In the words of a speechless Julianne Hough… emotion equals emotion.
Okay, so maybe we shouldn’t quote Julianne, but she has a point because Dancing with the Stars Most Memorable Year night is the classic “Get Your Kleenex” episode. We have sickness, estranged parents, marriages and even the formation of Fifth Harmony. Is there anything more emotional than that?
Answer: going home. After a standoff between Erika Jayne and Mr. T, it’s Mr. T who drops from the A-Team to the B-Squad. But for the following contestants, save your tears.
Rashad Jennings and Emma Slater
Judges Score: 39/40
Giving us contemporary gold, Rashad dedicates his story to his father who underwent surgery right as Rashad’s career was taking off. From moment go, it’s clear that Rashad is going to lock in the season’s first 10. His moves were crisp and clean and powerful. He ends with a giant hug from his dad and a standing ovation, and suddenly… his nearly perfect score doesn’t matter.
Simone Biles and Sasha Farber
Judges Score: 36/40
Simone and Sasha’s Viennese Waltz dedicated to Simone’s adoptive parents begins to crack open up that Olympic shell we’ve seen so often in these hardcore athletes. It’s not a surprise that Simone’s lines and footing is perfect, but it’s the tears she shed from beginning to end that reveal just how beautiful the dance is.
Heather Morris and Alan Bersten (subbing for an injured Maksim Chmerkovskiy)
Judges Score: 35/40
Heather Morris’ best year is not capital “G” Glee, but rather the lowercase “g” glee that her husband brings her because that’s what happiness is, guys — the people around you. They dance a cha cha to “Shut Up and Dance,” and it has everything. It’s faster than anything we’ve seen this season, and after a few weeks of watching Heather’s expertise be overlooked, it’s impossible to miss after tonight. Heather Morris’ cha cha breathed LIFE into us all, and the judges agree.
Best of the Rest
Nancy Kerrigan’s foxtrot lands her near the top with a 33, while Normani Kordei rumbas her way to a 32, along with Bonner Bolton and his Viennese Waltz. David Ross’ Viennese Waltz clocks in at 31. Nick Viall’s rumba and Erika Jayne’s cha cha both collect 30s, while Mr. T’s Amazing Grace (seriously, who was singing tonight?!) waltz came in at 28.
USA TODAY Sparkle Points Podium:
Heather Morris: 5/5
Bury me with the memory of Heather Morris tearing away a wedding dress skirt to reveal a lace and satin jumpsuit for her cha cha. It was cha cha perfection, and the only thing more impressive than that ensemble was her footwork.
Nick Viall: 4.5/5
A big part of sparkle points involves being shamelessly over the top and gaudy, so when your America’s perennial Bachelor and dance a Rumba as a metaphor for your experience and tear away your silk shirt AND pick your fiancée up out of the audience, we throw sparkle points all over your chiseled body.
Erika Jayne: 4.5/5
Let’s be very clear — Erika Jayne is on pace to be the most absurd dancer in DWTS history, and it’s legendary. This sparkle-fringe one-piece number is out of control. No one is more bonkers than Erika Jayne.