'Dancing with the Stars' recap: Week 3 performances

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William Levy and Cheryl Burke earned a rare 10 Monday evening.

Week 3 and tonight's the first night I'll lament not hearing the announcer say "Navratilova" in that special way. And as if that's not sad-making enough, it's "their most memorable year" night. Hope your heartstrings are screwed in tight because they're going to be repeatedly tugged.

Jack Wagner & Anna Trebunskaya
Jack is glad to be back after some disappointing scores last week. His most memorable year is last year (2011) and he gets choked up before he even starts to tell the story. Last year he was about to go onstage for a concert and a young girl came running up to him, grabbed him, and announced she was his daughter. Now we see the daughter in an interview, but neither one of them are explaining exactly why she was so "long-lost." They're dancing the samba to Jack's own "Light Up the Night," and Jack starts out atop the judges' table with a guitar. Oh, dear -- that's gotta be a top 10 most awkward pelvic thrust on this show. And I've watched every season.  I'm not sure it's great technically, but I'm giving Jack an A+ for effort and sportsmanship. He runs over to hug the long-lost daughter before judging. Len liked the rhythm but said the upper body was awkward. He compliments Anna on the choreography. Bruno also compliments his rhythm and likes his timing as well. Carrie Ann was crying during the interview package and says she wants to see more of Jack with the improvement in his dancing. And now Jack's crying while talking to Brooke Burke-Charvet.
: Carrie Ann:  8  Len:  8   Bruno: 8

I'm dubious about the high scores so early in this season. We're only on Week 3; will we have to get special Nigel Tufnel paddles before the finals?  

They preview clips from later in the show and OMG YOU GUYS, Gavin is NOT WEARING A HAT. And now it all makes sense - those mushrooms growing out of the top of his head are SERIOUSLY distracting.

Maria Menounos & Derek Hough

In the recap of last week, Maria and Derek have a backstage high-five failure. It's amusing. Despite myself, I'm kind of liking the almost brother/sister vibe these two have going on. Maria's most memorable year is 1988, when she was 10 years old. She says her parents were immigrants from Greece, working as janitors at Boston bars to support the family. Maria's dress during the interview part of the clip segment is SUPERCUTE. Maria explains that without money for babysitters, her parents would take the kids to work with them, and when she found change on the floor, she'd play Madonna's "Material Girl" on the jukebox. So now it's going to be a rumba, which must mean they're totally changing up the original tempo of the song.  Oh, wow, they really are -- this is way more musically adventurous than the DWTS band usually gets.  I'm kind of liking it. This is a sexy, sexy rumba, even if it's your typical slinky-slinky-pose-pose dance they do for rumbas. Bruno says he "felt it." And when Derek says "I did, too," Bruno responds with "I bet you did, you naughty boy." Bruno explains they danced the whole song to only the melodic line, that there was no rhythm in the song, and to dance to a song like that is incredibly difficult. When Bruno is impressed and quiet like this it's a major compliment. Len throws out the word "smoldering" and praises the technique.
: Carrie Ann: 9  Len: 9  Bruno: 9

Gladys Knight & Tristan MacManus
Gladys says she doesn't mind Len's "constructive criticism" because that's how she learns. Gladys says that 1957 was her most memorable year, when she toured and met Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson and James Brown. She was only 13! Whoa - did we know Tristan had all this ink on her arms? I never noticed it before and it's quite a large piece. They're dancing a foxtrot to "Cupid," as made famous by Sam Cooke. This song is so swoon-worthy and it's a great fit for Gladys. Tristan has apparently borrowed your great-grandfather's golf shoes for this dance. Gladys smile lights up the stage, but this is more "your sweet grandmother dancing at a wedding" than some of the more professional looking dances/dancers we've already seen this season from other stars. Len points out that he and Gladys are the same age, and admires Gladys for her hard work and dedication and says her frame is improving. And then he asks if he can be a Pip! The camera catches Tristan looking straight into the camera and winking. I'm not going to lie to you: That was totally meant for me.
: Carrie Ann:  8 Len: 8   Bruno: 8
Y'all, I love Gladys Knight as much as the next music fan, but I'm not sure she deserved the same score as Jack Wagner for that routine.

Roshon Fegan & Chelsie Hightower
Roshon says they're dancing a samba to a Jackson Five song, because "MJ is [his] hero." His most memorable year is 1996 because that was the first year he saw Michael Jackson perform live. Chelsie brought in Jackson's choreographer Travis Payne. Oh, dear -- they're practicing the MJ crotch grab. I'm so uncomfortable right now. Roshon's wigged out Afro-style for "I Want You Back." The disco balls are so plentiful and persistent that I'm having a hard time actually seeing the dance. They're mixing in a lot of not-really-samba moves here; wonder if Len will ding them. HA! Len says he likes the Michael Jackson moves but would've liked to have seen "just a little bit more traditional samba." Never change, Len.
: Carrie Ann: 8  Len: 8   Bruno: 9
So, really, only one point better than SloMo Gladys.

Gavin DeGraw & Karina Smirnoff
Gavin's chosen Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind" for their rumba because a Billy Joel concert inspired him to be a musician. Gavin moved to New York in 1998 to start his career and he gets a little emotional talking about how supportive his family was.  The hat is off! A whole family of sparrows has had to relocate!  OK, the hat's back on for the performance, which Gavin starts at the piano, miming playing the intro. Something about the cut of the line around the bottom of Karina's body suit is giving it a rather unfortunate "diaper cover" feel. Aw, Gavin's family is in the audience and looks fit to burst with pride. Bruno likes Gavin's hip action but tells him to work on his turns. Carrie Ann's heart is racing because it's gone all fluttery for Gavin. She says he has an "authentic attention to detail." She's got "Gavin Fever!" Len says that the slow dance shows every detail and he saw good hips, musicality and no problem with the turns. He adds that Gavin's showing great progression as a dancer. Gavin starts to cry when Brooke asks him about his family being there tonight.
: Carrie Ann: 8  Len: 8   Bruno: 8
"8" is the new "7" this year.

Katherine Jenkins & Mark Ballas
Katherine's most memorable year was 1996, when her dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. She was 15 and was pulled out of class to by her aunt when he unexpectedly slipped into a coma. She felt she never got to say a proper goodbye. Now this is worth crying about.  They're waltzing to "To Where You Are" by Josh Groban. I wish there was a way to de-smarm Mark -- I'd like Katherine so much better if she was dancing with anybody, anybody else. Beautifully danced, if overwrought. They cut away to the dancers crow's nest and you can see Peta wiping her eyes. And now Carrie Ann's crying, which is setting off Katherine. Bless Len's heart for holding it together AND for dinging Mark's choreography for not having enough traditional "in-hold" waltz moves. SEE! It's like I said in the season preview -- Mark's always the biggest liability to any star he partners with, mainly because of his choreography.
: Carrie Ann: 10  Len: 9  Bruno: 10
First 10s of the season. They really, really, really want Katherine to stick around.

Sherri Shepherd & Val Chmerkovskiy
Sherri's most memorable moment was when her son Jeffrey was born extremely prematurely, with a lot of complications predicted for his health. But the worst of them were unfounded and he looks like a happy, healthy boy now and comes to visit his mom during rehearsals. They're doing the rumba to something that starts with a heartbeat sound. Why, why, why did Sherri let the costume department talk her into this dress? It's your grandma's bathing suit from 1959, with a chiffon scarf tacked on. This song is the worst of everything I hate about the rumba. Slow, boring, pose-y. Blah. But dang, her kid's got the cutest smile. Len appreciates the emotion of the dance and thought she did a great job. Bruno says "Mama can move!" Carrie Ann says her lines tonight were the best she's seen. They cut to Damon Wayans Jr. and Elisha Cuthbert from "Happy Endings" in the audience.  Damon looks like I feel about Sherri. If I wasn't already a huge fan of his, I'd be one now.
: Carrie Ann: 8 Len: 8  Bruno: 8
Now Sherri's crying.  Prediction: anybody that doesn't cry tonight? Goes home tomorrow. Them's the rules of the ballroom.

Melissa Gilbert & Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Melissa says in 2010 she was touring in a "Little House on the Prairie" musical and fell and broke her back. After surgery, she was walking with a walker. I hope she had little tennis balls on the bottom. They're dancing the jive to Florence + the Machine's "Dog Days Are Over." Whoo boy, I'm surprised this song didn't get held for one of those weird paso dobles they like to do on this show.  I'm no expert, but this start looks more samba-ey than jive-y.  Eesh -- the side-by-side jive kick move is not good.  Melissa looks so awkward through most of this. And her big move at the end is to pull out her ponytail holder and whip her hair around? Is this my middle school dance? What? Bruno liked the opening sequence, but mentions the side-b- side problems. Len says she's "come into the competition."
: Carrie Ann: 8  Len: 8   Bruno:  8

Jaleel White & Kym Johnson
Jaleel's most memorable year was when he played Stefan, Urkel's alter-ego, on "Family Matters."  He says after he played Stefan, people on the street started treating him differently. Oh joy -- it's another rumba. But I like this one because it's clearly got more of a sense of humor about itself than a lot of the others. Something's just a little off with Jaleel's dancing but I can't articulate it - dare I hope the judges will do so? Their final pose, with Kym basically doing a split UP HIS BODY is future evidence in my "Why straight men should watch this show" argument. Again, Gregory Hines gets invoked, this time by Carrie Ann. Len says Jaleel is getting the rhythm section (his lower body) right, but that the melody (upper body) could use some work. Bruno says there was more fluidity needed in the upper body. Thanks, judges!  Jaleel's having a breakdown talking to Brooke -- he's in it to win it!
: Carrie Ann: 9  Len: 8  Bruno: 8

William Levy & Cheryl Burke
1995 is William's most memorable year because it's when he immigrated here from Cuba. He talks about growing up poor and how his stepfather, a political prisoner, was granted asylum in the U.S. So, in a roundabout way, we have Fidel Castro to thank for this hunky hunk of a hunk being here now. Thanks, Communism! It's salsa time, with William starting out on a bonga. (Big ups to my Facebook friend Lesley G. for letting me know the song, also her ringtone, is "La Vida Es Un Carnaval," made famous by Celia Cruz.) Cheryl is no dummy and has his shirt popped open within seconds of the song starting. They just accomplished some complicated-looking choreography in the middle there. Whether or not it was actually hard, the fact that it LOOKED difficult (and well-executed) will go over well with home voters. Len makes a "Free Willy" joke that was icky. Then he makes a William the Conqueror joke, you know, to stay current with the kids. Bruno is struck dumb by the male beauty. William gets a measure of respect from me when he rebuttons his shirt on the way up the steps.
: Carrie Ann: 9 Len: 9  Bruno: 10

Donald Driver & Peta Murgatroyd
What has Donald done to his finger? Eep. Donald' most memorable year was 2010 when his best friend died in his arms. And now Donald's crying. He's chosen Mariah Carey's "One Sweet Day" because of its lyrics about "shining down from heaven." Of course it's a rumba. He starts out sitting on the steps cradling Peta in his arms and stands up holding her. I know she probably weighs next to nothing but I'm still impressed. Now, where every other female dancing the rumba tonight has had on too little fabric, Peta has too much. It's a king-size sheet on a twin-size bed. There's so much fog on the dance floor you can forget judging the footwork in any way.  Len tries to use the word "awesome" and it's awkward and charming all at once. Brooke's job tonight is "MAKE THEM HAVE A BREAKDOWN" -- she's like the most mercenary therapist ever.
: Carrie Ann:  9 Len: 8  Bruno: 9