The latest episode of “Dancing With the Stars” included the return of a theme in which contestants base their routines on the most memorable year of their lives, and reviewers called the evening “poignant” and “heartfelt.”
Contestant James Hinchcliffe, who is a race car driver, and his partner, Sharna Burgess, received the highest score of the night, getting a score of 29 out of 30 after dancing a tango. Mr. Hinchcliffe said he based his routine on his recovery from a car accident in 2015.
Hinchcliffe and Ms. Burgess were followed by actress Terra Jolé and dancer Sasha Farber, who performed a contemporary routine, and “Taxi” actress Marilu Henner and dancer Derek Hough, who performed a Viennese waltz. Both pairs received a score of 27 out of 30.
Some reviewers felt that this episode was memorable for highlighting inspiring stories, with USA Today critic Erin Jensen called the the episode “incredibly moving and heartfelt” and TVLine writer Rebecca Iannucci writing that Ms. Jolé’s performance, which was based on the loss of her father, was “a deeply poignant number that perfectly capped the emotional evening … their performance was far more meaningful than a number on a paddle.”
Meanwhile, Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez and dancer Valentin Chmerkovskiy received a score of 25 out of 30 after performing a paso doblé. “The Brady Bunch” actress Maureen McCormick and dancer Artem Chigvintsev, Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte and dancer Cheryl Burke, actress Amber Rose and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, and football player Calvin Johnson Jr. and dancer Lindsay Arnold all received a score of 24 out of 30 after performing a foxtrot, a contemporary routine, a samba, and a jazz routine, respectively.
Other stories that were told on the most recent episode of “Dancing” included that of Ms. Hernandez, who shared her struggles to reach the Olympics, as well as Ms. Kramer, who shared how she left an abusive relationship.
In line with the positive tone of the evening, all contestants proceeded to the next week rather than a pair leaving the show.