(USATODAY.com) - Dancing With the Stars waltzed into Week Five on Monday night with the nine remaining celebs commemorating "The Most Memorable Year of Their Life."
The show kicked off with a performance by singer Aloe Blacc and the pro troupe. Host Brooke Burke-Charvet looked sexy in a leathery dress with sheer insets. Len Goodman was back from London in his judge's seat, in between Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli.
Host Tom Bergeron then surprised everyone by revealing that based on votes last week, "one of our female stars will be eliminated tonight." He said that could change after factoring in tonight's judge's scores, but that's how things stood going into the night's dances. Pressure much, ladies?
"I'm just going to enjoy the experience, because I could be going home!" said Snooki.
Paris Hilton was in the ballroom to support Christina Milian and sounded like she might be ready to take a spin on the show. "I can dance, but I can't dance like her!" said Hilton of Milian. When Brooke said they could hook her up with a pro, Hilton slyly answered, "I could try it out one time, maybe."
And here's how the competing celebs stacked up:
Corbin Bleu picked 2011 as his most memorable year because his sister Phoenix was diagnosed with severe scoliosis, which required her to wear a back brace. "She's such an inspiration to me," he said. Their foxtrot was dedicated to Phoenix, 12, and "hope for the future." It was sweeping and beautiful, and Corbin smiled through, blowing a kiss to his sis in the middle of it. "You really are a terrific dancer," said Len, praising his "lovely, fluid" movements. "You could be the lost child of Fred Astaire and Ben Vereen," said Bruno. Carrie Ann quibbled about a lift that wasn't allowed. Scores 9, 9, 10 = 28
Christina Milian said her most memorable year was in 2010, when she found out her child's father, The Dream, was cheating on her with his assistant. "To see it not work out was like the biggest pain." She said she wanted to go back to that time when it's like "forget you." They danced a cha cha to Cee Lo Green's song to let women know they can "move on and be strong." Len loved her "great technique." Bruno said she "painted a perfect picture of a hot Latina." Carrie Ann said tonight's performance was "something special," adding that her "technique was on fire." Scores: 9, 10, 9 = 28
Jack Osbourne explained his year, 2012, as starting off "good." His daughter, Pearl, was born in April and "barely two and a half weeks later, I was diagnosed with MS." He explained that it was scary. "I was scared for my kid," he said in his taped segment, tearing up. The baby, he said, got his mind off his troubles. He dedicated his waltz to wife Lisa and baby Pearl. "I owe them more than they ever realize," he said. It was sweet and somewhat prom-like. The audience cheered him on, including his wife. Bruno said it was "wonderful," saying he even managed to get his "bum under control." Carrie Ann said there's something so "magical" about him and said "everything flowed." Len said his hand was "peculiar" at times, but otherwise it was "fabulous. Scores: 9, 9, 9 = 27
Snooki's most memorable year was 2012, when she gave birth to son Lorenzo. "You should have known me before," she told her pro partner Sasha Farber. "I drank all the time. I was loud, I was annoying. Still annoying now, but it's different." She says she now likes doing laundry. "I'm such a better person." They danced a jazz routine to Britney Spears' new song, Work Bitch, dedicated to her son. And Snooki worked it! Carrie Ann "loved it." Len said it was "vibrant" and "fun to watch." Bruno called her a "bundle of fun." Scores: 9, 9, 9 = 27
Brant Daugherty picked 2009 as his most memorable year. With his father's help, he had moved to Hollywood the year before to pursue acting as a career. And in 2009, his father died at age 57 after battling lymphoma. Brant didn't want his contemporary dance to Elton John's Your Song to be sad, but to celebrate his father's influence on his life. Their fast-paced, passionate number was met with a standing ovation. Len and Bruno praised it. Carrie Ann said the passion really moved the dance. "It was breathtaking." Scores: 9. 9. 9 = 27
Amber Riley said 2009 was her most memorable year. She was working at Ikea as a customer service rep. She auditioned for American Idol and was turned down. Then she auditioned for Glee. "I want to show that just before you hit rock bottom, you can push it through." She and Derek Hough danced a foxtrot that was elegant, feisty and mesmerizing. Derek was his amazing self, and Amber infused the dance with her personality and her style. Bruno called her a "performing powerhouse," adding, "My darling, you're a star." Carrie Ann said she "danced the heck out of that routine," but noticed one "little slip." Len, a stickler for technique, criticized Derek's choreography for not having enough hold for a foxtrot. Scores: 9, 7, 10 = 26
Elizabeth Berkley said 2012 was her most memorable year because baby son Sky Cole Lauren was born. But, she said 1989 was her biggest year professionally because her first big break was Saved By the Bell. She jived to I'm So Excited, the song she used to sing on the show, but now was dedicating to baby Sky. Carrie Ann said, "I love you so much for doing that!" But she added there were some problems with her kicks and spins. Len thought she did a "great job." Bruno said it was "incredible fun!" Scores: 8, 9, 9 = 26
Bill Engvall's wife, Gail, was in the ballroom, and the comedian dedicated his dance to 1982, the year they got married. "It wasn't love at first sight at all," explained Engvall. "I really had to work this one." He talked about how "moral" she was, saying, "We used to lay on the floor of her apartment, making out, listening to Air Supply. I'd get a couple of buttons undone on her shirt and she'd go, I have to go to the bathroom. She'd come back all buttoned up. And I'd say, 'Damn it!'" He added, "She's made me a better person than I ever would have been on my own." His Viennese Waltz to Billy Joel's She's Always A Woman To Me was dedicated to Gail. It was sweet, if far from perfect. Bruno called it "honest, heartfelt and emotional" but added that Bill had some "timing issues" and had to watch how he was swinging his arms. Carrie Ann said, "You touched our souls. You were a little off timing while you did it." Len called it "lovely." Scores: 8, 8, 8 = 24
Leah Remini's most important year has been the "last year." She said, "You don't realize how not strong you really are until stuff hits the fan.... You can either be a victim or do something about it." Leah and partner Tony Dovolani danced a contemporary number to Katy Perry's Roar. "I love the lyrics," she said, adding that she dedicated the dance to anybody who is going through change. Leah and Tony didn't go for a jungle-themed performance; instead, Leah played a puppet who broke free from her marionette strings. The dance included some strange moves, lifts and twirls. Carrie Ann "loved" the concept but felt like some of it was "a little bit rough." Len agreed, adding "it wasn't great." Bruno said the "storytelling was very, very good." Scores: 7, 7, 8 = 22
So would Leah's low scores mean she'd be the female going home?
The show tried to drum up some drama at the end by saying it came down to Elizabeth, Christina and Leah. You could tell everyone expected Leah to be sent packing, but - gasp! - Christina got the boot. There were scattered boos in response to the news.
"Shock in the ballroom," noted Brooke.
"True shock," said a clearly disappointed Christina. "Wasn't expecting that. We had obviously the best performance that we've had thus far. I wouldn't want to leave on any other note but this way."
Added pro partner Mark Ballas, "We went out with a bang."
Christina said, "It's been amazing. If you take a great challenge and risk, you become a better person."