Get out your tissues, people. It's time to relive the stars most memorable year, and you know producers and editors have worked overtime this week to bring the emotion.
We open with the pros and troop dancing. Whenever Sharna or Witney are dancing in group, they stand out with pure awesomeness.
DAYUMMMM Erin! She's wearing a killer cut out dress and looks amazing.
This week we skip the theatrical intro and go right to the presenting the couples. Huh. Wonder if the judges got tired of rehearsing an opening number or if the production crew did?
Tonight 'Murica can be a judge! You have to vote within the first 2 minutes of the dance and then the scores will be averaged and given as the fourth score. Hmm. Interesting.
We get right to it. The first couple safe is Janel and Val. Jonathan and Allison are also safe. Betsey and Tony are in jeopardy. Looks like Betsey was expecting that. Honestly, I wasn't. I think she deserves to be here for at least several more weeks.
We start off with Janel and Val and we pick up after their dance last week. Janel's most memorable year is 2002. She tells us about BJ, her vocal and acting coach. The year Janel moved to LA to pursue her dreams, she found out that BJ had breast cancer and she passed away before Janel could get back to say goodbye. Tears from Janel. (Me too) That's really sad. Val and Janel are doing the rumba in memory of BJ to a very poignant version of "How Will I Know". Janel has incredible lines when she dances, but I get distracted by her facial expressions. I don't know how she got through that without crying, oh wait, she is teary...
Judges: Julianne says BJ would be proud because she performs from the heart. She can tell Janel worked really hard on the feedback from last week. Bruno says she got the balance of emotion and motion absolutely right. She needs to work on her spins. Carrie Ann says the best way to pay tribute to someone who has passed on is to go on living a full and complete life, and Janel is doing that. Breathtaking. 'Murica is quiet because they are busy voting.
Up to Erin: Erin tells Janel she looks beautiful and that she's already told her that. Janel says, 'You look hot.' Stop being so high maintenance Erin!
Scores: Carrie Ann 9, Julianne 9, Bruno 9, and 'Murica (voiced by Tom) 9, for a total of 36. Val says God Bless, America. I don't even think he meant it in the Southern way.
Commercials. Tommy went jail. Michael dealt with death. Sadie stuck by her Grandpa because they are family and that's what family does. Lea says the way he died (her dad) showed her what it was to live. Hey Amercia? You are going to need more tissues, I think.
We're back! Jonathan and Allison are up. Jonathan says the support of his parents changed his life forever. He also says something about paying homage to all the Mean Girls fans out there. His mom is the one who introduced him to acting when he was younger. She was also the one that took him to NYC when he was 18 and dropped him off with some money. Hey, at least you got some money. NYC is expensive. He took his parents to the Mean Girls premiere, which was really sweet. Jonathan looks like his mom. He lost his mom about a year ago and his dad four months ago. Aww, man! That's tough.
Dance time! We open with a take off on the Jingle Bell Rock number from Mean Girls and then we segue into a samba. I hope Allison isn't supposed to be LiLo because 1) she showed up 2) she was prepared and 3) she doesn't look like death warmed over. Jonathan can move but this is not his best dance. Although the crowd is going wild, so what do I know?
Judges: Bruno says the problem is that as soon as he went to do the samba proper he went wrong. Carrie Ann says judges are going to score on technique and America won't, so she's interested to see what happens. She tells him he had a one dimensional performance and she wants him to learn the different styles. Julianne says she loves the relationship Jonathan and Allison have and the dance lacked dimension and was erratic. She wants to see him do something elegant and refined.
And up they go to the sky box. We are reminded by Tom that there's a live chat. It's not enough to WATCH the show. We need to follow it live while Tweeting and Instagraming it. Erin wants to do her favorite part of the Mean Girls dance, which is apparently a leg slap and a hip bump. I'm really going to have to watch this movie again. I don't remember any of the parts they have talked about so far on this show. Erin finally gives Jonathan a chance to defend himself against the judges' comments, but he says he pretty much knows exactly what they are talking about and has been working on it.
Scores: Carrie Ann 6, Julianne 6, Bruno 6, and 'Murica 6. They should let the studio audience vote as a 'representative' of America. Everyone would get 10's. And now that I'm thinking about it, what about all the people in different time zones? They are getting shafted out of their votes. Hmmmm.....
Next up are Betsey and Tony and Bethany and Derek. Colbie Callait will also perform. First, we get to hear about the pro's most memorable year. Allison says her most memorable year was 2008, the year she had her daughter. Val says his most memorable year was 1994, when his parents moved their family to 'Murica so Val and Maks could pursue their dreams. HOLY CRAP! Look at Maks! That is definitely 1994 hair. Hooooo boy! Bet he's thrilled to see that picture plastered on national tv.
We're back with Betsey and Tony. Betsey's most memorable year was 1975, the year she had her daughter Lulu. Soon afterward, Betsey's marriage fell apart and she decided to open her own business. Since then, at the end of every fashion show she has brought Lulu out onto the runway with her. This song is her thank you to Lulu. They are dancing to Love Will Keep Us Together. Lulu walks her mom down the 'runway' to start the dance. You can actually see the love between those two. The dance for tonight is the jive, and frankly, I don't see a whole lot of jive from Betsey. Lots of cuteness, theatrics, and a handstand, but not much jive.
Judges: Carrie Ann says that was phenomenal and she nailed every single step of that dance. Julianne says the way Betsey celebrates her daughter is the way America celebrates Betsey. And she got her knees high. Bruno thinks he saw her Victoria's Secret. But Bruno saw a part where she went wrong.
Up to Erin: blah blah blah. Next week, viewers want to see Betsey with Val. Betsey is totally okay with that. Janel, however, is not and they mock fight.
Scores: Carrie Ann 8, Julianne 7, Bruno 7, and 'Murica 7. I think I need to go watch that dance again. I must have missed something.
Tony's most memorable year was 1998, the year he met his wife. They went on a blind date and four hours later he asked her to marry him. They've been married for 15 years. That. Is. Adorable.
We're back. Four more couples find out their fate! Bethany and Derek are safe! Antonio and Cheryl are safe. Michael and Emma are in jeopardy. Lea and Artem are safe.
Bethany and Derek are up. Her most memorable year was 2009 when she started her YouTube channel. She started it because she was bullied. Apparently she was bullied by people she thought were her friends and a lot of it had to do her with personal appearance. Those videos gave her her voice back. People are awful and mean online. That took some guts. Colbie Callait is performing live for them. They are doing the rumba. Okay, this is a really hard dance to describe without going on and on so bear with me. The background of this dance is a wall of words, some awful some beautiful. The dance does a great job of representing Bethany's journey though those words. This is truly a Derek Hough production and I mean that in a very complimentary way. At the end all the words reappear. Derek steps off stage and Bethany clears the screen with a swipe of her hands then air writes words that appear on the background, "I love who I am". It's incredibly powerful with the dance that proceeded it and Colbie Callait's live performance.
Judges: Julianne is near tears before she even starts talking and says that what Bethany wishes she could have told herself years ago she just told so many girls tonight. Not just girls...but everyone who has ever felt the way Bethany felt. Then she tells Derek through tears that there wasn't enough rumba content. Derek says, "It's okay, Sis!" Bruno says that it's good to see her express her emotion but that her hip action needs some work. Carrie Ann says when you are totally true to yourself it comes through and that it was gorgeous.
Erin hugs her. Bethany looks really emotional. She says the dance was a challenge but it was most important to get her message out.
Scores: Carrie Ann 8, Julianne 8, Bruno 8, 'Murica 9.
Michael and Emma. Micheal's most memorable year was 2001, the year he won Daytona. That was also the race where Dale Earnhardt crashed and died on the last lap. Watching this interview with Michael is so different than how he appears on the show normally. This version we are seeing - this real, stripped down, all-jokes-aside version of Micheal Waltrip is powerful, and I am grateful that he showed this side. He and Emma are doing the quickstep this week to "Giving It Up For Your Love" which is a song he and Dale used to sing on the back of a boat (probably with a few beers involved). He says, "I plan on dancing it beautifully. But then I keep thinking if I mess up he might like that too. (laughs) He might like that better." Dance time! Bless his heart. He's giving it his all. You can see him either counting steps or just talking through the dance.
Judges: Bruno can see the dancer in him trying to get out. His frame was wrong and he went wrong so many times. Tom interrupts him to move on to Carrie Ann. Carrie Ann says she wants to cry because he started so strong and then he puttered out. Julianne says it's like yin and yang where there are moments that are so great then others that aren't. She calls him out on his frame (like the deodorant commercial where you're afraid to lift your arms) and he says something to the effect of 'can't you just flip me over a good paddle and I'll be better next week?' Julianne calls on the audience a/k/a 'Murica, a/k/a Tom and says to give him a good score. Pretty sure that's not how this works. Hey! Bill Engvall is in the audience!
Erin says she's not a judge, but she's his coworker and knows how much Dale meant to him. He talks a bit and says he was having a ball until that first mess up. ::sadface:: The camera cuts to Bill Engvall again and it looks like he's crying. That makes me even more sad.
Scores: Carrie Ann 6, Julianne 6, Bruno 6, 'Murica 7.
Next up are Lea and Artem. What?!?! No commercial. Lea talks about her dad and says that he was diagnosed with cancer in 2003. They only had about a week. So they celebrated all the holidays in a week. On the last day when they were celebrating Christmas, he got out of his chair and danced with her and she says, "For me in my life, the way he died....taught me how to live." Annnnddd I'm crying. I'm never going to make it through their dance.
They are doing a contemporary dance. Oh sweet lord, even the lyrics are killing me. It's a beautiful dance, probably the best I've seen in a few seasons. It's so full of emotion... I can't even....I have no idea how she made it through that dance. She goes over to Tom and he gives her a big hug and we hear her gasping trying to control her emotions. ::tissues::
Carrie Ann says she'll remember this dance forever. Julianne says that it moved her and probably everyone else (everyone else in the building applauds in agreement) and she says that it was flawless. Bruno calls her an exquisite performer. Take THAT, Barishnikov! We'll find out scores when we come back. Damn commercials.
Welcome back. Up with Erin, and she calls Artem out for being emotional. Erin..girl..knock it off. Scores! Carrie Ann 10, Julianne 10, Bruno 10, 'Murcia 9. Whaaaaa? Erin: EWWWWWW! For once I am totally with her!
Antonio and Cheryl are up next. They are doing a samba to a Janet Jackson song. Oh that's right! He was in the video for "Love Will Never Do". I loved that video! We get to meet his mom. He says he's dancing for her. Oh, they are actually dancing to Love Will Never Do. It's kind of meh. Although - it's better than he's done in several weeks.
Judges: Julianne says he's getting more comfortable with the steps but he needs to make bigger moves to fill the space around him. Bruno says he thought we were watching a preview of Magic Mike 2 1/2 - Dancing with the Stud. Dude, no. Just no! Channing Tatum can actually dance. No offense Antonio. Carrie Ann says the opening was hot and that he's proving himself to be the heartthrob of the season.
Up to Erin: they pretty much talk about Antonio being shirtless.
Scores: Carrie Ann 7, Julianne 7, Bruno 7, 'Murica 8.
We're back. Time for more results! Alfonso and Witney are safe. Sadie and Mark are safe. Tommy and Peta are in jeopardy and are dancing next.
Tommy and Peta are hanging out in some kind of studio and Peta is not having a good hair day. Like, at ALL. She asks him where he got into the tango and he tells her it's while he was in prison. Please, for the love of the censors, don't go into detail Tommy! Apparently he got stopped and was subsequently busted for transporting drug paraphernalia. Sounds like he was given the choice to take the rap or they'd go after his son, so he did the time. That's love. I don't think either of my parents would go to jail for me. He says he learned how to live each moment one moment at a time and it was a turning point in his life. So the jive they are doing is a celebration of his freedom. They are dancing to Jailhouse Rock. This is not their best routine. I think maybe he's sober and that's the problem. Gotta give it to him - he can move for an older guy.
Judges: Bruno says there's no chain in the world that can bind his free spirit. Carrie Ann says that his naturalness saves him every time. Julianne says there's no denying she's obsessed with him and that he loves to dance and that he's enjoyable to watch. I agree with all of those statements. She also thinks that wasn't his best dance. Julianne, don't make me like you. I can't be all snarky when I agree with you all the time.
Up to Erin: she says to bring the handcuffs and keys over. Heh. Tommy says he has lots of fun. And we start the prison jokes. You just had to go there, didn't you, Erin?
Scores: Carrie Ann 7, Julianne 7, Bruno 7, and 'Murica 7. More prison jokes. ::NEXT::
Sadie and Mark are up next and then Witney and Alfonso.
Last week Mark was upset about the scores. Sadie cheers him up by quoting Mark's words of encouragement to her back to Mark. Well played, Sadie! Sadie's most memorable year was 2012 when Duck Dynasty started. She says at first she thought it was really cool but it's hard to be in the public eye and references her grandpa's 'situation' where he was outspoken about religion and the press came after him. She defends him, but does it in a way that makes me wonder how much Phil's opinions were truly supported by his family. I mean, did they agree with him and think he should have just kept his opinion to himself or do they agree to disagree? Mark and Sadie are doing the samba and you see them rehearsing and he says 'angry duck, angry duck...feathers all ruffled.' For the love of Grilled Cheesus, can we let the duck flapping thing go?!?!? EVERY week it's worked into the show. We get it. I swear! Dance time. Nope. the whole famn damily is involved in this dance. Mark is dressed up like a Robertson and Sadie is dressed like a rebel child of Swan Lake. Credit where credit is due, that girl has a ton of natural dance talent.
Judges: HAHAHAAHA! The people in the sky box all donned fake beards too. Carrie Ann says it's her favorite samba of the night. Julianne says it's the perfect combo of content and concept. Bruno gets dramatic and does the usual Bruno thing. I'm guessing that means he likes it.
Up to Erin: more duck calls. She asks Sadie what it was like and she says it was fun. Mark says the beard is itchy.
Scores: Carrie Ann 9, Julianne 10, Bruno 9, 'Murica 9. Mark is much happier with these scores.
Next up: Alphonso and Witney and then...dun, dun, DUN... elimination!
We are back with Alfonso saying that he has had many memorable years. But we are going to focus on the six memorable years he spent playing Carlton on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. (No Will Smith in the audience again...tsk tsk). Alfonso says he loved that role but that it pigeon-holed him as an actor. You know, Alfonso should take his pigeon-hole issue to the Duck Dynasty clan and see if they can help him out. Get it?!??! Alfonso, own your Carlton, man! This week he wants to please the fans and give America what he feels they have been asking for since the beginning of this show - the Carlton. The dance is labeled as jazz. He and Witney are amazing. And I mean AMAZING.
Judges: Julianne says she's glad he made us wait for the Carlton but that people are going to remember Alfonso. Bruno goes on and on and I'm still not sure what he said. Carrie Ann says 'finally!'.
Up to Erin and she tells everyone to do the Carlton. Alfonso says he did this for the fans and that he went back in time. Witney says it was challenging to learn the Carlton and that it has a technique all it's own. Erin wants to know what that is and Alfonso tells her you have to lead with your hands and the key is to come over the top when swinging your arms around. Michael Waltrip is trying it in the background and it's just not working. Alfonso says that the best non-Carlton-Carlton he's ever seen is Witney's. Awwwwwwww! But also, he's absolutely right!
Scores: Carrie Ann 10, Julianne 10, Bruno 10, 'Murica 10. Erin asks how it feels and Alfonso says it feels so good!
Yet more commercials and then we eliminate someone.
Enough fun, everyone. We are going to ruin someone's dreams. Tommy and Peta are safe, so it's down to Betsey and Tony and Michael and Emma. And......
Betsey and Tony are eliminated. Lots of people boo. Betsey is gracious and adorable and even Erin looks emotional.
We recap dances and are reminded to vote. See you next week, when partners are all switched up 'Murica!