April 2’s performance served as Memory Week on Dancing With the Stars, which means all 11 stars were asked to incorporate a personal story into their dance routines to allow the audience to get to know each star better. Ideally this tactic is used to help garner sympathy votes in case contestants aren’t appearing all that charming on camera thus far. But this season’s group is just so likable that it’s almost rendered unnecessary. Seriously — have you ever seen such a normal bunch? Everyone is getting along not only with their dance partners, but with their fellow contestants as well. It’s truly a DWTS miracle.
But this group isn’t just the friendliest bunch of dancers the show has ever seen, they’re also the most talented. Sure, there’s been a lot of talent throughout each season, but never to a degree where everyone is so evenly ranked. Couples who were ranked at the top of the leaderboard last week continued to shine this week and those that have struggled completely redeemed themselves.
Perhaps part of it had to do with how emotionally charged Memory Week can be, but the better assumption would be that this group has proven they’re the best season DWTS has ever had. But if you don’t believe me, just look at the scoreboard.
So the big question is — how are viewers supposed to choose who to vote for when they’re all so good?
The High Rollers
Katherine Jenkins and William Levy continued their high leaderboard rankings with Jenkins earning a 29 out of 30 and Levy receiving 28 out of 30. These two have been neck-and-neck ever since the season started, and were joined by Maria Menounos who nabbed a 27 out of 30 with a sultry rumba. But even with impressive scores like these, they’re still not out of reach for their competitors. When the lowest score is a whopping 24 out of 30 points, then you know you’re going to have to earn those top spots. No one is safe from losing top billing.
Katherine danced an elegant waltz to Josh Groban’s “Where You Are” song, in honor of her father who had died from lung cancer when she was 15 years old. The emotion she put into the performance was palpable, rendering her the epitome of grace. The way she glided across the dance floor was so fluid she could’ve been figure skating. It was the perfect way to prove to everyone, including the judges, that she deserves to those top scores every time she hits the dance floor. Her performances are beyond enjoyable to watch.
William Levy continued to rile up the crowd as he danced a sexy salsa to Celia Cruz’s “La Vida Un Carnaval” as a way to honor his past in Cuba and his future in America. No one could dance a sexier salsa than this beautiful man. And to top it off, he gave the viewers the one thing we’ve really been waiting for: skin. With his shirt unbuttoned, Levy proved just how much we want him and his six pack around for many more weeks to come. Mucho caliente!
Maria Menounos surprised everyone as she danced an incredibly seductive rumba to Madonna’s song “Material Girl” — a song that continually reminded her to dream big, even in the most dire of times. Thus far, Menounos has been known for her cheery personality and memorable laugh, but this slow, sexy dance allowed the audience to see a completely different side of her. There was so much passion on that dance floor it would’ve made even Madonna herself blush (and that’s really saying something).
The Steady Middle Men
Roshon Fegan, Donald Driver, and Jaleel White have all received impressive rankings since the first week, and while none of them are really viewed as the frontrunners, they definitely have the potential to stay in this competition for the long haul.
Roshon Fegan danced an incredible samba to the Jackson 5 classic “I Want You Back.” Fegan admitted that he’s always looked up to Michael Jackson as his main reason for becoming a performer in the first place. Trying to mimic the likes of MJ is a huge undertaking, but Fegan boldly rose to the challenge. He did the King of Pop proud, nailing some of his most classic moves in a very high-paced dance. This guy’s got some serious moves that hopefully he’ll be bringing back next week.
Donald Driver has remained a steady presence on the leaderboard and last night was no exception. He danced a beautiful rumba to Mariah Carey’s “One Sweet Day,” in honor of his friend who died of cancer. He remained light on his feet throughout the performance and the fluidity of his movements were insane. This guy may be able to barrel his way down a football field, but he proved he’s able to glide down that field just as easily (though he’d probably get tackled a lot more).
No matter what, Jaleel White was going to receive a fair share of recognition simply because everyone remembers him from his Steve Urkel days. But he’s proven that there’s more to him than a pair of glasses and suspenders — he deserves to be here. White danced a smooth rumba that would’ve made Stefan Urquelle very proud indeed. This guy has more charisma than he even seems aware of. Look out William Levy, you’ve got some competition.
The Comeback Squad
Sherri Shepherd, Gavin DeGraw, Jack Wagner, Melissa Gilbert, and Gladys Knight all faced setbacks after last week’s performances. Granted, in this group they were all still really good, but they were in need of a pick-me-up for this week’s scores, and that’s exactly what they received — all tying in an impressive score of 24 out of 30 points.
Sherri Shepherd danced the rumba to Celine Dion’s “If I Could” in honor of her son Jeffrey who was born after only 25 weeks in the womb and survived. It was an emotional story, which warranted an emotional dance. So far, Shepherd’s provided much of the comic relief on the show, so it was nice to see her take on a slower, less lively routine. It allowed viewers to see just how graceful she really is and how much we want to see her back on the dance floor week after week.
Gavin DeGraw got in touch with his sexy side while dancing the rumba to Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” in honor of his family’s unrelenting support of him. DeGraw found himself in the bottom two last week, but it would be a crime if the same thing happens again. It was the first time where it felt like he was leading his dance partner and not the other way around, which shows how much more confident he was in this performance. And the boy’s got some hips! Let’s hope to see a lot more of this in the future.
Jack Wagner danced the rumba to his own song “Lighting Up the Night” in honor of the year he discovered he had a daughter. Last week his dance moves were so lively he seemed like he’d been drinking a little too much Red Bull, but this week he rectified all of that by taking things down a notch and simply letting the music flow through him. The judges said it was his best dance so far.
Melissa Gilbert danced the jive to “The Dog Days Are Over” by Florence and the Machine in memory of when she broke her back in 2010. And while normally she has a tendency to appear hesitant out on the dance floor, this week she came out with gusto. Gilbert is usually focused so much on remembering the dance steps that she doesn’t get the chance to let the movements take over. But this week her confidence shined through. If she keeps this up, she’ll be able to stick around in the competition.
And then there’s Gladys Knight: singing legend and dancer extraordinaire. Last week her movements appeared more hesitant, but this week she was just brimming with confidence (did all these folks take confidence pills or something?). Of course, we could probably watch this living legend boil water and still love her for it, but she’s made great strides in just one week’s time, which is unbelievable considering they have less time to rehearse than they did before.
So now that all of the stars have proven they more than deserve to be here, which one will voters be sending home? How do you choose when the talent is so equal all across the board? Do these scores make Season 14 the best season ever? Sound off in the comments or get at me on Twitter @KellyBean0415.