It’s time to get emotional on Dancing with the Stars. Week 5 is all about the Most Memorable Years for the nine remaining stars, meaning they will perform routines inspired by important moments in their personal lives. From the birth of their children to near-death experiences to professional highs, it’s all about the emotion.

'Dancing with the Stars' Recap: Most Memorable Years for the Top 9

Since the show is finally trimming back down to airing only once a week, that also means no elimination this week. That should help take the pressure off and after seeing our first perfect score last week, the expectations are high.

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For some reason, the episode begins with a violin performance of “My Heart Will Go On.” Thanks a lot for getting that song stuck in my head all week, now.

Maureen McCormick and Artem Chigvintsev: Foxtrot

1985: That’s when she married her husband, which helped turn her life around after being a crazy party girl following her stint as Marcia Brady. She came out of a heavy cocaine addiction and her husband saved her from rock bottom.

She’s basically in a wedding dress and it’s the kind of magical, fairy tale wedding every girl dreams up. The first part is beautiful, but it just kind of loses a bit of steam for me at the very end. The judges love how far she’s come and how improved she is.

Judges’ Scores: 8+8+8=24

Solid scores, the same as last week.

Calvin Johnson and Lindsay Arnold: Jazz

2012: That’s the year he broke Jerry Rice’s record (and when Lindsay graduated from high school). But beating Jerry in DWTS is gonna be hard since he finished in second place back in season 2. When he broke the record, he went to the stands and gave the ball to his dad. Oh damn, that’s some Field of Dreams stuff.

The dance is insanely entertaining, highlighting his charisma and showmanship. There are some amazing lifts and it even ends with Jerry Rice throwing Calvin the football (which Calvin didn’t know was going to happen). The judges loved the Motown moves and huge throws. Carrie Ann Inaba gives him one note about his problem with musicality and hitting it harder.

Judges’ Scores: 8+8+8=24

Damn, I would’ve given them a 9.

Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko: Contemporary

2016: At the start of this year, her daughter was born. She was in an abusive relationship 10 years ago and the man went to jail for attempting to murder her. Her baby girl helped repair every piece of her that was broken.

I’m not wild about this style, but this routine actually brought tears to my eyes. It’s powerful and emotional, filled with stunning movements and wonderful chemistry and trust between them. Jana is a stunning Contemporary dancer. There’s one impressive moment where she drops face-first into his arms and Gleb catches her seemingly at the last moment. The judges love her perseverance.

Judges’ Scores: 9+8+9=26

She joins Terra, Laurie, and James as the only stars to get higher than an 8 so far.

Ryan Lochte and Cheryl Burke: Contemporary

2008: That’s when he won his first individual Gold medal at the Olympics in Beijing. His mom admits that she got him into swimming to keep him out of trouble. Ironic. This is the first one that’s not making me cry. He swims good, I get it. But it’s all dedicated to his mom who stood by him through everything.

The routine feels more like acting than dancing to me. It’s overly dramatic, but I’m not feeling it. The judges love the fragility and raw emotion of it. I would prefer more actual movement than just vulnerability.

Judges’ Scores: 8+8+8=24

Is Julianne just gonna give everyone an 8 tonight?

Laurie Hernandez and Val Chmerkovskiy: Paso Doble

2016: Obviously her most memorable year is this one when she won Gold at the Olympics. This is just making me remember that she was born in 2000 and it makes me feel like a senior citizen. The pressure of being perfect last week is definitely getting to her.

It opens with a great solo bit where she’s trapped in a box and has to fight her way out (but Carrie Ann hated it). Then we get to the intense and powerful Paso filled with bold, strong moves. Yeah, we get it, she’s ridiculously talented. However, Bruno Tonioli points out that her footwork wasn’t very clean and she had a few flaws. Indeed, it wasn’t perfect, but the bar for her is so damn high.

Judges’ Scores: 8+9+8=25

Julianne gives her first 9 of the night!

Marilu Henner and Derek Hough: Viennese Waltz

1978: Her mom had a dancing school and always dreamed of show biz. This is the year that her mom died after a disease that paralyzed her from the neck down. And a few weeks after she died, Marilu had her final audition for Taxi and booked it.

She has an emotional story and the choreography by Derek is top-notch and powerful as always. The judges all give her a big group hug when it’s done. It’s the best she’s been and definitely less stiff than normal, but it’s still a tad technical.

Judges’ Scores: 9+9+9=27

And she’s the current leader.

Amber Rose and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Samba

2013: That’s the year her son was born. Having him made her stronger and she wants to be a superwoman for him. In rehearsals, Maks constantly stopped them because she was messing up and it drove her a little crazy. She cried over wearing heels. Maks is definitely a harsh teacher.

She’s very tentative throughout the routine. It’s just kind of weak, especially compared to everything we’ve seen tonight. Without Vanilla Ice and Babyface around, she’s clearly the worst dancer left. Julianne loved the costumes and content, which is her way of saying it wasn’t great. The judges liked the solo stuff, but not the partner work.

Judges’ Scores: 8+8+8=24

Seriously? Did they lose their 7 paddles?

James Hinchcliffe and Sharna Burgess: Tango

2015: Last year he was in a race car accident and almost died. His doctor says that it’s an injury he shouldn’t have survived. Wow, that was just 18 months ago and even his partner doesn’t understand how he’s doing this show. Now I love him even more, knowing the full story, and he says the accident is the best thing that ever happened to him. That’s so Canadian of him.

I see Sharna is now stealing Derek’s EDM Tango idea. As always, he’s extremely charismatic. It’s very fast but spot-on and beautiful. The judges rave about his posture and technique, which is better than everyone else. These judges are really giving me hope that maybe he can pull off an upset win against Laurie.

Judges’ Scores: 10+9+10=29

Woohoo! I’m officially moving to Hinchtown!

Terra Jole and Sasha Farber: Contemporary

2013: Her dad was always supportive of her, and that’s the year he died. She was on tour with Miley Cyrus when he had a liver transplant and he told her to stay focused on her career. He had a heart attack and died when he was supposed to be released, and she wasn’t there. Damn, they saved the most emotional story for last.

It’s a sweet, pretty routine, though the pearly gates in the background are a little on the nose. It’s a decent enough Contemporary and she’s impressive as always, but it’s not a showstopping performance. The judges love it.

Judges’ Scores: 9+9+9=27

Wow, so four couples are ahead of Laurie on the leaderboard.


29: James Hinchcliffe
27: Marilu Henner, Terra Jole
26: Jana Kramer
25: Laurie Hernandez
24: Maureen McCormick, Calvin Johnson, Ryan Lochte, Amber Rose

Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC. Next week is Latin Night with guest judge Pitbull.

(Image courtesy of ABC)

John Kubicek

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

John watches nearly every show on TV, but he specializes in sci-fi/fantasy like The Vampire DiariesSupernatural and True Blood. However, he can also be found writing about everything from Survivor and Glee to One Tree Hill and Smallville.