Dancing With the Stars, Week Three Recap – Can you hand me a tissue?

Editor: Please welcome back guest author Sarah Johnson Carter for her second stab at reality TV recapping. And the Russian judge gives her a 9.

This week’s assignment was to create a dance tribute to the “Most Memorable Year of My Life.” The celebrities chose a pivotal year of their lives and the professionals choreographed a dance inspired by that year’s events.

Rob and Cheryl kicked off the show with a Foxtrot to Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon.” Rob dedicated the dance to his late father. Len proclaimed that Rob put the “dash” in Kardashian, and Carrie Ann loves to watch Rob make progress weekly. The judges were pleased and awarded the pair three 8s for a total of 24.

After a week of pressure-filled rehearsal, Tony and Chynna took the floor to Rumba to her own song “Hold On.” The incredibly graceful dance conveyed Chynna’s personal message of hope. Bruno commented that Chynna is so intriguing and elegant that she belongs in a museum where she can be admired!?!? Len declared that she took the competition to a new level. The judges gave them 8, 9, 9 for a 26.

Up next, Chaz and Lacey celebrated Chaz’s happiness over the past year. They performed a Rumba to “Laugh at Me,” a song written by Chaz’s dad, Sonny Bono. It seemed that Lacey was the only one actually dancing during most of the song. The judges clearly love Chaz’s courage (how could they not?), but Carrie Ann and Bruno didn’t think this difficult dance was his best. The judges’ award of triple 6s gave him a total of 18.

Kristin and Mark brought some energy to the night with some booty shaking, hair whipping fun to celebrate the year Kristin chose to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love” played while the two sambaed across the floor. Of course the Beyoncé moves weren’t quite Len’s cup of tea, but he enjoyed the rest of the dance. Bruno chimed in with some enthusiastic (yet slightly uncomfortable) praise. The pair earned triple 8s for a score of 24.

Lighting up the dance floor in a flashy hot pink jacket, Carson and his partner, Anna, celebrated the year his show “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” debuted. Once again, they pleased the crowd with a ferocious tango to No Doubt’s, “It’s My Life.” Jumping out of his seat, Bruno exclaimed that the performance was insanely brilliant. The scores of 8, 7, 8 gave Carson a 23, his best of the competition thus far.

The next performance was one of the most profound dances Carrie Ann has ever seen in the competition, and I was in tears even before the first step. J.R. and Karina performed an emotional Rumba to Tim McGraw’s, “If You’re Reading This,” in tribute to the men and women who didn’t make it home from the war. Bruno remarked on the dance’s tangible emotion, and praised the pair’s technique. The judges awarded them 9, 8, 9, which tied them with Chynna and Tony’s total score of 26.

Nancy and Tristan waltzed to “Moon River,” by Andy Williams, which was the first song Nancy sang to her babies, after their scary, emergency delivery. Len and Bruno criticized her technique, but Carrie Ann was transported by the emotional performance. Nancy was pleased with her score of 21 (7, 7, 7).

Ricki celebrated allowing herself to love again with a Rumba choreographed by Derek to Sara Bareilles’ “Gravity.” Bruno loved their emotion, Carrie Ann said Ricki’s on fire, and Len declared it a great routine. Triple 9s from the judges gave the pair a 27, the top score of the evening.

Hope and Maks’ Cha Cha celebrated the journey Hope made during the last year as a top athlete. Enrique Iglesias’ “Tonight” played while Hope channeled her inner sexiness. Despite being mildly disturbed by Hope’s poufy skirt (it reminded me of something I wore to a Bar Mitzvah during middle school in the 1980s), I found the performance energetic and fun. Len thought there was too much of a provocative edge to the dance, while Bruno and Carrie Ann agreed that Hope needs to work on her walk (paging Miss J from America’s Next Top Model!). The judges’ scores of triple 8s, for a total of 24, made Maks smile.

David and Kym fought back from their spot in last week’s bottom two. Their Rumba to “Ooh Child,” by The Five Stairsteps was inspired by the difficult year David endured with the breakup of his marriage and trouble with alcohol. David realized the importance of his daughter in his life, and dedicated his dance to her. Len thought it was his best dance so far, and Carrie Ann congratulated him on his comeback. The pair received three 8s, giving them a total of 24.

It was a surprisingly emotional night (almost as surprising as Len’s unusually good mood). Which one of the stars didn’t win over the viewers with their dedication dance? We’ll find out tonight-I’ll bring the spray tan!

When she’s not watching ABC, and sometimes when she is, you can find Sarah Johnson Carter on twitter @sarahjcarter.