April 8, 2013 at 11:59 PM ET
The "Best Year of My Life" night on "Dancing With the Stars" was a celebration for all the stars -- especially Lisa Vanderpump. After falling to the floor in a dead faint during practice Friday and skipping the show's rehearsal Monday, the Real Housewife made a last-minute decision to perform.
Fittingly, she and partner Gleb Savchenko chose "Celebration" by Kool and the Gang for their cha-cha, an homage to daughter Pandora's wedding (with a cameo by Giggy the Pom!).
Although the pair's score of 18 placed them at the bottom of the leaderboard (tied with Victor Ortiz), Lisa said, "Just the fact that we got through was good enough for me," adding that "it's not how many times you fall, but how many times you get up (that's important)."
Whether she'll get back out on the dance floor remains a question mark: Even if she earns enough votes to stay, the reality star could still withdraw from the competition.
According to her doctor, she was suffering from fever and the flu, and there could be "dire results" if she pushes herself too much.
It will be difficult to say farewell to any of the dancers after their rousing routines Monday night.
The most inspiring dances were performed by stars honoring their families -- all of whom participated in some way.
Comedian Andy Dick stole everyone's hearts -- and 21 points from the judges -- with his moving tribute to his daughter, Meg. "I put (my kids) through hell," he said about his struggles with alcoholism. He called the past year the "best ever" because of his sobriety and a chance to earn redemption with his children. After his and partner Sharna Burgess' Viennese waltz to Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," judge Carrie Ann Inaba was crying so hard she couldn't speak. Even harsh critic Len Goodman showed his soft side, telling Andy that whatever happens in the competition, "you'll go out a hero." Aw.
Len even had room in his heart for D.L. Hughley, the subject of his harshest -- and most controversial -- criticism this season. Commending the comedian for his hard work and practice, Len also praised the "elements of fun" and "content" in his foxtrot -- including D.L.'s hip-grinding solo at the judges' table. "But if you think I'm going to kiss you where you pointed," Len added about the star's ribald gesture, "you're out of luck."
When D.L. saw sevens on all of the judges' paddles -- for a total of 21, his highest in the competition -- he fell to his knees in shock and wisecracked, "That's higher than my SAT scores!"
Another highlight of the night came from Jacoby Jones, whose Super Bowl victory paled in comparison to the 2012 birth of his son -- to whom he dedicated his foxtrot. The tiny tot adorably danced along with his dad from his seat in the audience, especially when the NFL star concluded with a flashy solo just for his firstborn. "You have a real shot at winning this," praised Carrie Ann, and he and partner Karina Smirnoff earned a total score of 24.
Kellie Pickler dedicated her rumba to her "sacred" wedding ceremony to Kyle Jacobs -- who performed alongside her, strumming the acoustic guitar and singing the song he wrote for their special occasion, "Say I Do." Although the judges agreed that the country crooner's spectacularly moving performance was "beautiful," they criticized her "staccato" and "clipped" movements. Still, she and partner Derek Hough tied for second place with a total score of 26.
Rounding out the romantic tributes were soap star Ingo Rademacher and "The Bachelor's" Sean Lowe. Ingo and partner Kym Johnson danced a Viennese waltz in honor of his wife and kids. And although he earned only 23 points, Bruno Tonioli called his routine "dashing and deeply romantic" and Carrie Ann raved about how "adding love" to his performance allowed him to blossom.
After Sean's "steaming" Viennese waltz with partner Peta Murgatroyd, the reality star kissed his new fiancée, Catherine, in the audience. Although the judges generally praised his effort, he earned a score of 20, with Carrie Ann warning that "the lift police is back." Watch out!
Victor, Aly Raisman and Zendaya all paid to tribute to their career successes, with varying results. Victor's paso doble, recapturing the moment he first became a boxing champion, earned him only 18 points and a tie with Lisa for last place. "You punched the living daylight out of the paso doble," quipped Bruno, who complained, "You're supposed to dance it, not destroy it!"
Zendaya fared much better with her tribute to the year the Disney star was "discovered." Her and partner Val Chmerkovskiy's sexy samba kept the 16-year-old near the top of the leaderboard with a score of 26, drawing particular praise from the judges for Val's choreography.
But Olympic champion Aly and partner Mark Ballas earned the highest score of the night -- and the competition so far -- with 27 points for their contemporary routine. After Len pretended to critique the gymnast's back flip, Carrie Ann said she was "mesmerized" by her "perfection of emotion."
It was an emotional night all around! Which dance touched you the most? Tell us on our Facebook page!
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