Dancing With the Stars Season 18, Week 3 Recap: A Full House Reunion and Lots of Tears

DWTS contestants
Week three of Dancing With the Stars' 18th season brought a mini Full House reunion, the celebs' "most memorable year" dedications, and lots of tears Adam Taylor/ABC/Getty Images

Hope you had a box of tissues handy for this week's Dancing With the Stars, because it was an emotional two hours — and not just for the contestants. As part of the "Most Memorable Year of Your Life" theme, each star was asked to tell a story about a particularly significant or life-changing period in his or her life. The result? Lots of tears and some truly inspired dancing. Let's recap! 

James and Peta

James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd kicked things off with an energetic jive to Jimmy Eat World's "The Middle." James picked the song because it reminds him that "it just takes some time" for things to get better — a lesson he needed to remember when he was a kid and getting bullied in school. Things turned around for him in 2007, and he's been movin' on up ever since. "You just have to believe you can control your own destiny," he said in his intro package.

The judges — Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli, and guest star Robin Roberts — loved the Big Time Rush singer's school-inspired routine with Peta, praising it as "superb," "kinetic," and "vibrant." Said Len: "Was that an earthquake, an aftershock, or did you just rock this place? Your best dance, no question."

Score: 36 out of 40 (9 from each judge) 

After James and Peta's dance, there was a brief announcement from Billy Dee Williams, who revealed he was leaving the show because of a chronic back problem. (Read more about Billy Dee's goodbye here.)

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NeNe and Tony

NeNe Leakes and Tony Dovolani were up next, and they delivered a romantic, sensual rumba to Whitney Houston's "I Believe in You and Me." NeNe explained that her most memorable year was 2013, when she remarried her husband Gregg for a second time, three years after filing for divorce. "Gregg is my soulmate. He just understands me. He gets me," she gushed. "He's the one."

Len admitted he was worried when he saw a bed on the dance floor, but he said he was "pleasantly surprised" by how tasteful the routine was. Carrie Ann, meanwhile — who has given the Real Housewives star a hard time over the last couple of weeks — raved that NeNe's movements were "as large as [her] heart and [her] passion in that dance." (Gregg approved, too.)

Score: 31 out of 40 (8 from Carrie Ann, Robin, and Bruno; 7 from Len)

Cody and Witney

Cody Simpson dedicated his week three routine, a contemporary dance with Witney Carson to his own song "Surfboard," to his family, for giving up their lives in Australia to let him pursue his dream of becoming a singer in 2010. "My family literally gave up everything for my career — their jobs, our house — just for my dream," he said in his intro package. "I know I would not be up on that stage without my family." 

Bruno praised the modern choreography as "so refreshing, so right here, so right now," while Carrie Ann said it was so good, it was "ridiculous." Robin, too, praised his style, telling him, "You own it when you're out there. I just love your kind of flair."

Score: 35 out of 40 (9 from Carrie Ann, Robin, and Bruno; 8 from Len) 

Danica and Val

Danica McKellar got the waterworks started early, when she recalled losing her grandmother two weeks before the birth of her son, Draco, in 2010. She chose the Billy Joel song "Lullaby" for her contemporary dance with Val Chmerkovskiy, because it answers the question she knows her son will someday ask: What will happen when she's not around anymore? "I want him to know that I will always be there for him, even when I'm gone," she said, wiping away tears. 

There wasn't a dry eye in the house after her dance, especially when she ran to pick up a weepy Draco and then held him as she received the judges' comments. "That was just the most beautiful, sincere performance," Carrie Ann gushed. Added Bruno: "It was enchanting motion. It was spellbinding." 

Score: 36 out of 40 (9 from each judge)

Drew and Cheryl

Drew Carey got a little emotional during his intro package, too, as he talked about how his life changed when he had his son in 2005. "My world shifted," he said. "Having a kid changes everything." Then, recalling how his own father died when he was 8, he added, "I don't want that to happen to Connor. I don't want him to grow up without a dad."

The Price Is Right host dedicated his waltz, to the song "Fade Into You" from TV's Nashville, to Connor, who said afterward that he wanted Cheryl Burke to teach him some moves. Len noted it "got a little bit muddled" at parts, but said it was a "charming dance." Robin added, "You are a beautiful dancer and a beautiful soul."

Score: 30 out of 40 (7 from Carrie Ann and Len; 8 from Robin and Bruno)

Meryl and Maks

Meryl Davis couldn't choose just one year as the most memorable of her life, so she danced her foxtrot with Maksim Chmerkovskiy in honor of the 17 years she had been skating with Charlie White, and the 12 months leading up to the Sochi Winter Olympics. Their routine was fluid, graceful, and oh-so-romantic, with multiple near-kisses that had the judges (and everyone watching from the audience) holding their breaths.

"Irresistibly romantic," Bruno gushed of the "extraordinary" choreography. Added Carrie Ann: "I burst into tears in the middle of that routine because it was just so beautiful. It took my breath away. You are phenomenal."

Score: 39 out of 40 (10 from Carrie Ann, Robin, and Bruno; 9 from Len) 

Amy and Derek

Meryl and Maks were a tough act to follow, but Amy Purdy more than lived up to the challenge. Speaking about her most memorable year in her intro package, the paralympian recalled losing her legs and kidney function to bacterial meningitis in 1999. It was a life-changing year, to say the least — not just for her, but for her father, who gave up one of his kidneys to save his daughter. Her first dance on her prosthetic legs was with him in their living room, and it marked yet another turning point for her. "This dance," she said, referring to her contemporary routine with Derek Hough to Christina Perri's "Human," "is a tribute to the gift of life that he's given me."

It was a beautiful tribute, indeed — an elegant, sweeping routine that had everyone in tears by the end of it. Bruno gushed that it was "borderline miraculous," while Len said, "It touched my brain with the level of difficulty, and it touched my heart with the level of artistry."

Score: 36 out of 40 (9 from each judge)

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Charlie and Sharna

Charlie White, like his ice dancing partner Meryl, talked about the significance of making it to the Olympics — but unlike Meryl, he was able to choose a single most memorable year. His pick? 2010, when they very nearly won the gold medal. That almost-victory, he said, motivated him to go the extra distance at Sochi.

In honor of that — and as a thank you to his parents and his girlfriend for their support — he danced the jive with Sharna Burgess to Pharrell's infectious hit song "Happy." Len compared the routine to "happy hour," while Bruno praised it as "cheerful" and "delightful." 

Score: 36 out of 40 (9 from each judge)

Candace and Mark

Candace Cameron Bure cornered the market on the 1990s TV vote with a tribute to Full House — and a reunion with some of her costars! She chose 1995 as her most memorable year, because that was when her time as D.J. Tanner came to an end. It was also the year she got engaged to her now-husband, Valeri Bure. Her intro package featured cameos from former Full House stars Andrea Barber (Kimmy Gibbler) and Lori Loughlin (Aunt Becky), the latter of whom went with Candace on her first date with Valeri. (Scott Weinger, who played D.J.'s boyfriend Steve on the show, also made an appearance in the audience.) 

As a tribute to her Full House days, Candace chose an Elvis song for her jive with Mark Ballas, noting Uncle Jesse's (John Stamos) obsession with the King. "I loved the energy," Len raved after the routine. "I thought it was sharp and clean and precise." Robin added: "You were snazzy! It was wonderful to watch."

Score: 32 out of 40

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