Get out your hankies.
It was "Most Memorable Year" week on Dancing With the Stars, and just reading about it will probably make you weep. The waterworks were turned on at full force during most of Monday's performance show, as celebs told sad tales with the hopes of earning high scores from judges Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli.
Here's how it went:
Katherine Jenkins' year: 1996. That's when she found out her dad had lung cancer. She was 15 and was pulled out of school and told her dad had gone into a coma. Sobbing, she recalled, "It happened so quickly." Her dramatic waltz with USA TODAY blogger Mark Ballas was dedicated to her dad. She was crying when their waltz ended. A weeping Carrie Ann said it was "magic." Len cited her "elegance" but chided Mark for "not enough dancing in ballroom hold." Bruno declared it "sensational!" Scores: 10, 9, 10 = 29 (The first 10s of the season!).
William Levy's year: 1995, when the "Latin Brad Pitt" came from Cuba to the U.S. His stepfather was a political prisoner and the U.S. gave him political asylum, so he and his family moved here. His salsa was dedicated to the past in Cuba and his "future in America." He danced a sexy, fast salsa with his shirt open and only one small misstep. "You put a whole new meaning into free Willy," said Len. Bruno yelled, "That was amazing!" Carrie Ann said it was "ridiculously hot." Scores: 9, 9, 10 = 28
Maria Menounos' year: 1988. She was 10 years old. Her parents, Greek immigrants, were janitors cleaning nightclubs in Boston and took Maria along so they wouldn't have to pay a babysitter, said Menounos, starting to cry, and recalling how hard her parents worked. Her rumba to a slowed-down Material Girl with pro Derek Hough was oozing with sensuality. At one point, Maria and Derek were horizontal on the ballroom floor. Did they kiss? They sure came close! After the dance, Bruno praised Maria. Carrie Ann called her an "exquisite dancer." And Len said it was "a mix of the ballroom with a touch of the bedroom," and liked her technique. Scores: 9, 9, 9 = 27
Donald Driver's most memorable year was 2010, when his best friend died from cancer. "I can never get it out of my mind because he died in my arms," said Driver, welling up. His sexy rumba, he hoped, "would tell the story" of devotion and love. He opened the dance by carrying pro partner Peta Murgatroyd before setting her down to dance their sultry and dramatic dance. Carrie Ann was "truly touched," even though she had a few quibbles with lifts and a turned-in toe. Len thought it was "top notch," even though it was "a little hectic here and there." Bruno praised him, saying he was "always in control." Scores: 9, 8, 9 = 26
Jaleel White's year? The year he played Stefan Urquelle, his cooler alter ego to Urkel on Family Matters, which "introduced a new side of myself to me." He hoped his rumba would show he's back in "rare form." There was no sign of the story that erupted at UsMagazine.com a short time before the show that he had a "seriously bad rehearsal session with pro partner Kym Johnson on Friday -- leading to a 'heated' confrontation in which Mark Ballas and show producers eventually intervened." Instead, wearing a white suit, Jaleel looked smooth and happy to be twirling Kym around the floor. Carrie Ann said, "That was good. You are back in the game." Len said he was "a little stiff in the arms." Bruno said he was "cool" and "smooth," but agreed with the arm movements not being smooth enough. Weeping after the dance, he told Brooke Burke-Charvet, "Kym's been strong for me all week," and he cried, saying, "I love entertaining people. I've been doing it since I was three." Scores: 9, 8, 8 = 25
Roshon Fegan's year: 1996. It was the year he first saw Michael Jackson on stage. Jackson was an inspiration to him, so his pro partner Chelsie Hightower brought in Jackson choreographer Travis Payne to give some pointers. Roshon, sporting an afro wig, danced a fast-paced samba to an MJ song that brought the crowd to a standing ovation. Len liked the "flair" and Bruno said "Michael Jackson would love it." Carrie Ann was more critical, saying he was fun but his timing was off. Scores: 8, 8, 9 = 25
Melissa Gilbert's year: 2010. She fell and broke her back. "It was the most gut-wrenching, painful experience I've had in my life." She said she could "hardly walk, let alone dance," and tears started flowing, but she insisted. "I'm happy." Her jive was a celebration, she said. Her skimpy purple outfit could have provided a JLo-type wardrobe malfunction, but it seemed to stay together on top. The judges praised her. Said Len, "You have come into the competition!" Scores: 8, 8, 8 = 24
Gladys Knight's year: 1957. It was her first tour (she was 13!) and she met James Brown and other stars. "It was the beginning of my education," she explained, one of the celebs who had a happy memory, not a sad one. Her foxtrot to Cupid by Sam Cook (who taught Gladys about performing) was elegant and graceful, and the judges praised her for it. Carrie Ann said it was "sensuous and soulful and rich and divine." Len liked "the flow of this." Bruno said she had "such grace" and "was absolutely gorgeous out there." Scores: 8, 8, 8 = 24
Sherri Shepherd's year was 2005, when son Jeffrey was delivered weighing one pound, 10 ounces. The prognosis was he'd have cerebral palsy and paralysis. "I'm so thankful," she said, welling up as she talked about it. Her rumba was dedicated to him, she said, tears streaming down her face. The usually smiling Sherri was more serious as she swirled around the floor. Len "appreciated" the emotion she put into it. "Great job." Bruno said, "Mama can move!" Scores: 8, 8, 8 = 24
Jack Wagner's year: 2011. He recounted how he met a daughter, Kerry, 23, that he never knew he had. His samba was supposed to be a celebration of that happiness, he said, eyes filling with tears. Kerry was the first person he hugged after the dance. Len "liked the rhythm" Jack showed. "For me, your best dance." Bruno called it "uplifting and joyful." Carrie Ann praised his "clean and neat" moves. Scores: 8, 8, 8 = 24
Gavin DeGraw was shown without a hat! But only for a minute during rehearsals. His year? 1998. He moved to New York City to try to make it as a musician, after being inspired by Billy Joel. He got choked up recalling how his dad went door-to-door trying to tell people how good his son was, to get Gavin gigs. He and partner Karina Smirnoff pulled off a soulful, romantic samba. "A good dance and a look under the hat," said Tom Bergeron. "What more can you want?" Bruno loved his hip action, but not his turns. Carrie Ann said her heart was "going all fluttery" for him. Len cited his musicality and noted his "progression - week after week." Gavin was so overcome with emotion he couldn't talk to host Brooke Burke-Charvet afterward. Scores: 8, 8, 8 = 24