Fans won't forget week four of Dancing With the Stars because it was all about making new memories by celebrating the old. This time around, the celebrities took to the dance floor armed with a song that represented their most memorable year. For one couple, though, the night proved unforgettable for the wrong reason.
Despite wowing the judges with a comeback performance this week, Michael Sam and Peta Murgatroyd learned that their journey toward the Mirrorball Trophy had come to an end. Ever a class act, however, the first openly gay football player drafted to the NFL signed off with a smile.
"It was an awesome experience. Please give my partner Peta everything," Sam said. "She was amazing. I had a great time."
Here's how the rest of the dancers stacked up this week:
Nastia Liukin and Derek Hough
Dance: Argentine Tango
Song: The Russian love song, "Dark Eyes"
How they did: Predictably, Liukin's most memorable year was 2008, when she represented the United States in the Olympics. To honor the memory of that magical event, the blond beauty opted to dance to the same song she used in the games, making it the first time she performed to that piece of music since taking home the gold — and the world-famous gymnast didn't disappoint.
"You nailed it in 2008 and you nailed it tonight," Julianne gushed while also complimenting Liukin for knowing "how to take a critique and improve on it." For Len's part, he admitted it "was a fantastic dance," but added that, for him, it "was not heartfelt." Carrie Ann quickly attributed Len's critique to his "grumpy" disposition, however, and the judges showered Liukin and Hough with sky-high scores, including the first perfect 10 of the season!
Score: 36 out of 40
Riker Lynch and Allison Holker
Song: "Shut Up and Dance With Me" by Walk the Moon
How they did: Lynch's most memorable year was 2014, when his band, R5, really took off. Clad in bright red ensembles, he and Holker burned the floor with a fast-paced tango that earned rave reviews from Julianne. "To me, you guys pop like nobody else," she explained. "You can't teach that." Bruno echoed Julianne's sentiments arguing, "You have so much talent and so much youthful enthusiasm, it's almost difficult to bottle it together."
Only Carrie Ann had much of a critique, arguing, "The chemistry was a bit off tonight." Shockingly, Lynch and Holker found themselves in jeopardy of being eliminated from the competition despite having tied for first place last week, but, thankfully, they dodged that bullet and will be back.
Score: 34 out of 40
Robert Herjavec and Kym Johnson
Song: "The Last Waltz" by Engelbert Humperdinck
How they did: For his most memorable year, the Shark Tank mogul dug deep and shared the story of losing his mother to ovarian cancer. Herjavec teared up both during his video package and after the dance, and he wasn't alone. There was hardly a dry eye at the judges' table as they gave their remarks.
"It's your best dance," Len declared. "And your mom is looking down right now and cheering." Bruno reiterated Len's praise. "You're guardian angel inspired your every move. Strictly ballroom and absolutely wonderful." Later, through more tears, Herjavec told Erin Andrews he chose the song he did because it was his mom's favorite.
Score: 34 out of 40 (with a 9 from "grumpy" Len!)
Chris Soules and Witney Carson
Song: "The Book of Love" by Gavin James
How they did: It was hardly a surprise that the Bachelor's most memorable year was 2014 because (drum roll please) that's when he met his fiancée Whitney on the hit reality show. In his video he discussed a broken engagement with his college sweetheart and the challenges of dating when you live in a town of 400 people. It was fine, if a bit bland. Upon finishing his dance with Carson, he beelined straight for the "other" Whitney for a kiss, who told him he did great — unfortunately, not all of the judges agreed.
"I have to judge purely on the dancing," Len began. "That wasn't that great." Julianne added, "I can respect the love that you have for your fiancée, but I think there's something that you have to give to this Whitney for the time being."
Score: 27 out of 40
Grade: B- (We get it. You love your fiancée. Now work on your dancing!)
Patti LaBelle and Artem Chigvintsev
Song: "Dan Swit Me" by Patti LaBelle
How they did: It's safe to say that living legend LaBelle has probably had a whole lot of memorable years, but to her, the one that trumps all others is 1973 — because that's when she gave birth to her son. LaBelle revealed that he had asked her to do "more" actual dance moves in her performance this week, so she did, and that decision paid off big time.
"That was out of control," Carrie Ann cheered. "Your legs are fierce!" Len complimented LaBelle on "a cappuccino of a dance: light and fluffy, plenty of giggle, plenty of wiggle, fun and full of rhythm," and Julianne basically lost it and simply screamed, "I love you!" to the iconic singer.
Score: 30 out of 40
Rumer Willis and Valentin Chmerkovskiy
Song: "Turning Tables" by Adele
How they did: Willis took this opportunity to address the press — and her changing response to it. She opened up about what it was like growing up constantly being compared to her gorgeous mother Demi Moore, and constantly falling short. The 26-year-old actress credited her sister Tallulah's battle with drug addiction (which she did not hide from the press) with convincing her to address her bullies head on. There were no bullies here tonight though, as Willis earned nothing but praise.
"Beautiful, powerful and unique. You have an uncanny ability to connect with the character of your dance," Bruno gushed while Julianne praised Willis's stage presence. "When you dance, you're dancing for every girl, so thank you," she mused.
Score: 35 out of 40
Suzanne Somers and Tony Dovolani
Song: Theme song for Three's Company
How they did: The TV icon recalled just how close she was to quitting acting when she got her big break: the role of Chrissy on Three's Company. The 68-year-old fitness guru dedicated her dance to her late co-star John Ritter and the results were as bubbly as the character who made her famous.
"Tonight, I actually feel like you said hello to the competition. You stayed true to your lighthearted nature, but you showed us more depth," Carrie Ann stated while Bruno praised the performance as "sweet and uplifting."
Score: 28 out of 40
Willow Shields and Mark Ballas
Song: "Atlas" by Coldplay
How they did: The most memorable moment in this 14-year-old's life happened when she was cast as Jennifer Lawrence's little sister in The Hunger Games… when she was 10. For this performance, the young actress chose a song from the blockbuster franchise, which may be why she seemed so completely comfortable on the dance floor.
Len described the dance as "fantastic" and Julianne said it was "incredible." Meanwhile, Bruno couldn't contain his excitement. "The capitol is at your feet!" he cheered. "You are now attacking every move with a clear sense of purpose."
Score: 39 out of 40 (with three perfect 10s!)
Noah Galloway and Sharna Burgess
Song: "American Soldier" by Toby Keith
How they did: The most memorable time in this U.S. military vet's life was when he he lost his limbs during his tour of duty and then worked to recover from this loss. Discussing his challenges with alcohol and depression, Galloway recalled the moment he began to turn his life back around. "I quit looking at what I was missing and paid more attention to what I still had left," he explained. "This dance represents the journey of acceptance from the man I was to the man I have become." And what a man that is. The judges were nothing short of floored.
"You are the ultimate role model," Bruno said. "You want a superhero? There it is!" Carrie Ann compared Galloway and Burgess's performance to haiku. "With very few words, you say something very profound," she explained. "I think everyone should stand up here and applaud you," Len suggested as the audience happily stood.
Score: 32 out of 40
Michael Sam and Peta Murgatroyd
Song: "I'm Not My Father's Son" from the Broadway musical Kinky Boots
How they did: Michael Sam's most memorable year was bittersweet: It was the year he became the first openly gay professional football player drafted by the NFL, which earned his praise from much of the public, but cost him his relationship with his father. Though his dance tonight earned nothing but glowing reviews, it wasn't enough to keep Sam and Murgatroyd in the game.
"This was so beautiful," Julianne declared. "You did it. That was awesome." Carrie Ann expanded on Julianne's sentiments. "Dance is so much more than just movement and what makes me so happy is that tonight, you understood why all of us dance. You were truly dancing your soul for us and it was breathtaking."
Score: 30 out of 40
Grade: A++ (even though they're going home)
Dancing With the Stars airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
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