Dancing With the Stars Recap: Most Memorable Year — Tears and Triumphs in Season 20, Week 4
What a great week — but also a bittersweet one. Dancing With the Stars Season 20 is often at its best on Most Memorable Year night, especially when the emotions and dances feel authentic, not forced. There was a lot of honest emotion out there in Week 4, and when they felt it, we felt it.
Robert Herjavec had us sniffling over his mom, who was a huge DWTS fan. Michael Sam had us cheering for his strength — and mad at his dad for turning his back on his son (again). Rumer Willis wowed us with her inner and outer beauty, and boy can she dance. And Noah Galloway. Whew. Impressive. Sexy. Powerful.
These are the kinds of routines that have kept DWTS the most-watched show for a decade.
Not every great dance was a tearjerker. Patti LaBelle had us wanting to get up and shake it with the pros, and Willow Shields took us right into The Hunger Games while taking herself to the top of the leaderboard with *three* 10s. The odds are definitely in her favor now!
Not so fortunate? Chris Soules and Suzanne Somers just aren’t connecting with the judges, but they both made it to Disney Week 5. Sadly, Michael will not be with them. He and Peta were booted based on last Week 3’s scores and votes, which is tough to see after he opened his heart and soul in a very personal Rumba. At least he got to share his story for us before leaving.
Here’s a quick rundown of where the couples stood after Week 4:
Willow & Mark — 39
Nastia & Derek — 36
Rumer & Val — 35
Riker & Allison — 34
Robert & Kym — 34
Noah & Sharna — 32
Michael & Peta — 30 - eliminated
Patti & Artem — 30
Suzanne & Tony — 28
Chris & Witney — 27
Read on for a full recap of the Week 4 action:
OPENING NUMBER: Love the opening with the celebs passing photos to each other - and Chris drops his!
RESULTS: They’re doing this again. Nastia and Derek … you’re safe and dancing first. They already knew they were dancing first, so they took the pressure off her to know she's also not leaving.
1. Nastia Liukin and Derek Hough — Argentine Tango — Nastia chose 2008, the year she achieved her lifelong dream.Both of her parents were gymnasts and she wanted to be like them. She was in shock to win gold. She had never seen her father cry, but she saw him cry when she won. She brought her gold medal in for Derek to see. She wants to recreate that night and dedicate it to her parents. Her legs are works of art, she creates such beautiful shapes with them. Flexibility like nobody’s business. Such sharpness and intensity, he whips her around like a doll. Still not seeing a connection between them, but whew.
JUDGES: Len Goodman said this competition is "hotting up" and that was a fantastic dance. It was a fantastic Argentine Tango. The character of the AT is about the lady of the night and the sailor coming out. This was clean and physical but it just lacked what he likes to see in an AT. Tom Bergeron jumped in. What was missing? He missed the character of the dance, sunshine! It was a wonderful athletic dance. Good dancing affects his brain, great dancing affects his heart. Boos. Julianne Hough said she understands what Len was saying, but girl knows how to take a critique and improve on it. Nastia's back was so strong. She nailed it in 2008 and she nailed it tonight. Bruno Tonioli said it was a stunner. It was full of exhilarating shapes and shades. It had the dazzling quality of a gem when it’s sculpted by the hands of a master. They were both masters. Carrie Ann Inaba said Len was Grumpy and the dance was gold. Len kept yelling out, and some lady behind him booed. Haha.
SCORES: Love Len’s reaction to the critiques of his critique. 9, 8, 9, 10 (first 10 of the season) = 36 out of 40.
RESULTS: The next couple safe is … Robert and Kym! Riker and Allison … you’re in jeopardy. Michael and Peta … you are also in jeopardy - and you’re dancing next.
2. Michael Sam and Peta Murgatroyd — Rumba — His most memorable year was a life changer. When he was growing up they didn’t have a lot of money. His oldest brother was killed by a gunshot. That was hard for the family. He remembers a lot of fights between his mom an dad. One day his dad just left, and his family fell apart. When Michael was in college he gave his dad a second chance. In 2014, Michael announced he’s an openly proud gay man. What people don’t know is that it cost him his relationship with his father. Michael’s dad told the NY Time he was ashamed of Michael being gay, he didn’t want his grandkids raised in that environment. Michael was hurt. What a hypocrite his dad is - not even there for his kids and he’s judging how others are raised. How dare he. Michael is dancing to “Not My Father’s Son.” Very powerful story and song. Love that he has the strength to do this. Not the constant fluidity of a great Rumba, but the technical stuff is secondary to the emotions tonight. Michael’s emotional after the dance. Awww.
JUDGES: Julianne said she loves this stage in the competition. It’s when it gets real and you have to improve. What he did tonight was become so vulnerable and trusting. This was so beautiful. He was pointing his toes, his hips were going crazy. The part at the beginning, he had it. It was awesome. Bruno said he should be very proud of himself. It takes an incredible amount of guts to stand up for what you believe in. His dancing tonight was the best he’s ever done. Carrie Ann said dance is so much more than movement and what makes her happy is that tonight Michael understood why all of us dance. He was dancing his soul for us. But sometimes his posture - he’s very strong and it’s a powerful dance to try to reel it in a bit. But it was really beautiful. Len said he mentioned a tunnel - he thinks of DWTS as a journey and a tunnel. You go into tunnels and don’t do so well - last week he was in a tunnel and this week he’s in the light.
SCORES: 7, 7, 8, 8 = 30 out of 40. They were hoping for more 8s, you can see it in their faces.
3. Riker Lynch and Allison Holker — Tango — Last week they were tied for first. His most memorable year is 2014 because his band took off to the next level. He formed a band with his siblings because they are his best friends. They’ve been a band for seven years now and struggled at the start. Hearing their song on the radio for the first time was the best feeling. Black-and-white checkerboard background with red hot costumes. Tango can sometimes be less exciting to people than AT since you can’t do the lifts. But he’s as sharp and fast as always.
JUDGES: Bruno said Riker stands out - he has so much talent and enthusiasm. That music was so hard to interpret as a Tango, but they did a proper Tango out there. Carrie Ann said she saw a change in his demeanor, he was dancing wider and broader. The chemistry was a bit off tonight, they were dancing against each other but she sees the improvement. Len said it was a tad on the hectic side and he could pull his hold in a bit tighter. But this is much more technical than the AT. Given all that, it was better than last week and he’s proud of him. Julianne said in ballroom you have to focus on the frame. Get that space between both of them and it will feel more fluid. But to Julianne, they pop like nobody else. (Being in jeopardy means nothing, which Julianne has to know by now, she’s just pushing for them to get more votes.)
SCORES: 8, 8, 9, 9 = 34 out of 40. Tough judges to the left, generous judges to the right.
4. Robert Herjavec and Kym Johnson — Waltz — His most memorable year is 2006. Growing up, he had no money but he was the luckiest guy because his mother believed in him and had unconditional love for him. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer Stage IV in 2005. His mom only had about a year. Robert thought someone with his resources could fix that, but you learn quickly that the cancer doesn’t care. Death is the only equalizer. Robert got emotional talking about her. He remembers her saying “I love you, Robbie” and she looked away and she was gone. When they asked him to do DWTS he said yes immediately because she loved this show. She would’ve been so happy and cheering for him. They dance to “The Last Waltz.” Very classic, traditional dance. Beautiful. Are they going to get in trouble for that little lift onto the piano?
JUDGES: Carrie Ann said that was so sweet. She’s sure his mom is just beaming with love for her son. He reminds her of why this show became a hit. It embodies all the things that are beautiful about DWTS. She was transported to a bygone era. Len said it was the last waltz but we know it’s not his last dance, and it’s his best dance and the other thing - his mom is looking down right now and cheering and cheering. Well done, Robbie. Awww. Julianne said she’s such a sap. Nastia is not the only one who can take a critique - his frame was incredible. He was so happy to hear that! Jules commended Kym on her choreography. This is what made people want to be dancers. Classy and gorgeous. He has the best footwork and the ost technique of all the guys. Bruno said your guardian angel inspired your every move. Strictly ballroom and absolutely wonderful.
SCORES: 8, 9, 8, 9 = 34 out of 40. They are ecstatic about the scores.
RESULTS: Chris, Patti and Rumer are all safe.
5. Chris Soules and Witney Carson — Rumba — As you can imagine, Chris’ most memorable year was this last year when he went on The Bachelorette and then The Bachelor. His first engagement ended when his ex didn’t want to be on the farm. (She should’ve waited for him to be in L.A.) His sister submitted him for The Bachelor. They shared the actual letter (supposedly) sent in by his sister. When he first Whitney she was the type of person he could see himself with. 2014 was his most memorable year, mostly because he found Whitney. If only he could dance with his Whitney instead of Witney, it would be even more special. Love the set-up with the lights on the floor and the trees. Chris does a decent job, even if he’s not asked to do too much. He mostly stands, but … the focus tends to be on the woman in the Rumba anyway.
JUDGES: Len said he has to judge on the dancing, not about the emotions. That wasn’t that great. Julianne said every week he has improved and she can tell he’s putting so much focus into it but what’s missing is some connection. There’s something that he has to give to this Witney for the time being. Bruno said he’s genuine and honest in his dances. He is who he is. His turns tonight were much better. Just a bit more flow of movement but he’s moving the right way. Carrie Ann disagreed with Julianne. In the beginning he seemed a bit timid but something clicked and she felt the passion and saw that he was enjoying himself.
SCORES: Awkward talk about chemistry with Erin, as they keep flashing to Whitney. 7, 6 (yikes), 7, 7. It wasn’t that bad, was it? 27 out of 40.
6. Patti LaBelle and Artem Chigvintsev — Jazz — 1973 was her favorite year and none of the pros were even born then. That’s when her son was born. Before 1973, she was a traveling singer. She was a working woman but she felt like a lot was missing. She went to Japan with her husband, had some sake and got pregnant. Haha. She didn’t want to stop singing, she toured up till her ninth month. When she first held her son it was heaven. This week they are dancing to a song that was recorded shortly after her son was born. If she had known she would be dancing to the song in 2015, she would’ve recorded it slower. Haha! She’s hilarious. Love her blue flapper outfit. She has all the pro troupe members with her out there. She does her shakin move out there too. She always puts on a great show. Crowd goes nuts!
JUDGES: Julianne said she was doing everything, she makes Jules want to get out there and dance with her. So entertaining. Much more steps. Bruno said go for it, girl. Carrie Ann said “wooooo!” That was out of control. That was fierce. Len said it was a cappuccino of a dance - light and frothy, plenty of giggle, wiggle and rhythm. Good job.
SCORES: Patti said her son should be happy because he wanted her to do more actual dancing with steps. 8, 7, 7, 8 = 30 out of 40.
7. Rumer Willis and Val Chmerkovskiy — Waltz — 2014 was her most memorable year because she went through a lot of changes. (Lots of people picked this past year.) She’s grateful for the opportunities she had being the child of stars but it was tough to have all that attention. When she was a teenager she was super awkward and not comfortable with how she looked and people were nasty. She was called potato head and butterface. Everyone compared her to her parents, saying she looked more like her masculine father than her beautiful mother. She thought she could get plastic surgery or get skinny and that would be the answer, but it’s not. Her sister went to rehab and she was inspired because she didn’t hide from it, she owned it. Rumer realized she could be the same way and not listen to the bullies. Since doing DWTS she’s felt such an outpouring of love, she’s never felt more beautiful than she did on DWTS. Rumer is dedicating the dance to her sister and anyone who has felt like they’re not enough. You are deserving of love and value. Rumer always has the best outfits every week. Want this one too. A less traditional Waltz, but that fits these two perfectly. They are very modern and filled with power and passion. Val choreographs with this kind of raw emotion and she meets it. Is it a touch too on the Contemporary side, though, or does that not matter?
JUDGES: Bruno said that dance was like watching the striking reflection of who she is - beautiful, powerful and unique. She has an uncanny ability to connect with the character of the dance. (Demi and sister Tallulah in the audience.) She has to point her feet. Carrie Ann said when she watches Rumer dance she can’t explain, but she melts into her. There’s something so powerful, the velocity with which she moves. The way she finishes every move. She dances about 10 feet beyond where her arm ends. I love the way you dance. Len said for him it’s like Nastia and Derek’s dance, it’s a great dance, is it a Waltz? Has it got elegance and sophistication, natural and reverse turns. It has a flavor of Contemporary about it for him. (Yes. Can’t be a surprise to hear that.) Julianne said Rumer is such a beautiful juxtaposition - she’s strong and vulnerable, a woman and a little girl, And she’s herself. She dances for every girl, so thank you.
SCORES: 9, 8, 9, 9 = 35 out of 40.
RESULTS: Next couple safe is .. Noah and Sharna. Willow and Mark are in jeopardy. Suzanne and Tony are safe and dancing next.
8. Suzanne Somers and Tony Dovolani — Foxtrot — Suzanne struggled as an actress before Three’s Company. She told her agent she was done. Her agent pleaded for her to go on one more audition. Then her phone rang - and she got the job as Chrissy in Three’s Company. That’s when her life totally changed. The chemistry she had with John Ritter - that happens, if you’re lucky, once in a lifetime. This is the dance that Jack and Chrissy never got to have. She’s saying goodbye to John Ritter, and trying to give Carrie Ann the depth that she asked about last week. This one is for John. They start on the sitcom set with a “brains” joke from the show. Love how they recreated the set. The sitcom theme is still light and fun, so it’s hard to really give the emotional depth of something like Rumer’s Waltz/Contemporary.
JUDGES: Carrie Ann said she brought more depth (really?) with more content and grace. Len said it was full of the feel-good factor. He liked the concept, the content and the dance. Julianne said she was totally in her element. It was fun and charming, the content was great. Work on your upper body. Bruno said it was so sweet and uplifting with the evergreen quality of classic sitcoms. Plenty of content. Be careful not to lose your neck, her shoulders keep rising.
SCORES: 7, 7, 7, 7 = 28 out of 40. They liked it, but the scores don’t quite reflect that. Maybe they’re afraid to say the wrong thing to Tony?
9. Willow Shields and Mark Ballas — Contemporary — Willow’s most memorable year is 2011 since that’s when she auditioned for and landed the role of Primrose Everdeen. She was only 10 years old. Her first scene was a very emotional scene with Jennifer Lawrence. Jen calmed her down and told her she was doing things right. She was youngest on Hunger Games and now youngest on DWTS. Her age doesn’t really matter anymore. Once she gets out on the floor, she’s a fighter. They start on the starting block, all the tributes. Love the choreography, but there are so many dancers that it’s hard to just focus on Willow. But the other dances are vanquished until it’s Willow and Mark, like Katniss and Peeta. Wow. Mark dies in the end, guess Willow wins the 2015 Games! She’s such a great actress, and they were both into it right to the last second.
JUDGES: Len said he’s never seen Hunger Games, he thought it was about something to eat. But it was a great dance. Julianne said it was incredible. Her center of gravity is getting lower and deeper. She’s so solid on her feet. She’s taking everything they’re saying and improving. Bruno said it’s a triumph for his little warrior. She’s fierce and fearless, she’s attacking every move with clear purpose. It’s great to see someone so young doing so well. Vote for this girl, she’s brilliant! Carrie Ann said bravo, it was one of the most difficult dances. Everything about that was pitched perfectly, she’s blown away by Willow.
SCORES: Erin wanted to see if Liam Hemsworth was there. Love it. 10, 9, 10, 10 = 39! Highest score! They are so adorably thrilled!
10. Noah Galloway and Sharna Burgess — Contemporary — His most memorable year is 2005 in his second deployment to Iraq. The one thing he didn’t see was a tripwire across the road. When his tires hit the tripwire it detonated a roadside bomb and sent the Humvee through the air. They didn’t think Noah would make it. The helicopter took him and he woke up six days later on Christmas morning in D.C. He heard his mom come to his bedside and explain that he lost his left arm above elbow and left leg above the knee. He was a physical person before the military, and he woke up and everything he loved was gone. It depressed him. He portrayed an image that he wasn’t affected by it. He buried it all. He got to the point where he’d sit at home and drink to try and cope. He needed to deal with his anger and depression. He looked in the mirror and stopped seeing what he lost and focused on what he still had. Once he accepted his injury, he got back in the gym and started living a healthier life, and everything picked up. This dance represents the journey of acceptance from the man he was to the man he’s become. Serious moment and all but can we talk about how crazy hot he looks without a shirt? They spray tanned him good this week. Yeah, that’s shallow, but so what. The dance is so synchronized too. Powerful and the lifts are out of control.
JUDGES: Julianne didn’t know where to begin. Week after week she’s always said how strong, in control and focused he is. Today is the same but today there was something so free and beautiful. We all stand in front of the mirror and see things we don’t like, but he comes out and astonishes us every single week. Bruno said his experiences are unimaginable but his spirit soars unbroken. he is the ultimate role model. You want a superhero, there it is. Carrie Ann said, beyond his story which they all salute, when he dances, it’s like a haiku. With very few words he says something very profound. Maybe some of the movements are smaller and vocabulary of movement is less than other dancers, but it was more profound than most. Len said if ever a quote suited him it’s no guts, no glory. He’s an inspiration and everyone should stand up and applaud him. So they do!
SCORES: 8, 8, 8, 8 = 32 out of 40. They didn’t even show how she kicked his tooth out! And a wrist is sprained?
WHO GOES HOME?
Why do they always leave one minute to do this? Ugh. Save more time.
Not necessarily the bottom two: Michael & Peta and Riker & Allison.
Third couple eliminated in Season 20: Michael & Peta. Sad face. But not surprised face, based on last week.
The remaining couples need your votes to survive next week. Don’t forget to VOTE for your favorite couple at www.ABC.com or http://apps.facebook.com/votedwts. And here are all the voting numbers, since you should also call to support your team!
Who is getting your votes this week and why?