It was a night for tissues on "Dancing with the Stars" on Monday as this season's remaining crop of celebrities hit the ballroom in tribute to the most memorable year of their life, with most leaving the dance floor filled with happy tears.
From Welsh belle Katherine Jenkins remembering her late father in a waltz, to Jack Wagner celebrating finding his long lost daughter in the samba, the night was packed with emotional moments celebrating the stars' families, their lost ones and career highlights.
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Once again, though, the night belonged to classical singer Katherine. The beauty crafted an engaging and graceful waltz to Josh Groban's "To Where You Are," in memory of the father she lost in 1996 to cancer (she was just 15 at the time).
Her performance, with professional partner Mark Ballas, left her in happy tears and as cameras panned across the ballroom, they caught Melissa Gilbert, pro Peta Murgatroyd and the always-emotional judge Carrie Ann Inaba also with watering eyes.
"Your dad is definitely smiling down upon [you]," Carrie Ann said, through her heavy emotions, and as the pair earned a near perfect 29 out of 30 (a score made up of the first 10s of the season – from Carrie Ann and Bruno Tonioli, combined with a 9 from Len Goodman).
"That was magic, and it was almost like you had two partners," Carrie Ann continued. "I could feel you dancing with Mark, beautifully and effortlessly, and it's like your father's arms were around you, wrapping you throughout he dance. It was just an amazing moment."
It was an emotional night too for former "Family Matters" star Jaleel White, who went into Monday's competition, just hours after a news story broke via Us Weekly, that he and partner Kym Johnson had a heated exchange after he stepped on her foot in a rehearsal last Friday.
According to the report, which an Access Hollywood source later confirmed as well, Mark Ballas stepped in to defend Kym and the "DWTS" production team got involved too, to cool the situation down.
And so it made sense that Jaleel was noticeably emotional after his rumba with Kym, which was inspired by the first year he started playing Steve Urkel's alter ego, Stefan, on "Family Matters."
"I can't even begin to express how personal it was," he told show co-host Brooke Burke backstage as the pair earned 25 out of 30. "I got all my boys here… Kym's been strong for me all week, and it was just — any time I touch that stuff — that's my Mickey Mouse. Stefan Urquelle and Steve Urkel are my Mickey Mouse."
Jaleel – without acknowledging the report — then appeared to break down, as he put his fingers to his eyes.
Asked what was going on by Brooke, Jaleel said, "I love entertaining people. And I've done it since I was 3, and I just wanted to just complete this week."
There were tears too for Maria Menounos, who recalled working with her Greek-immigrant parents in 1988 in Boston clubs as a youngster. Sherri Shepherd cried after dancing a number inspired by the birth of her son, Jeffrey, who was born premature in 2005. Gavin DeGraw welled up after sharing his tale of moving to New York and explaining how his dad pitched gigs for him door-to-door in 1998, and Jack Wagner got emotional dancing with the inspiration of finding his long lost daughter, Kerry, last year (she was given up for adoption by her birth mother years ago).
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But not everyone was full of tears. William Levy brought the smiles and pure joy, as he celebrated — through dance — 1995, the year he came to the U.S.
Revealing his famed six-pack, the hunk once again brought the ballroom to its knees with a very steamy number alongside partner Cheryl Burke.
"You put a whole new meaning into 'Free Willy.' I'm telling you — that was loose, it was oily," Len raved, as the pair took second place for the night and 28 out of 30 (including a 10 from Bruno). "Back in 1066, we had a King, William the Conquerer. You conquered the salsa!"
The full leaderboard for April 2 was:
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas performed a waltz and earned a near perfect 29/30
William Levy and Cheryl Burke tackled the salsa and earned 28/30
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough tackled the rumba and were scored 27/30
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd tackled the rumba and earned 26/30
Jaleel White and Kym Johnson performed the rumba and earned 25/30
Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower performed a samba and were scored 25/30
Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy took on the jive and earned 24/30
Sherri Shepherd and Val Chmerkvoskiy took on the rumba and were scored 24/30
Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff took on the rumba and earned 24/30
Gladys Knight and Tristan MacManus performed the foxtrot and earned 24/30
Jack Wagner and Anna Trebunskaya performed the samba and earned 24/30
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