'Dancing with the Stars' Recap: Week 3 Dances and Feelings
'Dancing with the Stars' Recap: Week 3 Dances and Feelings
Laurel Brown
Laurel Brown
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Get your handkerchiefs ready, because it's "Personal Story Week" on Dancing with the Stars season 14!

For Dancing with the Stars week 3, each of the 11 remaining celebrities will perform a number inspired by some event in their own pasts. Most of these will probably be sad stories, if history is any judge. Hopefully, these stories -- happy or sad -- can inspire some great dancing as well. Let's find out!

Going in to Dancing with the Stars week 3, we finally have a slight indication of who the DWTS season 14 frontrunners might be. Martina Navratilova's elimination last week left 11 dancers still in contention. Here are their rankings before the DWTS week 3 dances:

1. Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas -- 52 points
2. (tie) William Levy and Cheryl Burke -- 49 points
2. (tie) Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower -- 49 points
4. Jaleel White and Kym Johnson -- 48 points
5. (tie) Maria Menounos and Derek Hough -- 46 points
5. (tie) Sherri Shepherd and Val Chmerkovskiy -- 46 points
7. Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd -- 45 points
8. Jack Wagner and Anna Trebunskaya -- 44 points
9. Gladys Knight and Tristan MacManus -- 42 points
10. Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff -- 41 points
11. Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy -- 40 points

It's still close -- and anybody could take the lead this week!

Uh oh. Tom Bergeron said we'd need Kleenex. It's going to be tough... Also, for more specifics -- this week is about personal stories from the stars' favorite year.

First up, we have...

Jack Wagner and Anna Trebunskaya
Dancing the samba

My Comments: Jack had a long-lost daughter? Seriously? That actually happens outside of soap operas? I mean, I know he was in a lot of them, but...

The hip-thrust move at the beginning is a poor choice. But the steps and moves right afterward make up for it somewhat. Jack is obviously having a good time out there and going for it. It honestly looks like a pretty good dance going on there. A few of the arm movements seem a bit awkward, but the rest is good. And it ends on the judges' table with a guitar? OK then...

Judges' Comments
Len: "I liked the rhythm that you showed, especially in the hips." "For me, your best dance."
Bruno: "Jack, you got the party started!" "Tonight, you were on it. Your timing is much, much better."
Carrie Ann: "You totally uplifted the room." "There's something effervescent in the way you perform."

Scores: 8+8+8 = 24

Nice beginning. And coming up... Could it be? GAVIN DEGRAW WITHOUT A HAT!!!!!

Nothing but excitement here on Dancing with the Stars.

Maria Menounos and Derek Hough
Dancing the rumba

My Comments: So Maria's most memorable year was made up of watching Madonna videos at the age of 10? That seems like a stretch. A fun concept, but a bit of a stretch.

This is a strange version of "Material Girl." I guess it fits better with the rumba than the standard, upbeat song, but it's still strange. Anyway, the dancing. It's actually kind of gorgeous. Very sensual and flowing. Maria and Derek definitely know how to sell the sexy-falling-in-love aspects of the rumba. Also, there were some tricky-looking moves thrown into the middle. I think they even sneaked in a kiss in the middle! Very nice dance -- possibly her best so far!

Judges' Comments
Len: "It was a mix of the ballroom with a little touch of the bedroom in there." "Your technique was really good... Overall, fabulous dance."
Bruno: "I felt it. (Derek: "I felt it too...") I bet you did, you naughty boy. Is it Maria or is it Aphrodite?"
Carrie Ann: "That was truly the vertical -- and horizontal -- expression of... the true horizontal desire." "Nothing ever stopped the whole way."

Scores: 9+9+9 = 27

And we have a new season-high! Also, Maria did wrestling last night? That doesn't seem safe.

Gladys Knight and Tristan MacManus
Dancing the foxtrot

My Comments: You've got to be impressed by a competitor whose favorite year was 1957. Not sure if any of the others were even born then...

I like the door. You know you have the audience, when there are cheers before any dancing happens. Gladys isn't quite as flowing and smooth as some of the others, but she does seem to be dancing fairly well. She gets more comfortable as the dance progresses, looking excellent by the time she has some spins. And the door is cool.

Judges' Comments
Len: "You and I are the same age." "I liked the flow of this..." "I'm being really nice to you, can I please be a Pip?"
Bruno: "Your frame was better. You were absolutely gorgeous."
Carrie Ann: "I saw the improvement this week." "You dance like you thing -- it's sensuous and soulful..."

Scores: 8+8+8 = 24

So Gladys Knight is safe then.

Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower
Dancing the samba

My Comments: It's odd to pick 1996 and dance to a Jackson 5 song. Even if he did see Michael Jackson in concert that year. But I suppose such a young guy doesn't have a lot of favorite years to choose from yet.

Big mirror ball. But it's not real. That comes later. Also lots of sparkle. And an Afro. This is very disco in style. It's also fast, like the other dances we've gotten from Roshon. Whether it's a good samba or not, I wouldn't know. It doesn't look particularly like a samba, but it's hard to tell, not knowing the specific steps. Whatever dance it is, it's fun.

Judges' Comments
Len: "I like the exuberance, I like the flair..." "I would have liked to have seen a little more traditional samba in there." "You come out and you give it 100 percent."
Bruno: "Oh yes you go! I tell you, Michael Jackson would love it, and so would I."
Carrie Ann: "Sometimes the Michael Jackson transitions through you out of timing."

Scores: 8+8+9 = 25

Woe unto the first dancer who gets below an 8 tonight!

Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff
Dancing the rumba

My Comments: Another concert memory? No wonder all these people can dance -- music is the main inspiration for everything. Also, a brief moment of NO HAT in rehearsal! He has hair.

He's not really playing that piano. Obviously. Since it keeps playing after he moves. This is a very wiggly rumba. Gavin looks pretty smooth in this one, although I'm not sure how much of the dance is Karina and how much is Gavin. What we do see from him definitely looks pretty good though. Not the "we're about to have sex" of Maria's rumba. More a "you're nice, maybe we should go out on a date" dance.

Judges' Comments
Len: "I saw good hips, I saw more musicality through your arms... I see progression week after week."
Bruno: "Gavin you've got hips! And you can move them!" "You gotta watch the turns now." "You're getting better all the time."
Carrie Ann: "My heart is going just like this t-t-tt-t-t-t-t-t-t-." "I know you're struggling to dance, but it didn't look like it."

Scores: 8+8+8 = 24

Have the judges forgotten about numbers below 8?

Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas
Dancing the waltz

My Comments: Hey, another 1996! This one isn't so much fun. Not fun at all. Death is never fun.

They've got the fog! And a lovely beginning. Katherine has pretty moves in pretty much everything. This is a lot faster than a lot of waltzes, but I mean that in a good way. The spins are faster than usual. There may have been something imperfect about that dance, but I didn't exactly see it.

Judges' Comments
Len: "For me, there wasn't quite enough dancing in ballroom hold." "The bottom line: You are a wonderful dancer."
Bruno: "Sensational! And that's it."
Carrie Ann: "Your dad is definitely smiling down upon you. That was magic. It's like you had two partners."

Scores: 10+9+10 = 29

Ummm... Wow? Seriously judges? 10s already? This season is insane.

Sherri Shepherd and Val Chmerkovskiy
Dancing the rumba

My Comments: Yay for a story that has had a happy ending! Sick babies who get better make nice stories.

OK, the heartbeat light would be annoying if it kept going. Rumbas that aren't strictly supposed to be sexy are always a little problematic. There isn't much of anything wrong with Sherri's dance, but the emotions aren't connecting or something. It makes the dance -- which is perfectly good -- feel almost plain. Two-dimensional. Not a bad dance, but definitely lacking in something.

Judges' Comments
Len: "I appreciated the emotion you put into that dance." "I loved those triple spins." "Well done!"
Bruno: "Mama can move! Mama can move!" "You did a great job!"
Carrie Ann: "The reason why I fall in love with you is your just so true with your dance." "Your lines tonight were the best I've seen."

Scores: 8+8+8 = 24

Hi, random Happy Endings people!

Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Dancing the jive

My Comments: A broken back would hurt. A lot.

I wouldn't consider this a jive song... OK. But it does seem to be fast and passionate at the beginning. The individual steps don't look quite so smooth. It's entirely possible she messed up a few. But the dance was passionate and fun in between the fumbly bits.

Judges' Comments
Len: "You have come into the competition. Well done!"
Bruno: "Melissa is on a mission to put the raunch into the jive!" "The beginning and the end..."
Carrie Ann: "I loved it! I thought you were so dynamic."

Scores: 8+8+8 = 24

Jaleel White and Kym Johnson
Dancing the rumba

My Comments: Of course Jaleel White would be most fond of the year he got to play Urkel's suave alter ego...

The sexiness is back in this one. Jaleel definitely looks right in a white suit. Very smooth. The dancing seems to be right on, and Jaleel actually makes it possible to watch the star instead of the pro. Alternating between interest and aloof disdain, the expressions even work.

Judges' Comments
Len: "I thought that was a very competent performance." "The melody has to come out through your upper body... It was a little stiff in the arms."
Bruno: "You played cool and you played well and you played smooth."
Carrie Ann: "Bye-bye Urkel, hello Stefan!" "You just glided through that rumba like it was nobody's business."

Scores: 9+8+8 = 25

Did Jaleel's pre-scoring comments make any sense to anyone else? That was weird.

William Levy and Cheryl Burke
Dancing the salsa

My Comments: William Levy is not a big fan of Cuba these days. He does, however, like apples.

Oh lord. They started William in the audience. That's just asking for a riot. And then the shirt opens. Seriously show? Oddly, I don't think this is William's best dance. He doesn't seem quite connected enough to Cheryl. It's definitely not a bad dance. It's actually very good. And there's probably enough sexy to please even the craziest screamer. It's just not William's best so far.

Judges' Comments
Len: "Will, you put a whole new meaning into Free Willy." "You conquered the salsa."
Bruno: "William, can you come closer please? I hate you! That was amazing!"
Carrie Ann: "My God, what do you say to that?" "You are ridiculous. That was ridiculously hot."

Scores: 9+9+10 = 28

They like the sexy.

Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd
Dancing the rumba

My Comments: It's another sad story. That's too bad really.

Donald is strong. It looked like picking up Peta was nothing to him. Donald doesn't have a lot to do at the beginning of the dance. He does it well. But it's not a lot of movement. When he does get to move, the dance looks a little stiff. Not too badly stiff or anything, just not quite smooth enough for the rumba. There weren't enough moves for Donald in that to really appreciate it either. Good but not the best.

Judges' Comments
Len: "I didn't expect a great big, hunky-dunky football guy to come out and dance like that." "This whole evening -- awesome."
Bruno: "All these passes and drops -- professional standards."
Carrie Ann: "The passion that you just expressed was mesmerizing." "I'm not calling lifts tonight, by the way!"

Scores: 9+8+9 = 26

Not one score below an 8 tonight? Is that possible?

Apparently it is. Wow. So this is definitely going to be a popularity battle. It's certainly not going to be about the dancing when so much of that dancing is good.

Who did you think was the best in Dancing with the Stars week 3? Whose story was the most moving? Who do you think might get eliminated? Leave your comments below!
(Images courtesy of ABC)

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