Dancing With the Stars began with a live performance by Aloe Blacc of his Avicci-produced hit “Wake Me Up." Then the celebrities had to take to the dance floor with performances inspired by the most memorable year of their lives to date. Tom Bergeron, casting a shadow over the night’s routines, also informed everyone that the contestant going home would be one of the female stars.

First up is Christina Milian and Mark Ballas who dance a Cha Cha to CeeLo Green’s “Forget You” in honor of 2010 – the year that she was divorced by The-Dream weeks before she gave birth to their daughter. It was easily Christina’s best dance of the season, as it was clear she enjoyed hitting her feisty dance moves. Both Carrie Anna Inaba and Bruno Tonioli give the routine a 9, and Len Goodman gives them a 10 – the first 10 of the season.

Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke were the next two on the dance floor. Jack picks last year when his daughter was born, and was diagnosed with M.S. just two weeks later. In honor of his wife and daughter, Jack dances a Waltz. His footwork is nearly flawless, but the judges take issue with his hand movements throughout the dance. The duo gets straight 9s from the judges.


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Leah Remini also picks last year to inspire the dance – the year that she broke from the Church of Scientology. Tony Dovoloni, who has no experience with contemporary dance, had to create a contemporary routine. Leah comes up with a puppeteer theme set to Katy Perry’s “Roar,” which works, but Tony’s lack of contemporary experience hurt the choreography and Remini’s scores. Len and Carrie Ann give them 7s, and Bruno gives them an 8.

Dancing for the year 2011 when his sister was diagnosed with scoliosis is Corbin Bleu with his pro partner Karina Smirnoff. The pair dance a Foxtrot that Carrie Ann and Len love, but believe included an illegal lift. The two naysayers gave them 9s, while Bruno scored them a perfect 10.

Bill Engvall’s most memorable year was the year he got married – 1982 – which enables Dancing With the Stars' producers to provide a slideshow of the comedian and his wife in their 80s bests. Dancing the Viennese Waltz to Billy Joel’s “Always a Woman” with Emma Slater, Engvall once again completely charms the judges. He’s criticized for his swinging arm movements and scored straight 8s.

Choosing 2012, the year she turned her life around after having a baby was Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi. With partner Sasha Farber, the former Jersey Shore castmate dances an energetic jazz routine to Britney Spears hit “Work B—ch.” The judges all score them a 9.

Brant Daugherty’s contemporary dance is inspired by the death of his supportive father in 2009 of lymphoma. Brant and Peta Murgatroyd have a natural chemistry that enables the emotion of the dance to come to through and truly affect the judges. Surprisingly, none of the judges whip out a 10, and they get all 9s.

Next up was Amber Riley, who revealed that her most memorable year was 2009, when after getting rejected for American Idol, landed the role of Mercedes on Glee. Derek Hough choreographed a modern spin on the classic foxtrot, which divided the judges. Carrie Ann gave them a 9, Len an undeserving 7 and Bruno a 10.

Finally, was Elizabeth Berkley aka Jesse Spano performing a jive inspired by both the year her daughter was born (2012) and the decade that made her famous (90s). The routine with Val Chmerkovskiy, performed to “I’m So Excited,” started off in a set made to look like her famous Saved By the Bell caffeine pill breakdown scene and continued on to the dance floor with memorable 90s moves – from Footloose to Flashdance. Carrie Ann gave them an 8, while Len and Bruno gave them 9s.

In jeopardy of elimination were Christina and Mark, Elizabeth and Val and Leah and Tony. Elizabeth and Val are the first to be told they’re safe, leaving Leah and Christina – the lowest and highest scoring stars of the night. In a shocking announcement, Christina finds out she’s going home and struggles to hide her surprise. Leah, meanwhile, looks on uncomfortably as Christina diplomatically says that at least she’s going out on a high note.

Dancing With the Stars airs Mondays on ABC at 8/7c.

– Chelsea Regan

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