‘Dancing With the Stars’ Recap: Laurie Hernandez Struggles as James Hinchcliffe Pulls Into First

Everyone loves a good trip down memory lane — especially when it's someone else's road. On the Monday, October 10, episode of Dancing With the Stars, the nine remaining celebs drew inspiration for their performances from their most memorable years. Some memories were happier than others, and some dances were better than others, but overall the night was more about feeling good than fierce competition (though there was some of that too). It's worth noting, however, that the names at the top of the leaderboard this week might surprise you.

James Hinchcliffe and Sharna Burgess Burn Up the Ballroom

James Hinchcliffe's most memorable year was 2015, which is when he suffered the biggest crash of his career. Recounting his near-death experience, James was poised and composed, though his family members were less so. He and Sharna Burgess tore up the dance floor with a sizzling tango celebrating his return to driving (and dancing!), and the judges absolutely loved it.

Bruno Tonioni praised him for being "super sharp," and said the whole routine was "wonderful." For her part, Carrie Ann Inaba called him a "miracle." She beamed as she added, "As far as posture, hold, technique, you are the one to beat."

A close second were Terra Jolé and Sasha Farber, as well as Marilu Henner and Derek Hough. Terra chose 2013 as her most memorable year, which was when she was on tour with Miley Cyrus when her father died. He had always encouraged her passion for an entertainment career, and she and Sasha dedicated their contemporary routine to him. Additionally, Marilu — after a rocky few weeks — had a major comeback when she and Derek did a routine in honor of 1978, the year her mother died and Marilu booked her life-changing role on Taxi. For their routines, both Terra and Marilu earned a whopping 27 points.

Laurie Stumbles Under Pressure

Where is Laurie Hernandez, you ask? The answer is near the bottom of the leaderboard this week, unfortunately. After earning the first perfect score of the season last week, she and partner Val Chmerkovskiy stumbled a bit doing their paso doble. Her most memorable year was 2016, and she recalled all of the sacrifices she made to get to Olympic gold.

In their video package, Laurie was in tears as she felt the weight of the pressure of earning the perfect score last week. Bruno said she was "an irrepressible force of nature," but noted that tonight she "messed up." Carrie Ann was also unimpressed with this particular routine, but Julianne Hough thought it was fantastic, noting, however, that she wanted Laurie and Val to connect more as a couple. After earning a 30 last week, they landed at 25 this week.

Dancing with the Stars
'Dancing With the Stars.' ABC/Eric McCandless

A Pile-Up at the Bottom

Laurie was still safely in the middle of the pack, however, because so many couples (four, in fact!) tied for last place with 24s. Maureen McCormick had her best dance to date, but she was so far behind many of the other dancers that not even her high-water mark could bring the former TV star and Artem Chigvintsev up a notch or two.

Newly engaged Ryan Lochte and his partner Cheryl Burke, as well as Amber Rose and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, also landed at the bottom — though that was hardly a surprise, since they have been two of the lower scoring couples who are left. Calvin Johnson and Lindsay Arnold rounded out the foursome, though, despite earning rave reviews from the judges (before the scores went in).

Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko slid comfortably into the middle with a contemporary routine in honor of 2016. That was the year that Jana gave birth to her daughter. In addition, however, she worked in a story about being in an abusive relationship, saying that her daughter helped her piece herself back together after that experience. Carrie Ann said Jana had "a breakthrough" this week, so it will be interesting to see if she continues her upward trajectory moving forward. At this point, it's really (almost) anyone's Mirrorball.

At the end of the night, Tom Bergeron broke the happy news that no one would be eliminated until next Monday, as the show goes back to airing once a week.

Tell Us: Do you think James and Sharna deserve to be in first?

Dancing With the Stars airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET. 

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