Sunday, May 14, 2017

DWTS S024, Week 4: Most Memorable Year Brings a Lot of Tears

I really have a love/hate relationship with "My Most Memorable Year" on Dancing with the Stars. Sometimes, it can be really transcendent. Sometimes, it can leave you sobbing. Other times, it's just someone noting that they got cast on some show. Woo hoo. It's always a mixed bag.

(One number left me teary, but we'll get to that.)

The main purpose of it, and it's really a vital one, is to get these now dancers to feel something. They have spent the first couple of weeks finding out how hard this was going to be, as they saw the joke cast members get voted off. Around the time of Most Memorable Year, it's starting to get serious, and it's wise for whoever first came up with this to have put it here.

Let's talk about whatever brings you emotion: your mom, your dad, your heartbreaking injury, your child, whatever. Because then, after this week, their dances always have more emotion than they did previously.

TEAM: Normani and Val
Most Memorable Year: 2012
Why? Because she joined Fifth Harmony.
Poignancy Factor: Three (out of 10)

As far as the "Most Memorable Year" hooha, this was one of the worst for me. The key element is supposed to be THE DANCE, and it's hard to do that when you bring in a worldwide sensation group, and just have them singing in the background.

Also, this was a not-very-sexy rumba that Len Goodman thought didn't have "enough rumba content." And Carrie Ann was irritated that there was a lift (when will these guys learn to stop putting in lifts?).

JUDGES' SCORES: 32 (out of 40)

TEAM: Nick and Peta
Most Memorable Year: 2016
Why? Because he "found love." (What else is he going to say with Vanessa right there?)
Poignancy Factor: Four (out of 10)

So, of course, in the most grand ABC masturbatory show jerkoff tradition (at least until they do Disney Week), they do a rumba to The Bachelor. Which was actually good, and well-conceived. Peta is a pretty great choreographer.

Carrie Ann mentions how it's a bit choppy at the beginning, when Nick is dancing with other dancers, but once he starts dancing with Peta, it becomes "magical."

And it ended, as it should have, when the song is "I Really Love Your Body," with Nick going into the audience and picking up Vanessa for a kiss.

TEAM: Nancy and Artem
Most Memorable Year: 1996
Why? The year she had her first child. Then, she found out she was unable to have children after her first, and had six miscarriages.
Poignancy Factor: Ten (out of 10)

Nancy just talked about something America probably doesn't know about. She always wanted three children, and really struggled after the first one. (She did end up having three.) So her story is about not giving up when you really want something.

She and Artem danced a quite beautiful foxtrot, nice lighting, nice costumes. Beautiful choreography. Len said that she now separated herself from the pack, and "became a frontrunner," then gives her a 9 for this dance.

JUDGES' SCORES: 33 (out of 40)

Watching someone who really can't dance is not fun. So what do you do to jazz it up for the audience? Well, if you're Dancing with the Stars, you bring in a nice choir, add some snazzy sets, so that there's always something else to look at in the shot.

TEAM: Mr. T and Kym
Most Memorable Year: 1995
Why? He found out he had cancer.
Poignancy Factor: Eight (out of 10)

It is a sad story, no doubt. He still can't dance. However, they give it the old college try. He professes his love for God, who got him through his ordeal, and they dance a waltz to "Amazing Grace." With a choir in the background, and the stage looking like a church.

I really like Kym as a dancer, she really does try, no matter who she's given, and she's been given some doozies. Course, she's also been given her current husband, so it's not all bad. But Mr. T? Not one of her best partners.

Tom says to Mr. T: "You get more dapper every week."

Carrie Ann (who always cries during Memorable Year week) is crying. Len mentions how "carefully" Kym has worked with Mr. T. Julianne says, "I'm choked up, too." Bruno: "You really are a good man, and this dance reflected who you are."

JUDGES' SCORES: 28 (out of 40)

TEAM: Heather and Alan (standing in for Maks)
Most Memorable Year: 2015
Why? The year she got married.
Poignancy Factor: Five (out of 10)

You know it's problematic when they met "through MySpace." Ugh. And we get to see lots of pics of her wedding. Call me jaded, but ugh.

Then, they do a cha cha to "Shut Up and Dance" (which has already had other, more memorable dances performed to it on this show). The song is supposed to represent her marriage, or something. She actually does kiss her real husband at the beginning of the song. Then, Alan steps in as him.

But, let's be clear. The LAST song was all about God, and featured a church as a backdrop. This song features a house with a "SOLD" sign on it. *eyeroll*

The dances which win this night, and compel people to rush to the phones to vote for them, are ones which pull tears out of people's eyeducts, not those which really only glorify someone's ego. I mean, sure, maybe she never had six miscarriages, or got diagnosed with cancer, but getting married and buying a house? Ugh.

No, this woman's not a dancer... *eyeroll*
Not surprisingly, though, the judges get all gaga over the dancing. Len was all googoo. Julianne gushed about how there "was so much cha cha content." Carrie Ann "took off a point for the lift, but I still loved it."

JUDGES' SCORES: 35 (out of 40) (highest score of the night so far)

Maks is up next to them as they get the judges' scores, and afterwards, he says: "I just wanna say that I think Alan has proven his case, more than enough, for pro maybe next year."

To which Erin says: "I didn't know you were producing this show. But I guess we have a new producer, and it's Maksim."

TEAM: David and Lindsay
Most Memorable Year: 2016
Why? Cubs won the World Series. "My last year playing baseball ever."
Poignancy Factor: Ten (out of 10)

He talks in his package about both how magical the Cubs' win was, but also how important his kids are to him, and how excited he is to spend these next years with them. I dunno, but this whole package moved me much more than Heather's perfect husband and marriage story did.

They do a Viennese waltz to "Forever Young" (and doesn't baseball always make one "forever young"?). The crowd really does go wild. Len gives his judging comments all in baseball signals, which Tom says was, "a little bit of Yogi Berra and a little bit of Curly Howard, is how I see it."

Erin tells David that since tonight is the Cubs' home opener, but there was a rain delay, and in the interim, they played the clip LIVE of David and Lindsay's dance. David was already tearing up, but this makes him tear up even more. He complements "all the support from that group.... I was emotional before I started, with the family... so... I'm glad it's over."

JUDGES' SCORES: 31 (out of 40)

TEAM: Rashad and Emma
Most Memorable Year: 2006
Why? "The year I realized what unconditional love is."
Poignancy Factor: Ten (out of 10)

Rashad, in his package, talks about how his father was a provider, but distant. How he had a "full scholarship," but then his father had a stroke and diabetes and had to have his leg amputated. Rashad decided to give up his scholarship to move back home.

This was just a stunning dance. Emma's choreography was sublime, it captured so many of the things that were in the package. They danced to a song about loving unconditionally. And then, at the end, Rashad walks to his father, in a wheelchair in the audience and hugs him deeply. If you weren't sobbing before, you were by then.

THIS dance. This is what Most Memorable Year is supposed to be about.

Bruno: "I am mesmerized. I was watching two great artists painting art." Carrie Ann: "You are a born dancer, that was incredible." Len: "It had wonderful, lyrical movement, great lifts. I thought it was fantastic." Julianne, like most of us, is still sobbing. "I can't even talk right now...What you just did, I have no words for. What I'm feeling on the inside. And your vulnerability is so beyond... it gives every man out there the courage to be their true selves."

JUDGES' SCORES: 39 (out of 40) (Highest score of the season so far)

It's kind of almost a sacriledge, that after the last poignant, powerful, moving and emotion-filled dance that we have this next.

TEAM: Erika and Gleb
Most Memorable Year: 1989
Why? "The year I moved to New York to find my dreams."
Poignancy Factor: One (out of 10)

As I said, the ego-filled dances/goals/memories are the ones that succeed the least. Just look at the picture. And she was dancing a "cha cha" to Madonna's "Express Yourself."

And I have also said, frequently, that the only thing in Gleb's toolbox is sex.... Well...

Len: "It's a bit of same old, same old. You go down this sexy route. If you wanna do that, you do that."

When they are back with Erin, Gleb grabs the mic as Erika is talking and says: "No, Len, we're not going to do less sexy. We're going all the way." *sigh* (Gleb, season after season now, deludes himself with thinking he can do this the way he wants to, and get in the finals. Guess what Gleb...?)

JUDGES' SCORES: 30 (out of 40)

TEAM: Simone and Sasha
Most Memorable Year: 2000
Why? "The year I was adopted."
Poignancy Factor: Nine (out of 10)

Simone talks about how her mother was drug and alcohol-addicted, and when she was really young, she remembers being "really hungry." Her mom kept going into and out of jails, and finally she ended up in foster care.

They dance just a beautiful Viennese waltz (Sasha just does such brilliant choreography). Just so perfect and wonderful. At the end, her adoptive parents are in the audience, and she runs up to hug them both. Then, quick-thinking Tom Bergeron brings them both up onstage as Simone gets her scores.

Judges, not surprisingly, loved it. Especially because, in addition to her usual perfection, she was also showing emotion.

JUDGES' SCORES: 36 (out of 40)

TEAM: Bonner and Sharna
Most Memorable Year: 2016
Why? The year of his bull-riding accident that almost killed him.
Poignancy Factor: Eight (out of 10)

Sharna is such a superb choreographer. And I'm partial to the dances which tell a story through the choreography, as this did. Just stunning to watch. Really nice, content-filled foxtrot, and they both looked so elegant performing it.

JUDGES' SCORES: 32 (out of 40)

A great night of dances, and Mr. T and Kym are the ones going home.

1. Rashad and Emma, contemporary
2. Simone and Sasha, Viennese waltz
3. Heather and Alan, cha cha
4. Normani and Val, rumba
5. Nick and Peta, rumba
6. Bonner and Sharna, foxtrot
7. Nancy and Artem, foxtrot
8. David and Lindsay, Viennese waltz


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