Roshon Fegan & Chelsie Hightower
Roshon says they're dancing a samba to a Jackson Five song, because "MJ is [his] hero." His most memorable year is 1996 because that was the first year he saw Michael Jackson perform live. Chelsie brought in Jackson's choreographer Travis Payne. Oh, dear -- they're practicing the MJ crotch grab. I'm so uncomfortable right now. Roshon's wigged out Afro-style for "I Want You Back." The disco balls are so plentiful and persistent that I'm having a hard time actually seeing the dance. They're mixing in a lot of not-really-samba moves here; wonder if Len will ding them. HA! Len says he likes the Michael Jackson moves but would've liked to have seen "just a little bit more traditional samba." Never change, Len.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 8 Len: 8 Bruno: 9
So, really, only one point better than SloMo Gladys.
Gavin DeGraw & Karina Smirnoff
Gavin's chosen Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind" for their rumba because a Billy Joel concert inspired him to be a musician. Gavin moved to New York in 1998 to start his career and he gets a little emotional talking about how supportive his family was. The hat is off! A whole family of sparrows has had to relocate! OK, the hat's back on for the performance, which Gavin starts at the piano, miming playing the intro. Something about the cut of the line around the bottom of Karina's body suit is giving it a rather unfortunate "diaper cover" feel. Aw, Gavin's family is in the audience and looks fit to burst with pride. Bruno likes Gavin's hip action but tells him to work on his turns. Carrie Ann's heart is racing because it's gone all fluttery for Gavin. She says he has an "authentic attention to detail." She's got "Gavin Fever!" Len says that the slow dance shows every detail and he saw good hips, musicality and no problem with the turns. He adds that Gavin's showing great progression as a dancer. Gavin starts to cry when Brooke asks him about his family being there tonight.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 8 Len: 8 Bruno: 8
"8" is the new "7" this year.
Katherine Jenkins & Mark Ballas
Katherine's most memorable year was 1996, when her dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. She was 15 and was pulled out of class to by her aunt when he unexpectedly slipped into a coma. She felt she never got to say a proper goodbye. Now this is worth crying about. They're waltzing to "To Where You Are" by Josh Groban. I wish there was a way to de-smarm Mark -- I'd like Katherine so much better if she was dancing with anybody, anybody else. Beautifully danced, if overwrought. They cut away to the dancers crow's nest and you can see Peta wiping her eyes. And now Carrie Ann's crying, which is setting off Katherine. Bless Len's heart for holding it together AND for dinging Mark's choreography for not having enough traditional "in-hold" waltz moves. SEE! It's like I said in the season preview -- Mark's always the biggest liability to any star he partners with, mainly because of his choreography.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 10 Len: 9 Bruno: 10
First 10s of the season. They really, really, really want Katherine to stick around.
Sherri Shepherd & Val Chmerkovskiy
Sherri's most memorable moment was when her son Jeffrey was born extremely prematurely, with a lot of complications predicted for his health. But the worst of them were unfounded and he looks like a happy, healthy boy now and comes to visit his mom during rehearsals. They're doing the rumba to something that starts with a heartbeat sound. Why, why, why did Sherri let the costume department talk her into this dress? It's your grandma's bathing suit from 1959, with a chiffon scarf tacked on. This song is the worst of everything I hate about the rumba. Slow, boring, pose-y. Blah. But dang, her kid's got the cutest smile. Len appreciates the emotion of the dance and thought she did a great job. Bruno says "Mama can move!" Carrie Ann says her lines tonight were the best she's seen. They cut to Damon Wayans Jr. and Elisha Cuthbert from "Happy Endings" in the audience. Damon looks like I feel about Sherri. If I wasn't already a huge fan of his, I'd be one now.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 8 Len: 8 Bruno: 8
Now Sherri's crying. Prediction: anybody that doesn't cry tonight? Goes home tomorrow. Them's the rules of the ballroom.