April 2, 2012 at 11:42 PM ET
Monday night was Most Memorable Year night on "Dancing With the Stars," as the celebs recalled significant times in their lives and then set their moves to some related music. But one star and her pro partner decided it was a night to make a brand new memorable moment -- at least for the audience.
Maria Menounos' year of choice was 1988, and the song was "Material Girl" – it reminded her of the times she wiled away the hours watching Madonna's video while her parents worked. For the audience, the year was 2012 and the song was, well, the unrecognizable version of "Material Girl" the house band performed -- that's what was playing as Maria and pro Derek Hough put on a romance-charged rumba, complete with a kiss -- or two.
The slow dance, often referred to as the "vertical expression of a horizontal desire," certainly lived up to its sexy reputation as the pair stretched out on the dance floor at one point and showed just how cozy they can get (at least in primetime).
The routine was their best of the season despite Maria's sometime bothersome (sometimes not) cracked rib woes. The judges raved about it, with head judge Len Goodman calling it a "mix of the ballroom with a little touch of the bedroom," before handing out a matching set of 9s.
Afterward co-host Brooke Burke tried to get to the bottom of the ballroom behavior.
"Twitter-nation is going crazy wanting to know if you guys actually kissed," she told the couple, who remained mum on the action. Then again, there's no need to talk when the lip lock was caught on tape.
Good luck fending off those dating rumors now, you two!
Romance wasn't the evening's only big emotion, as kisses were far fewer than tears on Monday night. Whether happy ones or sad ones, the waterworks flowed.
From the sad side, there was the night's top scorer Katherine Jenkins,who devoted her wistful waltz to her late father, who was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1996.
"I hope that when he watches this waltz he'll be so proud," she said before the routine.
Spinning across the floor to Josh Groban's "To Where You Are," she and partner Mark Ballas hit all the right steps in the moving dance. As they finished, Katherine was crying, her mother was crying -- heck, half the audience and two-thirds of the panel looked weepy -- but not Len.
The ballroom's elder statesman briefly ignored the unwritten rule of dishing out only high praise on Memorable Year night and offered a little choreography criticism about the lack of holds. Still it didn't affect Katherine's score much, as Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli gave her 10s -- the first of the season -- that more than made up for Len's 9.
Another sad highlight of the night came from Donald Driver. The wide receiver lost his best friend in 2010 and shed tears throughout the rehearsals for his rumba. When he took the floor for the dance dedicated to his pal's memory, he brought on even more tears, especially from the often weepy Carrie Ann.
"The passion that you just expressed was mesmerizing," she said before briefly mentioning a couple of lifts she decided not to deduct for.
Driver earned 26 points for the effort.
Other tearjerkers of the night included Sherri Shepherd, who landed 24 points for her routine that recalled her son's precarious health following his premature birth. There was also Melissa Gilbert, who raked in 24 generous points for her feel-good dance about being able to dance at all after once breaking her back. Jack Wagner cried a bit for the adult daughter he only recently learned he had in his 24-point routine.
And then there were the oddest tears of the night -- the ones inexplicably shed by Jaleel White. His dance was meant to hark back to his Stefan Urquelle days on "Family Matters," but when the 25-point rumba was over, he suddenly burst into tears over his character.
"Stefan Urquelle and Steve Urkel, that's my Mickey Mouse," he told Brooke.
Wha? Maybe he's just upset about those recent rehearsal rumors. That would almost explain it. Almost.
As for the rest of the celebs, it was a mixed night, but not a big mix on the scoreboard. As usual, William Levy was one of the better hoofer hopefuls and earned 28 points to prove it. Roshon Fegan scored 25 for his moves. And Gladys Knight? Well she and fellow back-of-the-packer Gavin DeGraw tied Sherri, Melissa and Jack with 24 -- the night's awfully high "low" score.
What was your favorite moment of the night -- the kiss, the tears or maybe those 10s? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page. And don't forget to join me and Anna Chan for our weekly chat at 3:30 ET Tuesday!