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Dancing With the Stars recap: Season 23, Episode 8

It’s that time of the season when we all hold hands and cry into our sequined hankies

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Eric McCandless/ABC

Dancing With the Stars

TV Show
Reality TV
run date:
Tom Bergeron, Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, Len Goodman, Erin Andrews, Julianne Hough
Current Status:
In Season

Ah, yes. Dancing With the Stars‘ biannual cry fest otherwise known as “Most Memorable Year” is upon us. DWTS isn’t messing around either: The show begins with world renowned violinist André Rieu’s 60-piece orchestra playing “My Heart Will Go On” while our pros waltz around like the gorgeous, bedazzled angels they are. What does this have to do with “Most Memorable Year?” I don’t know, and I don’t care because I’ll never let go, Jack. Not having Derek as Jack paired with Sharna as Rose seems like a big missed opportunity, but oh well, I guess we’ll just have to revisit Titanic on DWTS at a later date. (But seriously, the below deck Irish dance party is begging to be brought to the ballroom.)

Now that our tear ducts are sufficiently warmed up, let’s see what our stars have selected as their most memorable years:

Maureen McCormick and Artem Chigvintsev

Foxtrot, “From the Ground Up” by Dan + Shay

Maureen’s most memorable year is 1985, the year she married her husband, Michael. Michael hasn’t gotten as much air time as some of our other star’s significant others have in previous years (I’m looking at you, Ginger Zee), and that is a travesty. Post-Brady Brunch, Maureen hit the party scene hard and battled with a severe drug addiction — she says that Michael saved her from rock bottom. As she and Artem rehearse her homage to Maureen and Michael’s love story, Michael lovingly watches. Then during the live performance, Michael shows up IN A TUX. After Maureen and Artem get through their graceful, heart-warming foxtrot, Michael makes us all tear up again by telling his wife what an honor it’s been to go on this adventure with her. Artem is all of us in this moment, by which I mean a teary-eyed mess of a third wheel.

Judges’ Score: 24/30

Calvin Johnson Jr. and Lindsay Arnold

Jazz, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell

Calvin chooses 2012 as his most memorable year — the year he broke Jerry Rice’s record for single season receiving yards. But, Calvin’s selected 2012 not just because it’s when he bested an idol of his but because it was a dream he was able to share with his family. Calvin says his family was his first team (swoon), and he wants to pay tribute to the support he has at home with this dance. If paying tribute means donning a glitter blazer and doing a jaunty Motown-esque jazz routine, then mission accomplished. Megatron is smooth on the dance floor and his lifts are insane, but Carrie Ann wants him to work on his musicality. At the end of the routine, Calvin catches a football tossed by one of his back-up dancers, who turns out to be — SURPRISE — Jerry Rice! Calvin is shocked and delighted (the two have never met). I could watch a full half hour of these two just chatting in the Red Room. Hey, a girl can dream, too!

Judges’ Score: 24/30

Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko

Contemporary, “In My Daughter’s Eyes” by Martina McBride

Our friend Jana here opens up about an abusive relationship that ended with her ex-husband going to prison for attempted murder. It’s really heavy stuff that Jana’s tried to put behind her, but it obviously broke her — until 2016, when her daughter Jolie was born. She’s dedicating this dance to her little girl and the obvious emotion behind the routine comes through in every movement. Carrie Ann praises her extended lines; it’s her breakthrough week. Bruno loves that she danced with so much fearlessness, most especially in that insane trust fall she does into Gleb’s arms. Most importantly, they show little Jolie in the audience wearing giant hearing protection earmuffs and that is just gosh darn adorable. At least one point for the tiny baby in large head gear!

Judges’ Score: 26/30

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