‘Dancing with the Stars’ Most Memorable Year recap: Break out the tissues for all the tear-jerking routines [UPDATING LIVE BLOG]

Step aside, “This is Us.” “Dancing with the Stars” has been making its fans cry since well before TV’s favorite tearjerker premiered. That’s thanks to the show’s “Most Memorable Year” theme night, in which the celebrity contestants perform routines in honor of a year that had an especially meaningful impact on their lives. So who had the night’s most memorable dances when the contestants commemorated their most formative experiences? Find out below in our live blog with all the minute-by-minute developments as they happen.

While these performances may have been emotionally taxing, at least the celebs only had to perform once as the show is back down to one episode per week. Since the contestants had the whole week to prepare for just one number, did we see even more improvement than in week two when the scores skyrocketed? Our eyes were especially on Tinashe, Milo Manheim and Juan Pablo Di Pace, who tied for the top judges’ score on both New York City Night and Las Vegas Night.

Other stars were looking for redemption. Joe Amabile, aka Grocery Store Joe, had been stuck at the bottom of the leaderboard all season, even though his scores gradually improved: 14 out of 30 in the season premiere, 17 on New York Night and 18 on Vegas Night. And Bobby Bones lost some ground after a promising start: he got his lowest score yet on Vegas Night (19), and he even rubbed his pro partner Sharna Burgess the wrong way with his spontaneous flossing during one routine.

But Amabile and Bones have emerged as early fan-favorites, so when it comes to the elimination at the end of the night, our users who have entered their predictions in our predictions center were more worried for John Schneider and Nancy McKeon. So whose “Most Memorable Year” night turned out to be one they’d rather forget? Find out below starting at 8:00pm (all times listed are Eastern).

Daniel Montgomery, 7:55pm — Ready for tonight’s show?

Jeffrey Kare, 7:56pm — Yes!

Cordell Martin, 7:56pm — Ready as I’m going to be! Here’s hoping Grocery Store Joe gets the boot.

DM, 7:57pm — Sadly I think it’ll be Nancy McKeon or John Schneider

CM, 7:57pm — Yep. And Joe got the Viennese waltz. I’m thinking Alexis will get the top score.

JK, 7:58pm — If Joe doesn’t even end up in jeopardy tonight, I’m gonna flip a table.

CM, 7:59pm — Get ready to flip one.

DM, 8:01pm — Milo’s most memorable year is gonna make everyone feel crazy old.

Mary Lou Retton and Sasha Farber: 1984 (Viennese Waltz)

DM, 8:02pm — “That is one of the most proud moments of my life,” says Mary Lou about her Olympic championship year, which is unsurprisingly her most memorable year, and it was made more powerful for her by the knee surgery she received not long before the Olympics.

DM, 8:04pm — I love how they’ve got picture-in-picture now for the emotional clip packages to show the celebs live and hopefully crying while watching it back. They’re fully committed to the waterworks tonight.

DM, 8:06pm — Rock solid waltz, not groundbreaking but thoroughly well executed.

JK, 8:06pm — I don’t know about any of you, but I thought that was their best performance yet!

CM, 8:06pm — I agree, beautiful.

JUDGES — Len Goodman says, “You epitomize the athlete’s fighting spirit,” and he also loved her used of her hands to create shapes while dancing. Bruno Tonioli adds, “I love the determination … You worked on your shoulders, and I could really see it … a wonderful sense of celebration.” Carrie Ann Inaba concludes, “Behind that uplifting spirit is this heart of determination … You pulled it back together, and that’s the sign of a champion,” though Carrie did notice a couple of mistakes during the routine.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (8), Len (8), Bruno (8) — Total: 24 out of 30

CM, 8:10pm — Respectable score.

JK, 8:10pm — Indeed.

CM, 8:10pm — Why can’t we get Joe out of the way?

DM, 8:11pm — An especially good score since Carrie Ann noticed a mistake and still gave an 8. We probably would have seen a 9 from her otherwise.

Milo Manheim and Witney Carson: 2018 (Jive)

DM, 8:13pm — Milo’s movie came out this year, he graduated high school, he’s on “DWTS.” In his short 17-year life, it makes sense that this is his most memorable year so far. “This dance is a giant graduation celebration … I feel like the luckiest 17-year-old in the world.”

JK, 8:18pm — WOW!

DM, 8:16pm — Milo is looking more and more like a potential finalist to me. Those flips? Is he a secret gymnast ringer and no one told us?

JUDGES — Bruno says, “Graduated with honor and ready for the big leagues. This guy has such strength and elasticity.” Carrie Ann adds, “You’re really clean and tight and energetic … Just watch the little zombie arm.” Len concludes, “It was a fine routine, plenty of content, lovely sharp flicks and kicks.”

DM, 8:18pm — It was really risky to do those moves right on the judges’ table where everyone could see his footwork up close, but it paid off.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (9), Len (9), Bruno (9) — Total: 27 out of 30

DM, 8:19pm — Highest score of the season so far, and well deserved.

JK, 8:20pm — I wouldn’t be surprised if he receives the first perfect score of the season.

Nancy McKeon and Val Chmerkovskiy: 2006 (Rumba)

DM, 8:24pm — “The year our family was complete,” says Nancy about her most memorable year. “Our family is everything. They make everything so much better.” Picture-in-picture Nancy crying in her clip package and while watching her clip package. It’s cry-ception.

JK, 8:28pm — Very solid.

DM, 8:28pm — Really good work by Nancy, though she’ll probably get dinged for a lack of hip action.

JUDGES — Carrie Ann says, “It’s a love-based joy that you feel that comes out when you dance.” Len adds, “It had a charm about it, it had a naturalness,” but just like I thought she needed more hip action. Bruno concludes, “You really portrayed this dance with such warmth and tenderness … Your turns are much improved. Your neckline has transformed,” but he too wanted more hip action.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (8), Len (7), Bruno (7) — Total: 22 out of 30

DM, 8:32pm — That’s the lowest score tonight so far, but it’s actually Nancy’s highest score of the season, including her first ever 8, so that’s encouraging if she can survive tonight’s elimination.

Alexis Ren and Alan Bersten: 2014 (Contemporary)

DM, 8:36pm — Before this performance, dancer Maddie Ziegler announces that she’ll be dancing a trio with Alexis and Alan if they survive tonight’s elimination. She’s performing a dance inspired by the year her mother was diagnosed with cancer and died.

DM, 8:39pm — This is a genuinely painful clip package to watch it’s so raw and emotional. And she’s got contemporary, a perfect dance for a night like this.

JUDGES — Len says, “A little bit staccato, a little bit too sharp, but I guess that’s just the emotions coming out.” Bruno adds, “You danced like an angel tonight: true feeling, beautiful movement. I loved it.” Carrie Ann concludes, “You gave us all a beautiful gift … an elegant, poetic legacy of your mother.”

JK, 8:42pm — So emotionally breathtaking!

DM, 8:42pm — I usually find the emotions on “Most Memorable Year” night a little forced and manipulative, but I thought that was genuine and outstanding.

CM, 8:42pm — I predict three 9s.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (9), Len (8), Bruno (9) — Total: 26 out of 30

JK, 8:43pm — Of course Len has to go one point lower than the rest.

DM, 8:44pm — I’m surprised he gave that 8, that seemed kinda stingy.

CM, 8:45pm — I know, right? I thought Len loved Alexis.

Evanna Lynch and Keo Motsepe: 2006 (Viennese Waltz)

DM, 8:49pm — Evanna’s most memorable year is the one when she booked “Harry Potter.” The books were deeply important to her because they helped her through an eating disorder, and she actually became pen pals with J.K. Rowling as the books were keeping her spirits up.

JK, 8:54pm — Speechless!

CM, 8:54pm — Holy moly! Best dance so far.

JUDGES — Bruno says, “Your magic is stronger than ever, and we’re all under your spell … You were so determined, so self-assured.” Carrie Ann adds, “Your performance has grown so much from that first performance … You gave us the gliding, then you gave us power, then you gave us demure.” Len concludes, “It was elegant, it was full of gusto … That was a magic performance.”

SCORES — Carrie Ann (9), Len (9), Bruno (9) — Total: 27 out of 30

JK, 8:55pm — That performance definitely showed how dedicated she is not only to “Harry Potter,” but to the entire competition!

DM, 8:56pm — I loved it too. There were a few moments that seemed a tiny bit hectic to me in the choreography, but Evanna nailed it.

CM, 8:57pm — I’m loving her journey on this show. Tinashe, Juan Pablo and DeMarcus better watch out.

Joe Amabile and Jenna Johnson: 2018 (Viennese Waltz)

DM, 8:59pm — This is his most memorable year because he had commitment issues and finding his first serious girlfriend, Kendall, in the “Bachelor” universe. He admits to Kendall about his “DWTS” performances so far, “I just can’t get with it because I’m so nervous,” but he’s looking to conquer his fear by just doing it.

DM, 9:02pm — That was okay. A little stompy and clompy, didn’t have a lot of elegance, but at least I feel like he’s trying.

CM, 9:02pm — Exactly. God he’s going to make it through another week.

JUDGES — Carrie Ann says, “I saw so much more opening, and I really saw you trying … You didn’t miss any beat, you stayed on the tempo.” Len adds, “Your dancing is a work in progress. You haven’t got there yet, but I can see a more confident Joe coming out. I would have liked more recognizable Viennese waltz.” Bruno concludes, “You were moving, now you have to work on the quality of movement.”

SCORES — Carrie Ann (6), Len (6), Bruno (6) — Total: 18 out of 30

JK, 9:05pm — And he just got the score he deserved.

CM, 9:05pm — Good job, judges.

DM, 9:06pm — You know, I actually thought someone would give him a 7

CM, 9:06pm — Me too. I think the judges are trying to play reverse psychology on the audience by not being so mean in their critiques.

DM, 9:07pm — I’ve seen that on some reality shows. If you’re too mean you turn someone into a martyr and they stick around too long: the Sanjaya Effect.

Juan Pablo Di Pace and Cheryl Burke: 1999 (Samba)

DM, 9:09pm — His memorable year is the year he left Buenos Aires to pursue entertainment. He was bullied at school because he was “a little awkward and artistic.” When he was cast in a production of “Grease” he felt like this is what he was meant to do.

JK, 9:12pm — As for Juan Pablo’s performance this week, excellent!

DM, 9:12pm — Nancy needs to practice with Juan Pablo to learn about hip action. Yowza!

JUDGES — Len gives a rare standing ovation — no other comment needed. Bruno adds, “This is one of the best sambas I have ever seen.” Carrie Ann concludes, “That samba was off the charts.”

DM, 9:14pm — Wow, are we gonna get 10s after those critiques?

SCORES — Carrie Ann (10), Len (10), Bruno (10) — Total: 30 out of 30

JK, 9:15pm — Wow! He just beat Milo to the first perfect score of the season!

DM, 9:15pm — I don’t think I would have given him all 10s for that performance. That would have been more of a 9 from me, but the fact that he nailed one of the hardest dance styles on the show, I can’t complain too much.

John Schneider and Emma Slater: 2016 (Waltz)

DM, 9:19pm — “The year I lost everything,” says John about his memorable year. A flood destroyed his home and brought him and his girlfriend closer together. But later that her mother died. “She’d be so happy. She’d be so proud,” Emma tells him. And he says, “This dance is for you, mom.”

JUDGES — Bruno says, “It was so charming and so heartfelt it was impossible to resist … and you had such a wonderful caring tough … Be careful in hold, sometimes you’re a bit unsteady.” Carrie Ann adds, “It was so beautiful to witness, but I did see your posture. You need to work a little bit on your posture.” Len concludes, “You had an elegance about you … You kept right on time. But if you’re going to shine, you need to polish.”

JK, 9:25pm — What a beautiful performance!

DM, 9:25pm — A little rough around the edges, but much more rhythmic and musical than Grocery Store Joe.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (7), Len (7), Bruno (7) — Total: 21 out of 30

Bobby Bones and Sharna Burgess: 1998 (Contemporary)

DM, 9:30pm — His year is the year he graduated high school. He was the first member of his family ever to do so. “I knew to get out of the culture I was in, I needed an education.” When he graduated from high school he inspired his mom to get his GED, but she died in her 40s from drugs and alcohol.

JK, 9:34pm — Very creative routine!

CM, 9:34pm — Well done! Loved the storytelling.

DM, 9:34pm — Contemporary is usually like a slam-dunk dance style, but it didn’t really fit Bobby Bones too well. Though I did appreciate him showing a different side of his personality.

JUDGES — Carrie Ann says, “It was magic, and we all experienced it … Tonight it took you miles ahead of where you were last week.” Len adds, “This was your best dance.” Bruno concludes, “Honest, real … contemporary suits your body.”

SCORES — Carrie Ann (8), Len (7), Bruno (8) — Total: 23 out of 30

DM, 9:37pm — His best score on the show by far. I thought his movements lacked polish even though he had the emotionality and the storytelling down. I personally would have scored him the same as John, so I’m with Len on this one.

Tinashe and Brandon Armstrong: 2014 (Rumba)

DM, 9:41pm — The year Tinashe released her debut album “Aquarius” as her most memorable year, and she’s dancing to her debut single. She has been interested in pursuing music from a young age, and she had full support from her parents, who show up to cheer her on while she trains with Brandon.

JUDGES — Len says, “That’s your best dance for me, and it’s a tough dance.” Bruno adds, “What you did so well was the tonality that you captured … It had a wonderful, liquid fluidity.” Carrie Ann includes, “I feel like we’re only beginning to see the best of you.”

DM, 9:46pm — Lovely performance, good hip action, lowkey but not in a bad way. It’s not my favorite performance from her, but I’m not mad at that at all.

JK, 9:47pm — Yeah, I thought it was still great.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (9), Len (9), Bruno (9) — Total: 27 out of 30

DeMarcus Ware and Lindsay Arnold: 2016 (Argentine Tango)

DM, 9:51pm — DeMarcus picks 2016 as his most memorable year, when he won the Super Bowl. It was special because he had his family watching him. He had struggled to conceive a child with his wife years prior, so they adopted, and then later finally had a child of their own.

JUDGES — Bruno says, “That was an almost superhuman display of strength. That was mind-blowing.” Carrie Ann adds, “It blew me away.” Len concludes, “The lifts were so great I’ve got to give you kudos for that … Great dancing.”

JK, 9:57pm — What an amazing performance to end with tonight!

DM, 9:57pm — I thought the lifts were brilliant, but his footwork felt a little heavy and stiff.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (9), Len (8), Bruno (9) — Total: 26 out of 30

DM, 9:57pm — Maybe I’m just a grump tonight, but once again I’m with Len on this one.


First couple in jeopardy: Nancy and Val

Second couple in jeopardy: Tinashe and Brandon


JK, 10:00pm — Had it been Tinashe, I would’ve really flipped a table more than at that than the fact that Joe is still safe.

DM, 10:00pm — I had a feeling they just announced Tinashe as “in jeopardy” as a random scare. I doubt she was really that low.

CM, 10:00pm — Yeah, I agree.

JK, 10:01pm — Yeah, unless some people feel that “well, she’s safe, so I’m gonna vote for someone else.”

DM, 10:03pm — This is actually Val’s worst result on the show in ages. Tied for his worst ever, actually, 11th place, which is where he placed in his very first season on the show with Elisabetta Canalis (season 13).

CM, 10:04pm — Okay, a guy needs to leave next week.

DM, 10:05pm — After week one when the bottom five were all women, I’m not too surprised. Three of those are gone now. Mary Lou might be next.

Judges’ Leaderboard:

1. Juan Pablo Di Pace — 30
2. Evanna Lynch — 27
2. Milo Manheim — 27
2. Tinashe — 27
5. Alexis Ren — 26
5. DeMarcus Ware — 26
7. Mary Lou Retton — 24
8. Bobby Bones — 23
9. Nancy McKeon — 22 (ELIMINATED)
10. John Schneider — 21
11. Joe Amabile — 18

Predictions Contest Results:

Who was eliminated? Nancy McKeon

Who will get the HIGHEST score? Juan Pablo Di Pace (30 out of 30)

Who will get the LOWEST score? Joe Amabile (18 out of 30)

How many 10s did the judges give out? 1 to 4 — 3 to be exact

Which judge gave the MOST points? Carrie Ann Inaba (92)

Which judge gave the FEWEST points? Len Goodman (88)

Be sure to make your predictions so that the contestants can see how they’re faring in our racetrack odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before the next episode airs every Monday on ABC. You’ll compete to win a spot on our leaderboard and eternal bragging rights. See our contest rules and sound off with other fans in our reality TV forum. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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