Dancing With the Stars is back and tonight it’s Most Memorable Year Night!
The 11 remaining contestants and their pro partners are performing routines inspired by a year that marked a truly significant time of their life.
Evanna Lynch will commemorate the year she learned she would play Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter franchise, while DeMarcus Ware will celebrate through dance the year he won the Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos, and we’ll see everyone’s emotional reflections on their past.
ET is live blogging all the ballroom action, so be sure to follow along with us here as we break it all down! And don’t forget to have some tissues handy, as this week always tends to be extra emotional as we learn more about the stars’ personal lives.
And the Couple Leaving Is…
At the end of the emotional episode, the two couples in jeopardy were Nancy and Val and Tinashe and Brandon.
After all the votes and scores were considered, it was Nancy who ended up getting the axe, leaving Tinashe to fight on another week.
Nancy was left speechless by the elimination, and had a hard time fighting through her emotions before the show came to a close with a big, emotional group hug.
DeMarcus and Linday Define Argentine Tango
The pair came out in fiery ensembles for a jaw-dropping Argentine Tango — “Lux Aeterna” by Clint Mansell & Kronos Quartet — for one of the greatest displays of strength we've seen on the show, ever.
While the judges loved the passion and showmanship, they knocked them for a few technical missteps and the pair earned a still very formidable 26 out of 30.
Although, it's hard to imagine he was disappointed after his adorable kids ran up to him on stage to hug him after the dance. After a moment like that, everything else falls by the wayside.
DeMarcus Gets Emotional About Winning the Big Game
The former NFL star chose 2016 as his Most Memorable Year, because it's when he won the Super Bowl. So, yeah, that makes sense.
In the pre-taped package, DeMarcus explained how it felt to deal with challenge after challenges — including three miscarriages with his ex-wife — on the path to the big game.
He reflected on how they adopted a little girl and then finally welcomed a little boy, and his family got to watch him win the game.
Watching DeMarcus tear up might have been one of the emotional highlights of the night.
Tinashe and Brandon Dance Modern Rumba
When Tinashe took to the stage — looking undeniably amazing in a shimmering blue dress — she and Brandon managed to pull off rumba with, as Bruno put it, a “liquid fluidity” that was stunning.
Their routine was set to a soulful rendition of her own hit song “2 On,” and it provided the perfect tone for their sultry, beautiful number.
After the dance, as the pair spoke with Erin, the cameras cut to her dad in the audience, and his confused reaction was the icing on the cake.
Len called the number their best performance, which Carrie Ann and Bruno apparently agreed with because their earned their highest score of the season thus far: 27 out of 30.
Tinashe Was an Adorable Baby
Tinashe looked back over her parents' support, and the pre-taped package included some adorable childhood video of the pop star, and also included a sweet visit from her parents.
Also, she apparently wrote her first song when she was 6, and that's just adorable.
Bobby and Sharna Share Their Dreams Through Dance
Bobby's performance tonight is way different than those we've seen from him in the past.
The radio star and his partner performed a beautiful, inspirational contemporary routine that was a perfect fit for the beautiful performance of “A Million Dreams,” from The Greatest Showman soundtrack, and it blew everyone away.
Bobby was brought to tears after the dance, and had a hard time finding his words as he shared his inspirational words for those watching to keep trying, no matter your circumstances.
The judges were especially supportive (with Len even calling it his best dance of the season), and the pair earned a 23 out of 30, which is their best score by several points.
It was great to see the human side to a man who has been so over-the-top energetic, and hopefully it translates into votes.
Bobby Bones Appreciates Being a High School Graduate
In 1988, Bobby became the first person in his family to ever graduate high school, which is why he choose that year as his most memorable.
Bobby opened up about the challenges he faced as a teenager — including a troubled mother and an absentee father — and it brought a lot of context to his drive to make people happy and bring joy to the world.
Watching Bobby react to his powerful package was interesting, because it showed a somber side to the energetic star we haven't seen thus far.
John and Emma Deliver Moving Waltz for His Mom
John and Emma used their dance this week — an elegant waltz set to a cover of “Smile” by Ray Chew Live — to pay tribute to John's late mother, and it was a powerful, gorgeous celebration of his love for her.
After the dance, John and Emma joined Erin on the balcony, and John had a hard time fighting back his tears, but admitted that his dance and the support from his family made him truly happy.
The judges were impacted by his emotions, but also had some criticism of his posture. The pair walked away with a score of 21 out of 30.
John Schneider Tears Up
The Dukes of Hazzard star also chose the year he lost his mom as his most memorable, and got choked up thinking about his loss.
It was a deeply touching pre-taped package that brought John to tears as he watched live in the studio, but it also seemed to bring him some emotional motivation for his performance.
Juan Pablo and Cheryl Dominate the Dance Floor!
The pair hit the stage with a steamy samba — set to “Ni Tu Ni Yo” by Jennifer Lopez feat. Gente de Zona — and to say they killed it would be an understatement.
After performing a dance that was so far beyond anything we've seen this season, the pair faced the judges who were effusive in their praise.
After Len, Bruno and Carrie showered them with compliments (including Carrie calling it one of the best sambas ever performed on DWTS) the judges revealed their score paddles, and the couple got '10's across the board for a perfect score of 30 out of 30.
They earned the first '10's of the season AND the first perfect score of the season at the same time, and just took a commanding lead during tonight's show.
Juan Pablo Di Pace Gets Candid About Bullying
In his pre-taped package, the Fuller House star said he was bullied as a child for being awkward and artistic, but found support when he entered show business.
It's hard to imagine someone like Juan Pablo ever being awkward, but it was a personal and emotional story that made him a serious contender.
Val and Jenna Take Center Stage
As DWTS came back from commercial, Lukas Graham was singing live while Val and Jenna expressed their love with a romantic dance that just radiated joy.
The gorgeous number ended in a kiss, and everyone can appreciate that sort of sweet PDA.
Joe and Jenna Get Some Backup for Their Sweet Performance
The pair took the stage to dance a Viennese waltz during a live performance of “You Are the Reason” by Calum Scott and Leona Lewis, who added some beautiful gravitas to their dance.
Joe is definitely growing as a dancer, but he has a long way to go, and it's actually kind of fun to see one of the contestants evolving.
The judges appreciated his effort — and acknowledged how hard it is to judge their dance when they like Joe as a person so much.
The pair earned a disappointing 18 out of 30, but it's not an undeserved score.
'Grocery Store Joe' Amabile Reflects on the Year He Is Currently In
Joe, like Milo, chose 2018 as his Most Memorable Year, and for good reason: He found fame through DWTS, and more importantly he found love on Bachelor in Paradise.
In the pretaped package, his girlfriend, Kendall Wood, showed her support and encouraged him to overcome his fears, which is why being on DWTS has been so important to him as well.
He's definitely charming, and he's got the fan base. Let's see how far those take him, because he brings a fun enthusiasm to the season.
Evanna and Keo Bring the Magic Once Again
Continuing from her emotional pre-taped package, Evanna paid tribute to the movie series that changed her life by performing a Viennese waltz set to “Hedwig's Theme” by John Williams from Harry Potter.
The beautiful, classy number had all the energy, enthusiasm and whimsy that you could hope for from a routine about magic and mysticism, and the judges were floored by it.
The pair earned a 27 out of 30 for the routine — making it their highest-scoring dance and tying them for the top spot on the leaderboard!
Evanna Lynch Recalls How 'Harry Potter' Gave Her Purpose
Evanna is going back to her role in Harry Potter, but in her case it doesn't feel the least bit forced.
The actress opened up about being in and out of hospitals for her eating disorder, and then finding a purpose and a love for life with the Harry Potter books.
Getting cast to perform in the adaptations was a beautiful full-circle moment for her, so it's understandable the impact the movies had on her.
Pros Recall Their Most Memorable Years
It's great to see the pros weigh in. They are people too (and arguably famous in their own rights) and it's great to hear the emotional stories of their most memorable years as well!
Alexis and Alan Honor Her Mother's Memory Through Dance
In a DWTS moment that recalled Bindi Irwin's tributes to her late father a few seasons ago, Alexis and Alan brought some real emotion to the stage for a powerful moment.
The contemporary routine, set to a cover of “How to Save a Life,” brought most of the audience to tears, and after it was done Alexis couldn't hold back her tears.
The pair got a great deal of love and emotional support from the judges and from her partner. For their tearful dance, the couple earned a 26 out of 30, which is their highest score of the season thus far.
Alexis Ren Tears Up Over the Loss of Her Mother
For Alexis, her Most Memorable Year was one of the most painful a person could ever deal with. It was the year her mother died after a battle with cancer.
Watching Alexis break down in tears felt raw and emotional. It's impossible not to feel for her when she reflects on how her mom would be proud.
However, for this story, the picture-in-picture feature felt a little… inappropriate? Maybe? Or manipulative? Maybe this new feature doesn't work for every star.
Val Expresses His Love for Jenna Johnson
Val and his fellow DWTS pro Jenna — who is dancing with Grocery Store Joe this season — got engaged earlier this year, and their love story has been an undercurrent through out the last few weeks.
So when Val gushed over the family he has and is hoping to grow with, it was genuine, heartfelt emotion that was truly swoon-worthy.
“I'm really excited. So far, it's been better than it even sounded from other people,” Val marveled. “I'm really excited to have a family and I'm really proud to have the significant other that I have.”
Nancy and Val Get a Sweet Serenade
When Nancy and Val took to the stage for their beautiful, classy rumba, they got some special help from Lukas Graham, who performed live behind them as they gracefully owned the dance floor.
Nancy looked effortlessly elegant in a burgundy dress that was a perfect compliment to Val's understated black ensemble, and the love she expressed for her family was evident in the joy radiating from their routine.
The judges appreciated the “tenderness” and “warmth” of the routine, and Nancy's growth as a dancer, but there was a bit of critique for the content of the choreography.
The joyful pair earned a formidable 22 out of 30.
Nancy Reflects on Her Family
The Facts of Life star chose 2006 as her Most Memorable Year, because it was when her family finally came together and became complete.
Nancy got emotional in her pre-taped package, while the Nancy we see in picture-in-picture couldn't help but smile as she looked at the beautiful segment.
Milo and Witney Graduate to the Next Level of Greatness
There is absolutely no question that Milo knows how to dance like a genius, and his graduation-themed routine tonight was absolutely stunning.
Milo and Witney performed a fast-paced fun jive set to “Can You Do This” by Aloe Blacc, and the judges were obviously falling in love with the young star.
After their energetic dance, which shone even brighter due to their silver routine, the pair took to the balcony to talk with Erin Andrews. Milo is young and charming (and maybe not the best teller of anecdotes), but he's definitely a contender this season.
The pair earned a wildly impressive 27 out of 30, which definitely puts them at the top of the leaderboard thus far.
Milo Manheim Is Very Young — Also, He Was In 'Zombies'
Milo's most memorable year is 2018. As a 17-year-old, it's not like he has a whole lot of years to choose from, so it makes a lot of sense.
The pre-taped package also featured supportive interviews from his mom, actress Camryn Manheim, and his Zombies co-star Meg Donnelly. DWTS isn't done reminding us that he was in Zombies, but that's OK.
Interesting, no picture-in-picture for Milo. They must not have been expecting many tears.
Mary Lou & Sasha Waltz Like Champions
When they hit the dance floor, Mary Lou and Sasha tapped into the importance of Mary Lou's legacy with a Viennese waltz set to a soulful rendition of “We Are the Champions.”
Dressed all in a regal blue, the pair owned the dance floor with a heartfelt routine that was a perfect showcase for the Olympian's determination and growth as a dancer.
Judges Len, Bruno and Carrie Ann had a lot of praise for the performance and for her enthusiasm (also, they are going to need a whole lot of tissue boxes for Carrie Ann, because she's getting the feels early tonight).
For their efforts, the couple earned a score of 24 out of 30. Not a bad score at all to kick off the night — but it's also harder for the judges to be critical during Most Memorable Year week, for obvious reasons.
Mary Lou Recalls Going for the Gold
Mary Lou won the Olympic gold in 1989, and it came months after undergoing surgery for her busted knee and having to relearn how to walk.
The story is emotional (especially considering the impact she had on American culture) and it reminds us why Mary Lou is a household name.
Also interesting is the picture-in-picture where we get to watch the contestants watch their own emotional pre-taped packages. They are really trying to capture as much crying as possible tonight.
Someone's Going Home Tonight!
With no show tomorrow night (because of the AMAs), another couple is getting sent home at the end of tonight's show. The elimination will be determined by last Tuesday's viewer votes, combined with tonight's judges scores (meaning the couple who gets eliminated tonight can't even benefit from the emotional power of their heartfelt Most Memorable Year story). It'll be interesting to see how that impacts the results.
Where We Stand Going Into Night Three
At the end of last week's Las Vegas Night (following two weeks of grueling rehearsals for the stars and their pro partners, who were all made to learn and perform two dances each week), it was time to send one couple home, and in one of the most disheartening eliminations in recent memory, blind paralympian Danelle Umstead and her partner, Artem Chigvintsev, were the ones to get the axe.
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