(LOS ANGELES) — On an emotional night in the Dancing with the Stars ballroom, opera singer Katherine Jenkins on Monday rose to the top of the leader board for the third consecutive week. Her waltz earned her the first “10s” awarded to any contestant this season.
It was a competitive night, with five stars tied at the bottom of the leader board.
The contestants’ dances were based on the most memorable years of their lives. Here’s the rundown of the individual performances, in chronological order:
— Jack Wagner dedicated his samba with Anna Trebunskaya to his 23-year-old daughter, who he never knew existed until last year.
The actor, wearing a fiery, unbuttoned silk shirt, kicked off his dance by standing on the judges’ table while holding a guitar. He didn’t actually play the instrument, though.
Head judge Len Goodman complimented Wagner and his partner on their choreography. Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba both said it was uplifting. Total score: 24 out of a possible 30.
— Maria Menounos’ rumba harkened back to the year 1988, when, she explained, her parents worked hard to provide for her family after the couple emigrated from Greece to Boston.
Menounos and Derek Hough performed the rumba as the house band transformed Madonna’s early pop hit “Material Girl” into an extremely slow ballad.
Inaba observed that Menounous showed no ill effects from her injured ribs, and demonstrated maturity on the dance floor. Goodman chimed in that the rumba was a mix of the ballroom with the bedroom, meaning it was pretty sexy. Total score: 27/30.
— Gladys Knight’s foxtrot was inspired by her first tour with The Pips, in 1957, when she met Sam Cooke for the first time. So she chose Cooke’s song “Cupid” for her performance with Tristan MacManus.
The routine began with Knight emerging from a door placed on the stage. She exited through the same door at the end of the dance.
Inaba said Knight dances like she sings, with soul. Tonioli noted that she was fluid with her moves. Total score: 24/30.
— Disney actor Roshon Fegan channeled his inner Michael Jackson with the samba, inspired by the first time he saw the King of Pop on stage, in 1996. During rehearsals, he was helped by former Michael Jackson choreographer Travis Payne.
Fegan dressed like a Jackson 5 member as he and Chelsie Hightower danced to the group’s hit “I Want You Back.” Goodman enjoyed his flair and “devil may care” attitude, but he said he would’ve liked to have seen more traditional samba moves. Tonioli declared that Jackson would have loved the dance as much as he did. Total score: 25/30.
— Gavin DeGraw shared his memories of 1998, when he moved to New York City to pursue a music career with the help of his parents. His family was in attendance at the performance show.
DeGraw selected Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” because he knew what he wanted to do with his life after seeing the “Piano Man” in concert.
DeGraw, wearing an unbuttoned white shirt, black pants, and a black fedora, danced a graceful rumba with Karina Smirnoff.
Inaba said she felt her heart flutter because DeGraw’s moves were so sensual. Goodman praised DeGraw for his hip action and for improving each week. Total score: 24/30.
— Katherine Jenkins had tears in her eyes throughout her waltz with Mark Ballas, set to Josh Groban’s “To Where You Are.” It brought back memories of her father, who died of lung cancer in 1996.
Jenkins sobbed as she received an extended ovation for her effort. Inaba also cried, saying the performance was magical. Goodman said he was willing to overlook the fact Jenkins’ waltz wasn’t typical for the ballroom. Total score: 29/30.
— The View co-host Sherri Shepherd reflected on the year 2005, when her son Jeffrey was born 15 weeks premature. He struggled with many health issues at the time, but he’s now doing OK.
Shepherd and Val Chmerkovskiy tackled the rumba to Ray Charles’ “If I Could.” Tonioli yelled, “Mama can move!” Inaba applauded Shepherd for staying true to herself. Total score: 24/30.
— Former Little House on the Prairie star Melissa Gilbert told the story of how she broke her back in 2010 and feared at the time that she may not be able to walk after surgery.
Gilbert, who wore a low-cut purple dress, and Maksim Chmerkovskiy attempted the jive to the Florence + the Machine hit “Dog Days Are Over.” Inaba said Gilbert was dynamic on the dance floor for the first time. Goodman declared, “You have come into the competition.” Total score: 24/30.
— Jaleel White recounted how he played Stefan Urquelle for the first time on his 1990s sitcom Family Matters. For those of you who never watched his show, Stefan was the much cooler, slick alter ego of White’s Steve Urkel.
White reprised the role of Stefan as he did the rumba with Kym Johnson. Inaba said he is “back in the game.” Tonioli added that White was smooth and cool.
Backstage, White sobbed as he took pride in the Stefan character and said he loves to entertain people. There was no hint of tension between White and Johnson following a report that the two had a heated argument during rehearsals. Total score: 25/30.
— Telenovela actor William Levy did a very sexy salsa with Cheryl Burke in honor of his arrival from Cuba to the United States in 1995. The ladies in the audience especially loved it, probably because his shirt was completely unbuttoned, revealing his ripped abs.
Goodman said it brought new meaning to the phrase “Free Willy.” Tonioli asked Levy to come closer to him, then screamed, “That was amazing!” Total score: 28/30.
— Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver discussed how his best friend died of cancer two years ago. He danced the rumba with Peta Murgatroyd to the Mariah Carey-Boyz II Men song “One Sweet Day.”
Inaba’s eyes again welled up, saying she felt a lot of love from Driver. Goodman said he wasn’t expecting such an emotional routine. Total score: 26/30.
One of these celebrities will be eliminated Tuesday night on the results show, which airs on ABC at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time. Seal and Rascal Flatts are the musical guests.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com
Sandra Gonzalez, CNN
Rachel Sande, EastIdahoNews.com