'Dancing with the Stars' recap: Selma Blair withdraws due to health, 12 couples share "Most Memorable Year" stories
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 10/18/2022
Dancing with the Stars featured Selma Blair withdrawing from the Season 31 competition due to the damaging physical stress on her body as a sufferer of multiple sclerosis during Monday night's performance show, which featured 12 couples dancing and sharing very personal stories, on Disney+.
Dancing with the Starskicked off its "Stars' Story Week: Most Memorable Year" two-night event with the 12 remaining celebrities and their professional partners taking the stage with dances inspired by the most memorable year of their lives.
Since Selma had to leave the competition, no one was eliminated at the end of the night.
"But all of the judges' scores and [viewer] votes from tonight will be combined with the judges' scores and votes in [Tuesday] night's show to determine who goes home tomorrow," Dancing with the Stars host Tyra Banks announced.
Selma danced in honor of the year 2018, when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Selma explained how she was sick for so many years and finally received a diagnosis that provided her the answers she had been searching for. It was the beginning of her recovery as a person.
In rehearsal footage that aired during the show, Selma told Sasha how her MRIs came back and doctors did not clear her to continue competing on Dancing with the Stars. She said she had pushed as far as she could with a chronic illness.
"It's way too much for the safety of my bones. There is intensive bone trauma and inflammation, among rips and tears. So I could do extensive damage that, of course, I do not want... I have to settle in and get back to being a mom," Selma explained.
Sasha called Selma his "champion," and the iconic movie star said she loved dancing but there's power in realizing when to walk away.
After Selma and Sasha performed their waltz, Len said while the other contestants have climbed hills on this show, Selma climbed mountains. And Bruno said Selma's star has never shown brighter, with Carrie Ann adding how she's been a miracle and blessing on the show.
"I came into the competition right before we started, and I had really been on almost bed rest, except for getting on my horse, for like 10 years," Selma told the audience.
"So I definitely was so excited to get into being so active and learning something and having those recital dreams that I had as a little girl. But it's a lot on your body, and it's so hard for me to take care because I want to [continue]."
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Sasha said he had a very tough year, including the loss of a loved one -- and a breakup with wife Emma Slater that he didn't mention -- and Selma inspired him and turned things around for him.
TikTok and The D'Amelio Show star Charli D'Amelio and pro partner Mark Ballas finished the night in second place on the judges' leaderboard with 39 points.
Charli and Mark danced a contemporary routine paying tribute to 2022, when Charli said her anxiety no longer controlled her. She had struggled with anxiety and apparently reached her breaking point with social media. Charli explained how it was hard to have so many people look up to her, and so she sought therapy.
Gabby and Artem danced a foxtrot in honor of 2020, when Gabby had served as an ICU nurse during the coronavirus pandemic. Gabby said it was terrifying and she had seen a lot of death and isolation -- but she made sure none of her patients died alone. It taught her how to be patient and resilient.
Carrie Ann said Gabby was "stunning" and "dazzling" on the dance floor but she wants Gabby to let go even more. Derek thought it was gorgeous, and he complimented her effortless turns.
Heidi, who also stars on The D'Amelio Show, and Artem took the stage with a rumba routine that paid tribute to 1997, when Heidi had moved from a small town in Louisiana to New York City to try to make it in the modeling industry. She left her family and embarked on a "terrifying" journey.
Derek thought the dance was clean and beautiful but he said he wants to see a little more emotion from her in the future. Bruno said the routine was seductive and sophisticated, and he said her leg placement was spot on.
Fitness model and actor Joseph Baena and pro partner Daniella Karagach tied for sixth place on the judges' leaderboard with CODA actor Daniel Durant and pro partner Britt Stewart. Both couples received 34 judges' points.
Joseph and Daniella performed a rumba paying tribute to 2022. This year, Joseph said he decided he should listen to himself, not the outside noise, and try to separate himself as an actor from the expectations of becoming his father as a film action hero.
"That was one of the best rumbas by a male I've ever seen on this show. It was stunning!" Carrie Ann gushed, adding, "You have been listening and you have been learning, and it's paying off!"
Daniel and Britt Stewart took the stage with a contemporary dance in memory of 2019, when Daniel started shooting CODA and eventually went to the Oscars.
Derek thought it was an incredibly moving performance, and Len said the dance was quiet and understated. Len thought it was well done, although the lifts could've been a little cleaner.
Eighth place on the judges' leaderboard went to singer and former American Idol winner Jordin Sparks and pro partner Brandon Armstrong at 33 points.
Jordin and Brandon danced a salsa in honor of 2017 because that's when Jordin had met her husband, Dana Isaiah, whom she said is thoughtful and supportive. Before their meeting, Jordin recalled feeling emotionally scarred from things that had happened the previous year.
Bruno called the routine "spicy" and said Jordin made the salsa look easy and spontaneous, and Carrie Ann told her to work on her arm that's not in use during movement. Jordin was praised, however, for her great hip action.
Ninth place on the leaderboard represented a tie amongst three celebrities at 32 points: TV star and model Trevor Donovan, drag queen and former RuPaul's Drag Race contestant Shangela Wadley, and former Jersey Shore star Vinny Guadagnino.
Trevor and pro partner Emma Slater danced a jazz routine that paid tribute to 2009, when Trevor was a struggling actor who booked a three-year contract with Days of Our Lives but then he'd panic on-camera and got fired. Trevor eventually got booked on 90210 and was given a second chance.
Len said the performance was Trevor's best dance yet, and Carrie Ann said he hit every line and every contraction with great movements.
Shangela and pro partner Gleb Savchenko performed a foxtrot routine that paid tribute to 2013, when Shangela had injured himself onstage and broke his leg.
Doctors apparently told Shangela that he may never dance again and needed surgery, and his mother was there for him during the darkest time of his life. Shangela then put his all into physical therapy and was back on tour within four months.
Derek said the dance was beautiful but Shangela needs to watch his frame, and Bruno said the dance was lyrical and he delivered it in a kind, soft and natural way.
Vinny and pro partner Koko Iwasaki took the stage with a jazz dance in memory of 2009, when his whole life changed because Jersey Shore aired. Vinny said he was delivering pizza while Jersey Shore was airing and the show transformed his career and gave him financial stability.
The judges agreed Vinny's dance was joyful and he certainly started the party. It was a simple, clean and effective dance that showed off his personality, according to Bruno.
And finally, country star and former Eric & Jessie: Game On star Jessie James Decker and pro partner Alan Bersten landed in twelfth -- and last -- place on the leaderboard.
Jessie and Alan danced a 29-point worthy tango that was in honor of 2014, when Jessie became a mother for the first time and realized that she was born to be one.
While the first half of the dance was a little shaky, Carrie Ann said Jessie really stepped into the game that is ballroom dance and she's such a strong dancer. And Len said the tango was "sharp" and "had attack" and "determination."