It’s Most Memorable Year Night, an episode of each season that always tugs at the heartstrings. This year, it also signifies the week that half the field got a 24. So many emotions all distilled down to one score.
Frankie Muniz and Witney Carson (24) Frankie chooses this year as his most memorable because he says he’s had nine concussions and several mini strokes that have affected his memory, so he’s living in the now. Bryan Cranston–who played his TV Dad– says he’ll be his memory. Their quickstep is a very sparkly routine full of effects and lost of quickstep content. Len says the same thing! He liked Frankie’s frame. Bruno thinks the spring was back in his step tonight. Carrie Ann says his joy is contagious and his moves are clean and neat.
Terrell Owens and Cheryl Burke (24) 2012 was the year that Terrell lost his grandmother, who essentially raised him. His Viennese waltz is in her memory. It’s probably the best he’s done, and the routine ends with him in a spotlight, looking upwards towards her in heaven. Of course, he’s in tears.Bruno calls him elegant and says his flow and posture were excellent. Carrie Ann says the reverence he showed toward the situation elevated it. Len says there was an ease and an elegance.
Nikki Bella and Artem Chigvintsev (24) In 2016, Nikki came back from a career-threatening and life-altering neck injury. Their contemporary dance, which has a very clear wrestling theme, is strong and solid. It heavily features Artem’s back muscles. Carrie Ann calls it a perfect blend of artistry and Len follows that up by mentioning athleticism. Bruno calls it powerful and makes all sorts of 50 Shades references that simply aren’t necessary, but we all know that’s never stopped Bruno before.
Nick Lacey and Peta Murgatroyd (22) Nick and Vanessa got married in 2011 and he’s going to try to kill me by dancing Contemporary to “Falling Slowly”. It’s kind of an oddly staccato routine, but it’s effective. Nick’s crying. Len calls it touching and creative but at times unstable. Bruno says it showed his intensity and liked the jumpng section, but wants Nick to watch his balance. Carrie Ann says it was his best dance ever.
Lindsey Sterling and Mark Ballas (26) Lindsey was very close to her dad, who got a teaching job just to pay for her violin lessons. He died in 2016 from cancer. Their Viennese waltz is a whimsical tribute to him, with Lindsey as herself and Mark dressed in her dad’s signature hat and scarf. There’s kind of a cool shadow moment at the end and a single red balloon that goes with the song. It’s all insanely moving and I think I finally appreciate Mark Ballas, Lord help me. Bruno says she was dancing with her soul. Carrie Ann thanks her. Len wanted a bit more Viennese waltz content, but he liked it.
Derek Fisher and Sharna Burgess (23) In 2007, Derek’s daughter Tatum was diagnosed with a rare eye cancer and she had surgery as an infant. Derek also walked away from his contract with the Utah Jazz to care for her. The good news is that his daughter is alive and well today. Their jazz routine is an upbeat celebratory dance that leaves poor Tatum in tears anyway. Carrie Ann says it was full of emotion but a bit out of sync. Len calls it their best dance. Bruno says it was great tribute.
Jordan Fisher and Lindsay Arnold (29) Jordan was adopted by his grandparents in 2005 since his teen mom had a drug problem and couldn’t hack it. Their contemporary routine builds to a crescendo of epic proportions with lots of spins and lifts. Bruno calls it exquisitely flawless and says Jordan dances with sincerity. Carrie Ann echos that, calling it pure love and gratitude. He gets the first 10s of the season. It’s the only routine I want to watch again from the night.
Sasha Pieterse and Gleb Savchenko (24) In 2016, She got engaged as she was also battling with her weight and the end of her show, Pretty Little Liars. Their foxtrot is fine, but nothing exciting. Bruno says she has a natural grace. Carrie Ann liked the storytelling. Len liked how much foxtrot content there was. As usual, it’s not the showstopper of the night.
Vanessa Lachey and Maks Chmerkovskiy (24) 2017 marks the birth of Vanessa and Nick’s third child, Phoenix, who was born at 29 weeks. They have a rumba to a song sung by Nick. It’s a strong and not very sexy dance, as these usually are, but it was very personal and touching. Carrie Ann points out a wobble in a turn, but calls it a beautiful expression of motherhood. Len says Maks knows what makes the old judge happy, indicating there was lots of content. Bruno calls it romantic and classy.
Drew Scott and Emma Slater (24) In 2007, Drew failed as an actor but became a Property Brother. His hair has also improved vastly in the last decade. Their jive builds nicely and hits a high when Jonathan joins his brother Drew in tandem, dancing with Emma. Lots of kicks and flicks ensue and it’s a lot of fun after so many tears. Len calls it his best dance. Bruno calls it a full on jive. Carrie Ann liked it, but calls out his hands, creating the term “pronging it”.
Victoria Arlen and Val Chmerkovskiy (27) In 2010, after Victoria started to rebound from the neurological conditions that made her a vegetable, everything came back except her legs and she was in a wheelchair for a many years, until sometime within the last year. In the dance, she emerges from her wheelchair and Val pushes her in it for a few beats until they foxtrot with total joy. At the end, they make their way back over to the wheelchair and she breaks down for a moment. Bruno says her determination is inspiring and she dances like a star. Carrie Ann callls it tender and beautiful. Len echoes that and calls it lovely.
In jeopardy: Nick and Peta and Derek and Sharna. In a bit of a surprise, it’s Derek and Sharna. In many other seasons, he’d be cruising along. This season has some interesting dynamics as far as voting loyalties and social media followings. EJ will see you next week for Disney night as we approach the halfway point of the season!