Finally! The dance quality was up. The scores were up. Len Goodman’s mood was way up. And the level of emotional connection was as high as the Mirror Ball chandelier on Dancing With the Stars Season 13, Week 3.
For the most part, anyway.
It was a touching night of “Most Memorable Year” dances, especially for J.R. Martinez, whose back story alone could’ve carried the night, but he danced his Rumba to a gorgeous song and, yeah, he’s as talented as it gets this season. He has the goods and this was his night, even if Ricki Lake beat his score by one point. “That was one of the most profound, honest dances I’ve ever seen on this show,” judge Carrie Ann Inaba said, as J.R. and his partner Karina Smirnoff started to cry.
Unfortunately, not everyone had their A-games ready for personal story week. When it comes to Chaz Bono & Lacey Schwimmer’s verrrrrry low-scoring Rumba, the chief emotion was disbelief at the wild costumes and stiff dancing. Love the guy, but on a week where the top score was 27 out of 30, he shouldn’t settle for a personal best … of 18.
Could the huge score gap send Chaz home, or will his own story touch a chord in fans’ hearts and keep him to Week 4? If Chaz is safe, will our beloved fake boyfriend Tristan MacManus (and his partner Nancy Grace) go home instead?
Read on for a full recap of DWTS Season 13, Episode 3:
1. Rob Kardashian & Cheryl Burke — Foxtrot to "Fly Me To The Moon" by Frank Sinatra — In 2003, Rob’s dad died from esophageal cancer. Rob’s dad was literally his best friend. He has a portrait of his dad on his arm. This song is one of his dad’s favorites. This would be much sweeter if Rob hadn’t tarnished himself in our eyes with those unnecessary cheating rumors. Kris Jenner and Kim Kardashian are back in the audience. JUDGES: Len Goodman said “You just put the dash in Kardashian.” He hopes Rob’s dad is looking down saying he did good. Bruno Tonioli liked how Rob played with Cheryl on the dance floor. Bruno also compares Rob to Guys and Dolls. Rob doesn’t know what that is. Tom Bergeron quips that it’s a new video game. Carrie Ann Inaba says every week Rob genuinely makes progress. SCORES: 8, 8, 8 = 24 out of 30.
Vote for Team CherBert: 1-800-868-3402
2. Chynna Phillips & Tony Dovolani — Rumba to "Hold On" by Wilson Phillips — For Chynna, 1990 was her most memorable year because that’s when “Hold On” came out. She wrote the song when she was still a teenager. She had feelings of abandonment from her father and suffered from depression and anxiety. She stopped drinking and started going to therapy. She met her future husband, Billy Baldwin. So when she hears the song, sometimes she gets emotional. She wants everyone to know there’s always another path and a way out. Carnie and Wendy Wilson of Wilson Phillips in the house! JUDGES: Bruno said he knew she could do it. “You are a smoldering siren.” He loved her body shapes. “You belong in a museum to admire.” Carrie Ann said they asked for more and she gave them more. Her lines are like butter. Len said dancing like that she’ll be there for weeks and weeks, not just holding on for one more day. Len told Tony he’s taking the competition to a new level. Wow! Len is in a great mood … so far. SCORES: 8, 9, 9 = 26 out of 30. First 9s of the season!
Vote for Team CHYNNADOVE: 1-800-868-3404
3. Chaz Bono & Lacey Schwimmer — Rumba to "Laugh At Me" — This year is Chaz’s most memorable year. He chose a song that his dad, Sonny Bono, wrote that’s basically about if people have a problem with you, that’s their problem, not yours. This Rumba is for his dad. (What about Cher?) Chynna’s Rumba wasn’t the best thing in the world — even if the judges adored it — but this dance DOES make it look like the best dance in the world. And in those outfits, it looks like they do want people to laugh at them. JUDGES: Carrie Ann said every time she sees him dance she’s touched by his courage. This is the build-up to a diss. “It wasn’t your best performance. You looked really distracted.” Tonight he didn’t seem focused and into the dance. He didn’t dance enough. Len said it was the best dance he’d seen Chaz do. He also called him “me old soldier.” Ha! Bruno said Chaz has an endearing quality. The Rumba is very difficult because it’s a dance that requires continuous movement. There were some moments where he did look lost. SCORES: 6, 6, 6 = 18 out of 30.
Vote for Team Schwaz: 1-800-868-3412
4. Kristin Cavallari & Mark Ballas — Samba to "Crazy In Love" by Beyonce — She chose 2005 because that was the year she graduated high school and moved out to L.A. Wow. That’s probably the least engaging “most memorable year” story of the night. She doesn’t look 100 percent out there. She seems like she’s trying too hard. Her ex-fiance Jay Cutler is in the audience! JUDGES: Len said the Beyonce stuff isn’t his cup of tea. The side by side and everything. The crowd boos. “Talk to the hand.” There’s the Len we know! But that was only about 20 percent of the dance and he loved the other 80 percent. Bruno said it was “crazy in lust.” It’s “yes, yes, yes” from him all the way. Carrie Ann said Beyonce = some big shoes to fill, but Kristin did pretty good. Wow, the judges took their happy pills this morning. SCORES: 8, 8, 8 = 24 out of 30.
Vote for Team KristinBalls: 1-800-868-3403
5. Carson Kressley & Anna Trebunskaya — Tango to "It’s My Life" by No Doubt — His favorite year is 2003 because that’s the year Queer Eye For the Straight Guy came out. He was the dorkiest kid in high school and, growing up gay, he always felt there was something wrong with him. The show was a blessing and for the first time he was proud of who he was. Anna choreographed this Tango around his sense of style. The Tango is usually intense, but he is such an adorable goofball they kept the humor factor. He got her shoe in the end! JUDGES: Bruno called it “insanely brilliant.” Carrie Ann said “Carson, I love you!” He brought them drama, enthusiasm, and a bunch of other stuff. Len said “You put the boy in flamboyant!” The Tango had merit. He got the right attitude, he came out and attacked the dance. “I enjoyed it very much.” SCORES: 8, 7, 8 = 23 out of 30.
Vote for Team CarsonAnna: 1-800-868-3409
6. J.R. Martinez & Karina Smirnoff — Rumba to "If You're Reading This" by Tim McGraw — J.R.’s most memorable year is the year he was injured in Iraq. He was 19. He thought his life was going to end. He remembers seeing his mother. A week later he asked a nurse to see his body for the first time. He froze for a couple of seconds. He got depressed and had regret. He stared to blame and question. “I just thought to myself I would’ve been better off if I wouldn’t have survived.” He thought no one else could understand the pain he was feeling. When the lights were off and no one was around, he cried. His mom told him whoever was going to be in his life would be there for him as a person, not how he looked. So true! Besides, he’s very handsome. He’s dancing for the soldiers who didn’t come home. J.R.’s story and the beauty of this song — those alone would be tough to beat tonight. JUDGES: Heroes are ordinary people who do extraordinary things, Carrie Ann said. “Tonight you did something extraordinary. You touched us all. … That was one of the most profound, honest dances I’ve ever seen on this show.” Len said every season someone comes along who dances to a standard that is totally unexpected, this season that is J.R. He didn’t expect performances like this from him. For Len, it could’ve been a little more musical through the arms. It was a wonderful, poignant performance. Bruno said he is an inspiration. He could feel every emotion. It was tangible. He also stretched his foot and extended his lines, which Bruno looks for. SCORES: 9, 8, 9 = 26 out of 30.
Vote for Team Martinoff: 1-800-868-3410
7. Nancy Grace & Tristan MacManus — Waltz to "Moon River" by Andy Williams — Nancy walked down the aisle to “Moon River” when she married her hubby in 2007. It’s also the first lullaby she sang to her twins. When she was giving birth, the doctors told her she and her daughter, Lucy, were dying. They rushed to intensive care. She didn’t know if Lucy was going to survive. The kids, now 3, are adorable. Tristan says what most people don’t know is how fun Nancy is. She’s a bit dorky, too. Tristan adds a Lucy dance move into the routine. So cute! JUDGES: Len once again liked the no messing about quality of the dance. He wants better posture from her, though. Bruno said she was soft and dreamy like a mother’s embrace, but she needs to flow her arm movements better. Carrie Ann said it was like a live action lullaby, like from a Disney fantasy. The judges are really reaching tonight. SCORES: 7, 7, 7 = 21 out of 30.
Vote for Team MacGrace: 1-800-868-3405
8. Ricki Lake & Derek Hough — Rumba to "Gravity" by Sara Bareilles — Last year was her most memorable year. She went through a bad divorce and her house burned down. She resigned herself to being alone, but around that time she met her fiance Christian. She learned to never say never. The dance reflects her first few months with Christian — the push/pull. She wants to inspire others to find true love. The smoke machine is back! Her fiance cried in the audience. JUDGES: Bruno said every step was as expressive as a word in a poem. “That was the actress dancer at her best.” Carrie Ann said “Ricki Lake is on fiiiiire!” Len congratulated Derek on a great routine. Then he congratulated Ricki on dancing it so well. What is Len on? SCORES: 9, 9, 9 = 27 out of 30.
Vote for Team DRickilous: 1-800-868-3411
9. Hope Solo & Maksim Chmerkovskiy — Cha-Cha-Cha to "Tonight" by Enrique Iglesias — This is Hope’s memorable year. Team USA made it to the World Cup … but they didn’t win. It hurt her deeply to work so hard and lose, but she realizes now that it’s about the journey. Maks said Hope has a problem with being sexy. She’s gorgeous and sexy, he said, and she just has to be herself. They are dancing to her team’s song. Her U.S. women’s soccer teammates are in the audience to support her! JUDGES: Carrie Ann said she is a very strong dancer and it was very sexy and hot, but Hope needs to work on her walk and some fluidity. Len found it a bit too provocative, but it was her best dance so far. Bruno said “the sexy minx is out of the cage.” She was going for it like a panther. “The maneater is there.” SCORES: 8, 8, 8 = 24 out of 30.
Vote for Team MakSolo: 1-800-868-3408
10. David Arquette & Kym Johnson — Rumba to "Ooh Child" by Five Stairsteps — He chose this last year as his most memorable year. His marriage to Courteney Cox fell apart. He was really hurt and lost and he escaped into alcohol to numb his feelings. His daughter means the world to him. The voice in the song is him speaking to his daughter, saying everything will be all right. So sweet. Courteney and Coco are back in the audience, along with Patricia Arquette and Busy Philipps of Cougar Town. JUDGES: Len said it was a mix of motion and emotion. “I thought you did a great job.” He also complimented Kym. It’s the best dance he’s done so far. Bruno said he was “achingly romantic.” Carrie Ann said David brought so much more of himself. He has this incredible raw emotion that is honest. SCORES: 8, 8, 8 = 24 out of 30.
Vote for Team Good Times: 1-800-868-3406
You can also vote for everyone online here at ABC’s official DWTS site.