11:06 PM EDT 04/12/2015

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UpdatePosted 04/07/2015 12:00PM

The Story Behind Michael Sam's Emotional Final Dancing with the Stars Performance

Originally posted 04/07/2015 11:30AM

Michael Sam, the NFL's first openly gay player, was eliminated from Dancing with the Stars on Monday following his best, most emotional performance yet.

The theme was "my most memorable year," and, like Rumer Willis, Sam's most memorable year was 2014. It was the year he came out as gay, and the year he and his father stopped speaking for the second time in their tumultuous relationship.

Sam's dance, a rumba performed with Peta Murgatroyd to "I'm Not My Father's Son," was not met well by the judges from a technical standpoint – the pair received a 30 out of 40. However, judge Bruno Tonioli praised Sam, 25, for his "guts": "Your voice is very important, and I guarantee you, it's helped a lot of people." Carrie Ann Inaba echoed the sentiment, telling Sam that "Dance is so much more than movement."

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Credit: ABC
Dancing with the Stars Recap: The Stars Share Their Most Memorable Year

Dancing With the Stars

Dancing with the Stars Recap: The Stars Share Their Most Memorable Year

Originally posted 04/06/2015 11:00PM

Routines themed around the Stars' most memorable years made for good video packages but not-so-inspired dances. I mean, how do you adequately pay homage to an IED attack?

Judge Len Goodman certainly wasn't in the mood for sob stories: the ol' boy was grumpy all night and didn't seem to like anybody, least of all Rumer Willis, who performed a brilliant waltz as a snub to all her early haters.

Then again, anybody can have a bad night in the ballroom. Witness: Michael Sam and Riker Lynch, who both found themselves in jeopardy by the end of Monday's episode.

Before you learn the guys' fate, check out a sampling of the performances from a night of memories (as well as a few moments we'd love to forget).

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Credit: Noel Vasquez/Getty
Inside Val Chmerkovskiy's Surprise Birthday Bash | Rumer Willis, Val Chmerkovskiy

Caught in the Act

Val Chmerkovskiy's Dancing Family Throws Him a Surprise Birthday Party

Originally posted 03/25/2015 07:55PM

There's no doubt the Dancing with the Stars crew knows how to throw a party.

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Credit: ABC
Dancing with the Stars Recap: A 'Jam'-Packed Night

Dancing With the Stars

Dancing with the Stars Recap: A 'Jam'-Packed Night

Originally posted 03/23/2015 11:55PM

Here's a little behind-the-scenes Dancing with the Stars scoop to start off the recap: I understand our stars learned as early as Friday when they would be dancing during "My Jam Monday."

So, for example, Prince Farming Chris Soules knew before the weekend that he'd get to kick off tonight's show while Lady Marmalade herself (a.k.a. Patti LaBelle ) was rewarded the last dance of the evening well in advance of tonight's performance.

Now put the shoe on the other foot: What could be more disheartening than knowing that you aren't strong enough to open or close the night – and realizing how your middle-of-the-show positioning brings you closer to the ol' heave-ho?

So, which dancers proved they might be worthy of prime placement next week? And what about the contestants whose so-so performance last week put them at risk of elimination? Read on for the night's highlights and to see who came close to leaving DWTS first.

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Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC
Dancing with the Stars Recap: Which Celebrity Brought Down the House – and Attracted Big Stars? | Julianne Hough

Dancing With the Stars

Dancing with the Stars Recap: Which Celebrity Brought Down the House – and Attracted Big Stars?

Originally posted 03/16/2015 11:00PM

It was a big night in the ballroom – and not just because John McClane and GI Jane were in the house! Monday's installment of Dancing with the Stars kicked off the first of what the network promised would include lots of action-packed tributes to the show's 10th anniversary.

The premiere episode didn't disappoint. There were lots of contemporary tunes ("Uptown Funk," "Take Me to Church"), plenty of showstopping choreography (Derek Hough, so glad you stuck around this season!) and even quadruple hanky moments (welcome to the ballroom, Army vet and amputee Noah Galloway!).

No 9s or 10s were awarded just yet, but a couple of celebrities sure came close to earning some high scores. Here's how the new contenders fared on night one:

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Season 20 Dancing with the Stars Cast: Did You Know ...?

Dancing With the Stars

20 Fun Facts About the Cast, Judges and Hosts of Dancing with the Stars Season 20

Originally posted 03/16/2015 08:00AM

The 10th anniversary cast of Dancing with the Stars boasts plenty of recognizable names, but how well do you really know the 12 stars who will be facing off for this year's mirror ball trophy?

Here are 13 surprising facts about the cast – plus some bonus trivia about the returning judges and hosts.

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Credit: Getty (4)
Dancing with the Stars: And the New Celebrities Are ...

Dancing With the Stars

Dancing with the Stars: And the New Celebrities Are ...

Originally posted 02/24/2015 09:00AM

A rapper, an openly gay pro football player, an amputee veteran and, um, Lady Marmalade will help Dancing with the Stars celebrate its 10th anniversary.

And great news for fans of Derek Hough – the five-time mirror ball winner will participate after all! Hough was cast to play the male lead in New York Spring Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall this spring, but he will split his time between New York and Los Angeles. (It's nice to be so young and nimble!)

Eleven celebrities and their pro partners were revealed Tuesday on Good Morning America. The show still needs to find one more male star to pair with Witney Carson, the reigning champion.

Here are the stars:

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Credit: Jason Kempin/Getty
Dancing with the Stars Announces Season 20 Pros: Karina Smirnoff Out (for Now)

Dancing With the Stars

Dancing with the Stars Announces Season 20 Pros: Karina Smirnoff Out (for Now)

Originally posted 02/11/2015 09:20AM

Dancing with the Stars announced which pros will return for season 20 on Wednesday – and one who notably will not.

Last season's champion Witney Carson returns alongside fan favorite (and two-time champion) Mark Ballas. Seasoned pros and fellow mirrorball winners Tony Dovolani, Peta Murgatroyd and Kym Johnson are back in the mix. Newer pros including Val Chmerkovskiy, Sharna Burgess, Allison Holker, Emma Slater and Artem Chigvintsev were also confirmed to return.

Noticeably absent, Karina Smirnoff – a pro since season 3 and the season 12 champion – posted on Instagram Tuesday night that she would not be returning for season 20: "I've decided to focus my energies on some other exciting endeavors."

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Credit: Jim Smeal/BEImages
Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Peta Murgatroyd 'Is His Girl,' Says Source

Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Peta Murgatroyd 'Is His Girl,' Says Source

Originally posted 01/23/2015 05:30PM

He's been linked to superstar Jennifer Lopez and model Kate Upton, but turns out Maksim Chmerkovskiy's heart has always belonged to Peta Murgatroyd.

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