Tonight's theme is each dancer's most memorable year ever, which is really code for pandering for the voters' sympathy and, if possible, making us cry. This may be maudlin and manipulative but it should be interesting, given that some of the stars on the show have had very, very bad years. But we'll just have to see what they pick. 

 
Rob and Cheryl
Rob was devastated when his father died, as he was only 15. And this segment is very sad -- until he says he was surrounded by women after that. Um, his mom remarried before Robert Kardashian died, so is Bruce Jenner just chopped liver as a stepdad? Not a nice oversight there. 
 
However, the dance is quite good. Rob does seem to be trying to show more of his happy-go-lucky personality, which is quite a bit more than his sister Kim ever did. Cheryl is pretty canny in giving him choreography that's challenging but never more than he can handle. 
 
Len thinks he put the dash in Kardashan. Bruno was reminded of "Guys and Dolls." Carrie Ann thinks he improves every week. 
 
Carrie Ann - 8 Len - 8 Bruno - 8
 
Chynna and Tony
Chynna picked 1990, which was when her song with WIlson Phillips, "Hold On," became a hit. It was also the year she met her husband. But wait! It's not just a happy year. The song was written when she was a teenager drinking too much and feeling abandoned by her dad. I'm glad she didn't pick the year when her half-sister accused her dad of incest, but maybe some memories are better left off "Dancing with the Stars."
 
"Hold On" is a lovely song, but it doesn't exactly scream rumba. That being said, Chynna does a great job. She has excellent lines, she's clearly putting her heart into the dance and she just looks like a pro. I think Chynna is a shoe-in for the finals. 
 
Bruno says she's a smoldering siren. Carrie Ann says she's stunning to watch. Len says she'll be on the show for weeks and weeks if she keeps dancing like that.
 
Carrie Ann - 8 Len - 9 Bruno - 9 
First nines of the season. Whoot!
 
Chaz and Lacey
Chaz decides that this year was his best ever. He doesn't get into a lot of detail as to why that might be, but hopefully everyone can figure it out. I can see where this might have been a dicey situation -- he's thrilled to be a man, but maybe he doesn't want to remind conservative audience members that he wasn't always a guy. But, to his credit, though he's performing to his father Sonny Bono's song, he doesn't go for the sympathy vote by noting his dad is dead (thought I'm sure most people know that already). 
 
And, oh well, it's another Ewok performance. 
 
Carrie Ann is so impressed by his courage in just showing up. But she thinks he looked distracted. But he's an inspiration! Len thinks it was his best dance. Bruno thinks he looked lost but it's a difficult dance. The judges really, really like Chaz, which is great, but it's a little condescending to soften the blow to this degree. 
 
Carrie Ann - 6 Len - 6 Bruno - 6
 
Kristin and Mark
She graduated high school in 2005 and it was an exciting time for her. Yeah, doesn't really compare to dead dads, alcoholism and a sex change. They'll be samba-ing to "Crazy in Love." 
 
Len says the Beyonce stuff isn't his cup of tea, but the other 80 percent of the dance was fabulous. Bruno said it was crazy in lust. Carrie Ann thinks she did pretty darn good. Oh, Carrie Ann, it's pretty darn well. Sigh.
 
Carrie Ann - 8 Len - 8 Bruno - 8 
 
Carson and Anna
His favorite year was 2003, when "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" came out. But wait, no gloating! It was hard to grow up gay and to feel like an outsider, so the show helped him feel good about who he was. Unfortunately, he says he'll be dancing to "It's My Life" by No Doubt, but No Doubt covered the song. I guess it's the No Doubt version because they put a female vocalist on it. Argh. Talk Talk, it's Talk Talk!
 
Len's right -- he is fun to watch. The weird thing is, I think this wasn't bad. In fact, I think it looked pretty good. I'm not even sure if we can say he's one of the worst dancers. Fun and good!
 
Bruno thought it was insanely brilliant. Carrie Ann loves Carson just the way he is because he brought fun and lots of other things along with nice technique. Len doesn't want a kiss, but thinks Carson put the boy in flamboyant. He felt he attacked the dance and (gasp) he enjoyed it very much. 
 
Carrie Ann - 8 Len - 7 Bruno - 8
 
J.R. and Karina
 His most memorable year was the year he was injured in Iraq. Hands down, saddest and most inspiring memorable year. They'll be dancing the rumba as a tribute to all the soldiers who don't come home. I think some people in the audience are already crying and the routine hasn't started yet.
 
Beautiful, beautiful dance. But really, even if he just stood there, I'd still want to vote for him. He gets a long, long standing ovation. This guy's amazing.
 
Carrie Ann starts crying. She thanks him because it was one of the most profound, honest dances she's ever seen on the show. Len thinks he dances to a standard that is totally unexpected. But he thinks his arms could have been more musical. Bruno thinks he dances from his heart and he extended his line through the foot. 
 
Carrie Ann - 9 Len - 8 Bruno - 9
 
Nancy and Tristan
Nancy picks "Moon River" because it was the first lullaby she sang the twins. She almost died having the twins and she didn't know if one of the twins, Lucy, would survive. She wants the twins to see Mommy doing something beautiful that's just for them. Okay, this is a sad story, too, but it's a shame she has to follow J.R. 
 
I hate to say it, but she dances like she's going to break a hip. 
 
Len thinks Nancy needs to work on her posture but she showed emotion. Bruno thought it was soft and dreamy. Carrie Ann was transported and said it felt like a live action lullaby. 
 
Carrie Ann - 7 Len - 7 Bruno - 7
 
Ricki and Derek
Her most memorable year was last year. She was getting a divorce, her house burned down and she met a new guy.  Yup, that's a memorable year.
 
This is pretty gorgeous, and so much emotion. Ricki Lake is emerging as an actual competitor. 
 
Bruno thought every step was as expressive as a word in a poem. Carrie Ann declares Ricki is on fire. Len thought it was a great routine, well danced.
 
Carrie Ann - 9 Len - 9 Bruno - 9
 
Hope and Maks
She picks 2011 because she got to the World Cup. She learned that winning isn't everything. Maks wants her to try to be sexy.
 
This is pretty good for Hope. She stomps around a bit, but she's at least trying to smolder and seems to be having fun.
 
Carrie Ann says Hope is a strong dancer and she thought it was hot, but she has to work on her walk. Len thought it was a little provocative for him but thought the cha cha cha was very good. Bruno thinks the sexy minx is out of the cage.
 
Carrie Ann - 8 Len - 8 Bruno - 8
 
David and Kym
His most memorable year was last year, when his marriage fell apart and he escaped into alcohol. Wow, this is an honest, gritty choice. This dance is for and all about his daughter. And he actually seems to mean it. 
 
I love that Courteney and Coco are in the audience every single week. Anyway, this is so much better than last week. It's not crazy at all, and it seems like he's got his movements under control. Maybe being in the bottom two helped him focus. 
 
Len thought he did a great job. Bruno thought it was sensitive, vulnerable and romantic. Carrie Ann thought he brought pure and raw emotion. 
 
Carrie Ann - 8 Len - 8 Bruno - 8
 
At the top we have Ricki and Derek and at the bottom are Chaz and Lacey. I hate to say it, but I think Chaz may get the boot tomorrow night -- after all, how long can an Ewok last on "Dancing with the Stars"? I'm still not sure I'd say Ricki's performance was the best of the night -- she was better than J.R.? Well, the voters will be the real judges of that tonight. 
 
Do you think Ricki was the strongest star of the night? Do you think Chaz's time is up? And do you vote for your favorite star -- or for your favorite dance pro?