It was hard to get choked up about Drew Scott’s failed acting career Monday night when Victoria Arlen recalled her journey out of a wheelchair.
They were both part of “Dancing with the Stars’” “Most Memorable Year” night – a danceathon filled with more tears than slick moves.
Jordan Fisher was the night’s best (one point short of perfection) for his contemporary dance that paid tribute to the year he was adopted. Easily the show’s best dancer, he completed every move, every gesture and still brought the emotion. He should have gotten a perfect 30, but it’s too early in the game to pull out all those paddles.
Another Fisher – Derek – paid tribute to his daughter’s eye disease and got a 23. He deserved better, but this is a brutal game. Sure enough, he was the one who got the lowest number of votes and the ticket home.
Arlen, a Paralympic swimmer, had the most compelling story – she couldn’t speak or move for years but battled back and vowed to be the first person in a wheelchair to compete on “Dancing.” “Why do it in a wheelchair?” her therapist asked. And so, she continued to fight and now competes, even though she doesn’t have feeling in her legs. She got a 27 and appears to be a big threat – and deservedly so.
While Vanessa Lachey got props for the story about her premature son, the show never really addressed the discord that rocked last week’s outing. She danced with Maks Chmerkovskiy, but no one said what went wrong. Instead, the two hugged like old friends and shared parental tears.
Lachey’s husband, Nick, paid tribute to his marriage (not his first one to Jessica Simpson, this one to Vanessa) and shed his tears, too. She got a 24; he got a 22 and was in the bottom two.
Again, the husband vs. wife storyline is too good to abandon at this point, so they’re golden for a while.
Among the stories:
• Frankie Muniz said he had numerous mini-strokes and often can’t remember his past.
• Terrell Owens said he owed much to his late grandmother, who served as his rock throughout life.
• Nikki Bella recounted an accident that nearly ended her pro wrestling career.
• Lindsey Stirling lifted up her late father, who always was her biggest fan.
• Sasha Pieterse talked about lost jobs and confidence.
• And Drew Scott admitted he wanted to be an actor but couldn’t get work. So he switched to hosting home redo shows with his brother and found success. For good measure (and the possibility that he might be going home) he brought brother Jonathan out to share the dance floor. The jive was lame, but he still got a 24.
While the judges mustered fake tears to add to the effect, they largely told every dancer “this is your best yet” and scored higher than they probably should have.
The field is narrowing and it’s still a Jordan/Victoria/Lindsey battle.
The others are just marking time.