Dancing with the StarsIt is the third week of the competition, and the star athletes and dancers are quickly sprinting to the finish line. I can’t believe the finale is next Monday! The theme of this week was the “Most Valuable Person,” and it was all about giving gratitude. Every season, the MVP week is always one of my favorite weeks, because it’s always great to hear the stories and to acknowledge the people behind the scenes – moms, dads, friends and mentors – who play an important role and serve as a driving force in the lives of those who have come far to become something extraordinary. This week was full of surprise guests (returning athletes and former DWTS contestants), featuring David Ross, a retired Cubs catcher, as a dance judge. First, the dancers were to present their individual dance routines, and, in the second part, they had to compete in a Ballroom Battle, where they were paired up with another couple and had to dance side by side.

Here is the rundown:

  • Mirai and Alan. Mirai dedicated her playful and sassy Quickstep to her mom who made lots of sacrifices, provided the biggest encouragement and support to her daughter, and helped pave the path of Mirai’s success. Her mom understood early on the challenges presented and what it would take for her daughter to achieve her goal to become an amazing ice skater.
  • Jennie and Keo. For Jennie, family is #1, so she dedicated her dance to her husband who is always there for her and by her side. Pretty in pink, she danced a beautiful Waltz with her partner Keo and let herself get lost in the moment of the dance.
  • Chris and Whitney. On Monday of this week being a Mother’s Day, Chris decided to give his mom the biggest surprise of her lifetime by dedicating his Foxtrot to her and letting his mom be part of the dance at the very end of his routine as well. Chris’s mom is a super fan of the show, so she had a blast! And, Chris did a very brave solo intro for his dance.
  • Tonya and Sasha. Tonya dedicated her heartfelt and inspiring Rumba to her dad who is no longer here but will always be remembered by her as her best friend and someone who always gave her true unconditional love.
  • Adam and Jenna. Adam also dedicated his dance to his kind and selfless mom who has always given him the right amount of support and tough love when needed – all to help him succeed. Adam and Jenna’s contemporary routine was breathtaking as they created a masterpiece of a dance and embodied “two birds of paradise.”
  • Josh and Sharna. Josh has finished up an individual dance round with his contemporary routine, showing strength and confidence. His dance was dedicated to his four brothers who are a big part of his life.

For the second round of dance performances, the star dancers were paired up with other competitor couples. But first, they got some tips and team support from special guest coaches – former DWTS contestants – Meryl Davis, Nastia Liukin and Von Miller. It was great for the star dancers to get mentorship from their fellow athletes as they can relate to their challenges and help the competitors translate their athletic background onto the ballroom floor. As Meryl Davis, an American ice dancer, put things into perspective… when it comes to perfectionism, the goal for the champion athletes is not to be the best dancer in the world but to be the best dancer they can be.


by Irina McGuire

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