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J.R. Martinez: Week 3

On this week's "Dancing with the Stars," themed "The Most Memorable Year of My Life," each couple performed a Ballroom or Latin style of dance to their song of choice. J.R. Martinez, right, and his parter Karina Smirnoff performed a rumba to "If You're Reading This." <br>ABC

By DANIELLE L. KIRACOFE | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 25, 2011

Performance, Oct. 4

“Tonight, they’re all dancing from the heart,” host Tom Bergeron said to kick off week three of “Dancing with the Stars.”

Each of the couples for Week 3 danced a program that represented the most memorable year of his or her life. I’m curious about this unusual theme. I think it’s a good way for these lesser-known celebrities to connect with the audience.

There is no montage of rehearsals this week, but instead they get right into the dancing. Martinez went sixth out of the field of 10. As announced last week, Martinez and his professional dancing partner, Karina Smirnoff, danced the rumba.

Martinez explained that his most memorable year was the year he was injured while serving in Iraq when the Humvee he was in drove over a landmine. He was 19 years old. They show him telling his story to Smirnoff while they sit very close together at rehearsal. He said a week after the blast, he asked the nurse for a mirror. “I just froze for a couple seconds, long enough to turn my head to each direction to look to see how bad it was. … I just thought to myself I would have been better off if [hadn’t] survived. It was a tough time in my life. I felt there was no one else in this world that could understand the pain I was feeling.”

His mother helped to change this mindset by pointing out that anyone who came into his life from this point on would be a part of it because of who he is and not what he looks like. And from that point on, he chose to fight.

Martinez then dedicated the dance, set to Tim McGraw’s “If You’re Reading This,” to the servicemen and women who didn’t make it home. Martinez said in a voiceover before dancing, “I just want people to say, ‘that is a beautiful dance.’ ”

And it was a beautiful, emotional and powerful dance. Martinez wore dark green pants and a dark tie and Smirnoff wore a satiny gown. Their rumba was gentle and languid with tight embraces and sweeping moves. He was smooth, with few of the “stop and starts” that seem to plague some of the other contestants.

While they waited to hear from the judges, Martinez fought tears and Smirnoff gave him a hug. He said Tuesday morning on Twitter that “Last night I got emotional before the dance even started. They were tears of remembering a hard time in my life but also of joy of how far I’ve come. I THANK all of you for embracing it! Many men/women didn’t get that second chance & their families changed.”

From the judges

Carrie Anne Inaba: “Heroes, I believe, are made …. They are ordinary people who do extraordinary things. Tonight you did something extraordinary. You touched us all. I could feel the weight with which you danced. … I thank you because this was one of the most profound, honest dances I’ve ever seen.” Her score: 9.

Len Goodman: “Every season, somebody comes along who dances to a standard that is totally unexpected. This season, that is you. I didn’t expect performances like this from you. ... So poignant. And I loved it.” His score: 8.

Bruno Tonioli: “You dance from your heart … it was tangible. You could touch it.” He liked Martinez’s lines and said his extensions were a “great, great achievement.” His score: 9.

#TeamMartinoff’s total score is 26. They are again tied for second – this time with Chynna Phillips and Tony Dovolani.

Update, Oct. 5

J.R. Martinez and his dance partner, Karina Smirnoff, made it through the Week 3 elimination on “Dancing with the Stars.”

Eliminated this week was “The Hills” star Kristin Cavallari.

Next week, #TeamMartinoff will be performing the fox trot, according to Martinez’s Twitter feed. You can follow it here: @knowjr. He tweeted Wednesday morning: “Woke up to the sound of raindrops~peaceful. I wanna stay in bed all day however the foxtrot is waiting for me. Thanks to everyone who voted.”

 

 

 

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