This is the week when it all gets personal.

I don’t mean to imply that the celebrities competing on Dancing with the Stars will suddenly be out for movie-style revenge when they take to the shiny, shiny DWTS ballroom floor. Instead, they will be making the dances themselves personal in the first of Dancing with the Stars season 13’s theme weeks. That’s right — we have reached “The Most Memorable Year of My Life” week.

What can we expect from such a theme? I’m guessing a lot of sad and semi-voyeuristic stories from most of the dancers. Plus whatever passes for drama in the lives of people like Rob Kardashian and Kristin Cavallari (who really haven’t had enough time to amass true drama in their short and glamorous lives).

We can also expect some different dances. Each pair got to pick a dance this week, with the end result that five of the 10 remaining couples will be performing a rumba.

Will all those rumbas be enough? Here are the overall standings as we go into Dancing with the Stars week 3:

1. J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff: 44 points
2. (tie) Chynna Phillips and Tony Dovolani: 43 points
2. (tie) Ricki Lake and Derek Hough: 43 points
4. Kristin Cavallari and Mark Ballas: 41 points
5. Hope Solo and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 40 points
6. (tie) Nancy Grace and Tristan MacManus: 37 points
6. (tie) Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke: 37 points
8. David Arquette and Kym Johnson: 36 points
9. Carson Kressley and Anna Trebunskaya: 35 points
10. Chaz Bono and Lacey Schwimmer: 34 points

It’s still very close — only a 10-point spread between first and last place. What will happen this week? Let’s find out!

First up, we have…

Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke
Dancing the foxtrot

My Comments: I need to point out that earlier today, a colleague here at BuddyTV accused me of cynicism for saying that Rob would pick the year that his dad died. Guess what year Rob picked? Not that I don’t sympathize with his choice. It makes sense. As for the dancing… Rob actually came out pretty dramatic and looks awfully good out there. There are still a few goofy moments when Rob’s hands and/or expression look a little off. But the rest of the dancing is actually pretty nice-looking. Of course, other than the song choice, I have no idea how this reflects Rob’s dad dying. It also might be a little too simple. But I liked it.

Judges’ Comments
Len: “You just put the ‘dash’ into Kardashian, I’m telling you!”
Bruno: “Rob the man is getting the upper hand…” “The dominatrix has found her match!” “It remind me of Guys and Dolls.” (note: Rob didn’t get the reference)
Carrie Ann: “I like watching you dance Rob, because you’re just so strict, stick-to-the-program.”

Scores: 8+8+8 = 24

Chynna Phillips and Tony Dovolani
Dancing the rumba

My Comments: Yes! She’s doing the “Hold On” year! It’s good to have something positive to dance to. Because most of these are going to just be sad. And yay! It’s being danced to “Hold On!” Adolescent Me is having a great time right now. I suppose I should actually look at the dancing now. Because I’m mostly paying attention to the music, which is still as awesome as it was in 1990. I think the dancing is pretty good. Not the most dramatic or memorable of dances, but it seems pretty. Chynna seems to be doing a good job with it too. Lots of poses. And a really great song…

Judges’ Comments
Len: “Dancing like that, you’re going to be here for weeks and weeks and weeks.” “You have taken this whole competition to a new level.”
Bruno: “I knew you could do it. You are a smoldering siren!” “The beauty of your lines, you belong in a museum.”
Carrie Ann: “We asked for more and you definitely gave us more.” “It’s like butter!”

Scores: 8+9+9 = 26

Len Goodman is going to dance tomorrow night? That should be interesting…

Chaz Bono and Lacey Schwimmer
Dancing the rumba 

My Comments: Just want to point out right now that I am three-for-three in predicting which year each star was going to choose. Not that any of them were big surprises. What could possibly have been bigger than this year for Chaz though? Nice psychedelia in the background. I’m not sure Chaz is doing much in this dance, but at least he looks good doing what’s available. A nice dance, but it was hardly a breakout performance from Chaz. 

Judges’ Comments
Len: “That was your best dance I’ve seen you do.”
Bruno: “There is a very, very endearing quality about you.” “There were some moments, you looked a little bit lost.”
Carrie Ann: “I’m so impressed by your real courage.” “Tonight, though, I have to say, I don’t know, it wasn’t your best performance.” “You definitely seemed not quite focused into the dance.”

Scores: 6+6+6 = 18

Kristin Cavallari and Mark Ballas
Dancing the samba 

My Comments: I don’t know what it is, but Kristin seems a wee bit off in this dance. She seems to be making her steps (a couple of brief moments half a step behind don’t count) and is shaking it just right. But it maybe seems like she doesn’t connect to the music just right. It’s still a really good dance definitely. It just seems like it should be a little bit better. How exactly? No clue. Maybe the judges can help.

Judges’ Comments
Len: “The Beyonce stuff isn’t my cup of tea… That was only about 20 percent of the dance. The other 80 percent was fabulous.”
Bruno: “That was more than crazy in love, it was crazy in lust!” “It was yes yes yes for me, all the time and all the way!”
Carrie Ann: “I think you did pretty darn good.” “You are doing some very difficult choreography. You’re definitely pushing yourself.”

Scores: 8+8+8 = 24

Carson Kressley and Anna Trebunskaya
Dancing the tango

My Comments: Awwww… Carson had a similar middle-school experience to me. You know, except that I’m not a gay man. Fortunately, he’s going for another happy year — 2003, when Queer Eye started. That’s not the stage, Carson. Oh, he found it. Nice costume change in the middle of the song. Carson is obviously trying to impress the judges by rigidly adhering to the tango thing. The result is a bit less fun than usual. But I think he might technically be dancing better. That said, this is one of the more amusing tangos I’ve seen on Dancing with the Stars. And he got her shoe!

Judges’ Comments
Len: “I am going to be quite positive here, but I don’t need a kiss.” “You put the ‘boy’ in flamboyant!”
Bruno: “That was insanely brilliant!” “I want the frock! Give me the frock!” “And yes you will make it to the ball!”
Carrie Ann: “Carson, I love you!” “You brought us drama, entertainment, enthusiasm… and technique, beautiful shapes, a little bit of girly-girly, a little bit of masculine.”

Scores: 8+7+8 = 23

J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff
Dancing the rumba

My Comments: J.R. wins the story contest. As you probably expected. Nearly dying in a war is a serious story. In terms of raw emotion, the dance is the best right away, before there are even a lot of steps taken. Not that the emotion lessens throughout the performance. There’s heartbreak and romance in all of this. Also, the steps look good. But that’s hard to notice with all the emotion going on. That was lovely.

Judges’ Comments
Len: “It was a wonderful performance, it was so poignant.”
Bruno: “You dance from your heart. I could feel every emotion.” “You did it, and it’s so hard to do my darling!”
Carrie Ann: “Tonight, you did something extraordinary. You touched us all, and I could feel the weight with which you danced.” “That was one of the most profound, honest dances I’ve ever seen.”

Scores: 9+8+9 = 26

Nancy Grace and Tristan MacManus
Dancing the waltz

My Comments: “Moon River” is a great song. Another excellent musical choice for the night. Nancy looks nice in the dance, but there is little flair. And, considering that this is a slow waltz, flair would be very good. Really, there’s nothing wrong with the dance. But it’s very forgettable. Maybe the choreography highlighted the wrong emotions for Nancy? Because she was lovely and emotional in her rehearsal package.

Judges’ Comments
Len: “Nancy, you’ve got to try to get this ballroom stretch through and a little better posture.”
Bruno: “Soft and dreamy, like a mother’s embrace.”
Carrie Ann: “I was transported.” “I felt like all the little forest animals came and were watching you dance…”

Scores: 7+7+7 = 21

Ricki Lake and Derek Hough
Dancing the rumba

My Comments: It’s good to see somebody going for straight romance. We’ve had enough tragedy tonight. And this is definitely romantic. There is a lot of spinning for a rumba as well — super-fast spinning at times. Not actually knowing the proper steps for a rumba, I can’t be sure of how well Ricki is doing, but it looks like she’s doing very, very good. That was pretty.

Judges’ Comments
Len: “Ricki, may a congratulate you on dancing it so well.”
Bruno: “Every step was as expressive as a word in a poem.”
Carrie Ann: “Ricki Lake is on fire!!!” “Honey, you are looking fierce!”

Scores: 9+9+9 = 27

Hope Solo and Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Dancing the cha cha

My Comments: More sports stuff. Hopefully, this sport-related dance will be better than her last one. If anyone can teach sexy, it may be Maks. She certainly has the costume for “sexy.” I doubt that Len is going to like the amount of time they spent on vertical sex at the chair. Mostly, Hope is definitely looking right for the part in this dance. There were a couple of moments in which she looked a little lost, but the movements still worked. The second half of the dance wasn’t quite as good as the first half, but it was still pretty good.

Judges’ Comments
Len: “I found the costume and a little bit of the routine a little bit provocative for me.” “I would have liked a little sharper action… But for me that was your best dance so far.”
Bruno: “The sexy minx was out of the cage! You were going for him, more like a panther there!”
Carrie Ann: “You’re a really strong dancer… but… I just want to take you and work on your walk.”

Scores: 8+8+8 = 24

David Arquette and Kym Johnson
Dancing the rumba

My Comments: The serious themes of this dance are unfortunately a bad fit with the goofiness that David wears so well. Fortunately, he’s an actor and can change character. I’m still not convinced that David is much of a dancer — he’s barely moving and some of the moves that do happen look a little off. It’s hardly the worst dance ever seen, but Kym is doing far more of the work than she should be doing. Especially if David wants to not be on the bottom again.

Judges’ Comments
Len: “It was a mix of motion and emotion. I think you did a great job!”
Bruno: “You brought sensitivity, vulnerability, you were achingly romantic…”
Carrie Ann: “Very nice comeback.” “You have this incredible raw emotion that is pure and honest.”

Scores: 8+8+8 = 24

And that’s the night! Is it just me, or did the judges seem particularly nice tonight?

Oh well, we’ll find out exactly what their niceness (or lack thereof) brings about tomorrow night for Dancing with the Stars: The Results Show. Plus, we’ll get performances from Mary J. Blige, Estelle, a surprise guest and even Len Goodman dancing the twist.

Should be interesting.

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Did you have a favorite dance tonight? How did the stories affect your enjoyment of the individual performances? Are you looking forward to seeing Len dance? Leave your comments below!

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Laurel Brown

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Laurel grew up in Mamaroneck, NY, Grosse Pointe, MI and Bellevue WA. She then went on to live in places like Boston, Tucson, Houston, Wales, Tanzania, Prince Edward Island and New York City before heading back to Seattle. Ever since early childhood, when she became addicted to The Muppet Show, Laurel has watched far too much TV. Current favorites include ChuckModern FamilySupernaturalMad Men and Community. Laurel received a BA in Astrophysics (yes, that is possible) from Colgate University and a PhD in Middle Eastern Studies and History of Science from Columbia University before she realized that television is much better than studying.