamar and her family. Her husband Vince was rushed to hospital with blood clots, and ended up in a coma and in the hospital for 40 days. He was near death and she wasn’t sure if he would make it. They decided that if he made it, they would start their family. Three months after he was released from the hospital, she became pregnant, and now she is grateful for their miracle child and for her husband surviving. The dance was so beautiful and flowing, although I still felt like she had “dead eyes.” But it was really gorgeous otherwise. Carrie Ann said “you reached into my soul with that one.” Julianne said “I have never seen you more beautiful than tonight.” After the dance, Tamar ran into her husbands arms, who was sitting in the audience watching. Scores were high at 9/9/9. Len was at home drinking prune juice.
Hayes / Emma: I still don’t get what this kid does. He makes 6 second videos on VINE. I watched a few of them and I don’t get it. Why are these popular? He has millions of followers. I think it’s a pre-teen girl thing, where they just find him cute and want to marry him. This kid has the kind of crazy fans that the Beatles had in their day – he tours the country to screaming girls. What the hell does this kid DO on tour? I’m so confused as to why this is a thing. Anyway, his year choice was last year, 2014, because that is when his first viral video happened. Overnight, he went from having 20 followers to over 100, 000. It changed his life. For some reason, they decided to show that with a song whose lyrics are about a horrible breakup. That song choice made no sense to me, but their dance was excellent. Definitely his strongest by far. Julianne was shocked. “What just happened? You broke out of that shell you’ve been living in!” Bruno yelled “Get out of here! What was that?” Anotherwords, he loved it. Scores were 9/9/9.
Alex / Lindsay: In the year 2015, things started out normally for Alex, who was finishing up deployment in Afghanistran. Then, he and two friends went on a European vacation. On a typical train ride to Amsterdam, they heard a gun shot through the window, and then seconds later, a gunman started charging toward them and everyone else. Alex and his friends charged at the gunman, attacking him, and saving the lives of everyone on board from a terrorist attack. Since then, his life has become surreal – meeting the President, many celebrities, and being asked to be on this show. In the middle of the rehearsal week, Alex learns of the shooting in Oregon, which took place at his own college – the one he went to and would be going back to. He was shaken, telling the cameras “I would have been in class that day probably.” He flew back home to see if he could help. Came back for the dance, which he dedicated to the community in Oregon. The judges were a bit harsh with details, but appreciated his heart. He looked like he just wanted to go home, and who can blame him. Scores were 8/8/8.
Nick / Sharna: Okay, this one was just super fun. A tad bit emotional in the backstory package video, but the dance itself was like a fantasy music video. The year was 1992, and Nick, at the age of 12, auditioned for The Backstreet Boys. Turns out he had a rough childhood and grew up with a dysfunctional family. “I always wanted that movie mom and dad, and I didn’t get that.” He used music to escape his life and get him out of a bad environment, and he believes that the guys in the Backstreet Boys really saved him from a life that could have been much different. They became each others family. The dance was to the famous BB song “Backstreet’s Back”, and they basically took the choreography straight from the band itself. Sharna got to play the sexy girl, and it was just such a blast to watch. The audience was given small lights so it looked like they were all at a Backstreet Boys concert, swaying with their lights in the dark. Julianne said “Hot hot hot – I even made a sign”, as she held up her ‘I heart Nick’ signage. Horny Carrie Ann noted that “every girl in America wants to be Sharna right now!” Scores were 9/9/9, and Len fell asleep in his vegetable soup.
Carlos / Witney: They did a Waltz, and the year was 2012, when his band Big Time Rush hit the peak of their success. Their tour had just ended mid-year, and he fell into a deep depression, feeling very alone after being on tour all year. He hit rock bottom, and would sit home and smoke pot everyday, with no purpose in life. One morning, he went to his church, looking for change and transformation. He met his now wife, Alexa, at a Bible study class in church. His life changed in one week, going from darkness to light, and that is what they danced about. In the beautiful angelic looking all-white dance, Julianne felt that they “were genuinely connected.” Carrie Ann called it “mind-blowing, from your soul.” Scores were 9/8/8.
Paula / Louis: Last week, in a conversation about the show with my mom, she said to me “That Paula Deen is a pain in the ass, isn’t she? I feel bad for Louis.” It is so true. This poor guy has to be not only her dance teacher, but also her confidence booster, best friend, son, husband figure, brother figure, and therapist. She is constantly in need of attention. “Oh, I need a huuggg!!!! Give me a hug!”, or “I wish I believed in myself moooower ….” (that is Paula-speak for ‘more’), or “Oh, I’m sooooo tuuuhhred “ (that would be Paula-speak for ‘tired.’) She is the most needy dance partner of all time. Last week she was going on and on about how everyone in her life has abandoned her, so of course Louis had to reassure her that he would not leave her. This week, she chose the year 1989, which was when she finally ended a 27 year marriage that wasn’t working, and started her own business called “The Bag Lady.” This business, of course, was what ended up turning her into the famous cook personality she is today. The song was “Respect”, and even though this dance was just as awful and messy looking as all the rest of them, at least she didn’t look like a hooker-clown this week. The costume department really loves to put her in the most unflattering outfits, but I will say that this week, her dress was pretty flattering and her hair looked somewhat normal. But she still looks like she is being dragged around on the dance floor by force , in every single dance. Bruno’s comment was “You only went wrong once”, and his words were filled with phlegm. Clear your throat, dude. Yuck. Horny Carrie Ann clearly needs a date, and an eye-exam, after her comment that Paula’s moves are “hot and sexy.” Scores were 6/6/6.
Andy / Allison: The year was 2009, and he was singing on the streets as a street performer, struggling to pay bills and get somewhere with his career. Then he got the call that his mom had stage 4 breast cancer, and flew home to her. They only had a few days to say goodbye. He felt lost after her death, looked up to God and literally said to the sky “Your move.” He wrote a song that he said came from the pain, and that song started his entire career. “Good to Be Alive” , hit big hit, is what they danced to, and their Cha-cha was fun and carefree and filled with life. Carrie Ann found it “awkward”, but Julianne disagreed, and thought it was his most comfortable since week one. Scores were 7/8/8.
Bindi / Derek: Okay, well this was the one that made me cry for a very long time. Not only the dance itself, but the video package where both Bindi and her mom, Terri, Steve’s widow, talk about Steve Irwin’s life and death. For anyone reading this who doesn’t know, I myself became widowed when my beautiful husband Don died suddenly at age 46 from a massive heart-attack in 2011. So when Terri said to the camera “when you lose somebody like that, you don’t ever get over it”, I was pretty much sobbing already. And then Bindi, who was only 8 years old in 2006 when her dad died from a tragic accident with a stingray, said to cameras: “It took me such a long, long time to even understand what had happened. For the rest of my life, I will kind of feel like he’s gonna come home.” Yes, oh yes, oh yes. That is what sudden and shocking death does to someone. And now, 9 years later for her and at the young age of 17, she says “I am finally ready to tell that story.” During their rehearsal, a beautiful thing happened that also made me cry, and made the camera people cry too. Derek was showing Bindi a move where they lock fingers, when suddenly she stepped back as if in surprise and gasped: “Oh my god. I just now had a memory flashback when you grabbed my fingers. It was of when I was really, really little, and I was holding dad’s fingers as he was teaching me how to walk. “ She started crying into Derek’s arms, and it was just such a genuine moment. The dance itself was Contemporary, and it was to a beautiful version of “Every Breath You Take.” They managed to re-live that learning to walk moment through dance, and also capture the special bond that Bindi will always have with her dad. As she said so eloquently: “He will always be with me, everywhere I go, my whole life.” I’m actually crying right now as I write this. It was just so beautiful. The second their dance ended, Bindi fell into Derek’s arms and just sobbed, as if she couldn’t hold back one more second. All the judges were teary too, and Bruno said “Australia and the world is so proud of you, and your dad was dancing with you.” Bruno gave Bindi the first TEN score of the season, although I believe she should have received all ten’s. That dance was simply magic. Scores were 9/9/10.
ELIMINATION: Sadly enough, Gary Busey was voted off this week. But in typical Gary fashion, he left with some truly confusing and yet somehow deeply profound words of wisdom, as the time started to run out on the show and the credits started to roll:
“This has been a beautiful experience, and I have learned so much from To Russia with Love, Anna here. And the fact that I have been eliminated is false. It is false because my spirit will be there, it will be here every week. We may not be dancing but my spirit will remain here . And I’ve learned from everyone … and what I’ve learned … (as credits roll) wait a minute, Im not done yet …. What I’ve learned from everyone is how to be better with everyone. And when you learn from everyone how to be better with everyone, then everyone is getting greater with everyone.”
WHY COULDN’T TOM BERGERON HAVE BEEN THERE FOR THAT QUOTE??? I think I have a migraine now ……
NEXT WEEK: Paula Deen demands that Louis move in with her and make her morning tea and rub her feet. Hayes makes a 7 second video and loses all his fans to short-attention span. Len awakens from his nap and asks for a blankey, and his judging spot back on the panel.
Sending love and thoughts to Tom Bergeron and his family.