Things are about to get emotional on Dancing with the Stars season 20. For week 4, the 10 remaining stars will each recount the most memorable years of their lives. It’s always a powerful evening as we learn more about the competitors.

'Dancing with the Stars' Recap: The Most Memorable Years of the Top 10

The real heartbreak will come at the end of the evening when another pair is eliminated. I predict that Michael and Peta will go, though Suzanne and Patti were both very close in BuddyTV’s user poll.

As if heartwarming stories of triumph and an elimination aren’t enough, week 4 will also introduce several new styles including the first Jazz, Waltz, and Contemporary routines of the year. Will the judges finally take out the 10 paddle for the first time this season? Will we see a score higher than a 34?

LIVE…from Hollywood…this is Dancing with the Stars!

The show starts with results and it’s no surprise to find out that Nastia and Derek are SAFE!

Nastia Liukin and Derek Hough: Argentine Tango

2008: She competed at the Summer Olympics in Beijing, which was the fulfillment of her life’s work. She wants to dedicate the dance and her gold medal to her parents for all of their hard work and she’s even dancing to the song she used at the Olympics.

She does a great job and really highlights her gymnastic flexibility. As usual, the choreography is superb, although Derek lifts up Nastia for more than half of it, spinning her around. Even in a week that’s supposed to be all about her, I feel like the routine is more about him. Len Goodman liked the athletic movement, but he didn’t think it had any character. It was good for his brain, but not for his heart. The other judges rave about it, but Julianne Hough sees Len’s point. I love that Len is being honest and critiquing the star, not just being blinded by the pro’s stunning choreography.

Judges’ Scores: 9+8+9+10=36

Well, we have our first 10 of the season.


I guess we’re sticking to the old format of revealing results throughout the night instead of cramming them in at the end.

Robert and Kym are…SAFE!
Riker and Allison are…IN JEOPARDY!
Michael and Peta are…IN JEOPARDY!

What the hell? Riker is in the bottom? I assume that’s misleading because he TIED Nastia at the top of the leaderboard last week.

Michael Sam and Peta Murgatroyd: Rumba

2014: When he was a kid his brother died from a gunshot and his dad left the family. In college, he gave his dad a second chance, but last year he came out of the closet and his father turned his back on him, denouncing him to the media. Michael called him and said that he lost another son, not talking to him since.

This isn’t fair, I’m already crying and emotionally invested before the dance even begins. It may not be the best dance ever, but who cares because I’m moved and touched. It was powerful and for that, I loved it. The judges give him plenty of praise for the inspirational power of the routine. Carrie Ann Inaba does offer a little criticism about too much strength.

Judges’ Scores: 7+7+8+8=30

Wow, I expected better. I guess emotion doesn’t equal higher scores like it normally does.

Riker Lynch and Allison Holker: Tango

2014: I don’t like that two stars in a row have last year as their most memorable one. It’s when R5, the band he has with his siblings, blew up and got on the radio.

They do an uptempo Tango that’s very trippy with a black-and-white checkerboard background while they wear red outfits. I feel like it’s a little off and it’s probably because, like Bruno Tonioli says, it’s almost impossible to do the Tango to such a fast song. Len confusingly thought it was better than last week. The judges are constructively critical, but they like his energy and pop.

Judges’ Scores: 8+8+9+9=34

Those scores seem very generous. I think they might actually be at the bottom and the judges are trying to boost their scores to get people to vote because they know Riker deserves to be around a lot longer. They don’t want another Sabrina Bryan situation.

Robert Herjavec and Kym Johnson: Waltz

2006: His mom had unconditional love for him and she died in 2006 from stage 4 ovarian cancer after being diagnosed a year earlier. He thought a man with his resources could help her, but he couldn’t. She loved DWTS. He cries and so do I. On the bright side, I think I can now write off an entire box of Kleenex as a work expense.

The dance is very sophisticated and elegant, a perfect tribute to his mother. I especially love that they dropped the cutesy, new love thing they usually do. It’s just about being true to a classical dance. The judges love it, with Len calling it his best dance. They even praise his technique, with Julianne saying it’s the best of all the guys.

Judges’ Scores: 8+9+8+9=34

When the hell did the guy I predicted to go home first become the dark horse of the season? Could these two make it to the finale?


Since there are usually only three couples in jeopardy, it’s pretty obvious what will happen with these three since there are still another three couples left to give results to.

Chris and Witney are…SAFE!
Patti and Artem are…SAFE!
Rumer and Val are…SAFE!

Patti is obviously on her way to being the fan-favorite who overstays her welcome.

Chris Soules and Witney Carson: Rumba

2014: He got engaged to his college girlfriend, but called it off because she didn’t want to live on the farm. Naturally, his most memorable year was when he was the Bachelor and found his most recent fiance. I really don’t like it that three stars have last year as their most memorable. It makes it seem like the show only casts flavors of the month (which they sort of do).

The dance is romantic and sensual. It’s nice enough but it doesn’t drive me crazy. However, I like the mature, classy Chris a lot more than silly, goofy Chris. The judges think he eventually found himself in the middle of the routine.

Judges’ Scores: 7+6+7+7=27

He could definitely be out next week.

Patti LaBelle and Artem Chigvintsev: Jazz

1973: Finally, someone with history! It’s the year her son was born (after he was conceived in Japan following some saki). She was a touring musician but having a son changed her life for the better. And now she’s doing a routine with more steps for her son, who seems to be a harsher critic than the judges.

As always, she’s not the best dancer (in fact, she’s easily the worst), but who cares? She’s funky as hell and so much fun. Watching her puts a smile on my face every week and that’s why she’s still here. The judges love her entertainment factor. Patti knows how to get the party started. Len calls it a cappuccino, frothy and fun, with “plenty of giggles and plenty of wiggles.”

Judges’ Scores: 8+7+7+8=30

Seriously? Those judges got drunk on Patti juice.

Rumer Willis and Val Chmerkovskiy: Waltz

2014: Ugh, another story from last year. But at least it’s a good one. Growing up with famous parents had its benefits, but it also put her in the spotlight as tabloids have made fun of her butterface. Man, those magazines are disgusting. But in 2014 her sister went to rehab, acknowledging her flaws, and it inspired Rumer to learn to accept herself for who she is and not let others tear her down.

The routine is stunning, flawless, powerful, and beautiful. It’s the best they’ve ever been. She has technical skills like Nastia, but she adds the emotional impact that Len found lacking in the Olympic gymnast. Carrie Ann is obsessed with how she dances. Len thought it was too Contemporary and not enough of a Waltz. I see his point, but I don’t care.

Judges’ Scores: 9+8+9+9=35

What the hell do they have to do to get a 10? Oddly it’s a perfect inverse of last week when they got a 9 from Len and 8s from the other three judges.


There are only three couples left and one must be in jeopardy.

Noah and Sharna are…SAFE!
Willow and Mark are…IN JEOPARDY!
Suzanne and Tony are…SAFE!

What the heck? Michael had better go, cuz Willow or Riker leaving this early is unacceptable. I mean, last week Riker got a 34, Willow got a 32, and Michael had a 24. It seems too obvious, right?

Suzanne Somers and Tony Dovolani: Foxtrot

1977: After nine years of struggling as an actress, she landed Three’s Company and her life changed. She loved the chemistry she had with John Ritter and she’s dedicating this dance to him.

The dance starts off with a bit of acting as they do a little skit recreating a joke from the pilot of the show. The dance itself is actually quite good. It’s elegant, which doesn’t really fit in with the Three’s Company theme since that show was all about slapstick, screwball comedy. Ironically, a routine inspired by a classic sitcom is her deepest, most serious routine.

Judges’ Scores: 7+7+7+7=28

Come on, I thought that deserved an 8 and so does Tony.

Willow Shields and Mark Ballas: Contemporary

2011: How is the 14-year-old girl’s most memorable year longer ago than several of the other stars? It’s when she was cast as Primrose in The Hunger Games. She was nervous, but Jen calmed her down. That’s Jennifer Lawrence, BTW.

They do a Hunger Games dance which is really confusing. Willow and Mark simulate KILLING a bunch of other dancers, with a cannon firing after every kill. And it ends with Willow killing Mark. I’m too distracted by the horrifying concept to pay attention. I also don’t like that there are so many other people involved in the dance. It really takes the focus away from Willow. The judges love it and love making Hunger Games references.

Judges’ Scores: 10+9+10+10=39

Are you kidding me? This is why DWTS should NOT have Contemporary routines.

Noah Galloway and Sharna Burgess: Contemporary

2005: During his second deployment to Iraq he didn’t see a tripwire, blew up, and woke up nine days later on Christmas morning in a hospital in Washington D.C. to discover he lost an arm and a leg. This is real on a whole different level from anyone else on the show. He started drinking and got depressed, but then he accepted his injury and overcame everything to get back to his physical training.

Noah is completely shirtless which is sexy as hell. It also makes the routine very raw and stripped down, literally and thematically. It’s touching and inspiring, especially since there are a ton of huge lifts. I love that Sharna doesn’t shy away from adding big lifts even though her partner only has one arm. Julianne and Carrie Ann get teary as they talk about him. They love how deep and profound the dance was.

Judges’ Scores: 8+8+8+8=32

Um, after all of those raves they only get 8s? But Willow got a 39? That’s so lame.


It’s down to Michael, Riker, and Willow.

Willow and Mark are…SAFE!

Michael Sam and Peta Murgatroyd ARE ELIMINATED!

Whew. He was fantastic tonight, but horrible last week and this is the right decision.

Next week is Disney Night! That should offer some great costumes and routines.


39: Willow Shields
36: Nastia Liukin
35: Rumer Willis
34: Riker Lynch, Robert Herjavec
32: Noah Galloway
30: Patti LaBelle
28: Suzanne Somers
27: Chris Soules

(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.