Dancing with the Stars: Katherine Jenkins bursts into tears after achieving a near-perfect score for emotional tribute waltz to her late father

Katherine Jenkins breaks down in tears on Dancing with the Stars
after achieving a near-perfect score for emotional tribute waltz to her
late father

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UPDATED:

08:30 GMT, 3 April 2012

There wasn't a dry eye left in the
ballroom on tonight's Dancing With Stars, with Katherine Jenkins
breaking down in floods of tears after dancing a tribute to her late
father Selwyn.

The
Welsh singer achieved a near perfect score of 29 out of 30 for her waltz
with partner Mark Ballas during an emotional Most Memorable Year week.

Looking
stunning in a lilac dress, the star had selected her memorable year as
1996, when her father died of lung cancer at the age of 70.

Weeping: Katherine Jenkins broke down in tears following her emotional waltz in tribute to her late father on tonight's Dancing with the Stars

Weeping:
Katherine Jenkins broke down in tears following her emotional waltz in
tribute to her late father on tonight's Dancing with the Stars

While many dancing
professionals and audience members dabbed away tears, the visibly moved
judge Carrie Ann Inaba choked back the tears before telling Katherine: 'It's like your father's arms were around you.'

Judge Len Goodman added: 'The bottom line… You are a wonderful dancer,' while Bruno called her performance 'sensational.'

Earlier, the audience had watched a
video montage where Katherine described the tragic events of 1996 when
her father passed away.

Welling up: Katherine's reaction prompted high emotion from audience members and watching dancing professionals

Welling up: Katherine's reaction prompted high emotion from audience members and watching dancing professionals

High emotion: The waltz formed part of the Most Memorable Year week on the show

High emotion: The waltz with partner Mark Ballas formed part of the Most Memorable Year week on the show

Elegant: Katherine looked stunning in a sequinned lilac gown and with her blonde hair in a curled updo

Elegant: Katherine looked stunning in a sequinned lilac gown and with her blonde hair in a curled updo

'In 1996, we found out my father had lung cancer,' Katherine told viewers. 'I
got pulled out of class by my auntie who said “Your dad's
gone into a coma and gone into a hospice.

'It happened so quickly,' she recalled. 'The following day, he passed away and I'm just glad I got the chance to say goodbye.

'If I could go back and tell my dad I would be in America and dancing
on TV for him, he just wouldn't believe it. That's what's just so
overwhelming. I wouldn't be where I am today without my dad. Dad, this
waltz is for you.'

Tears turning to joy:The Welsh singer was ecstatic to be awarded two tens and a nine by the judges

Tears turning to joy:The Welsh singer was ecstatic to be awarded two tens and a nine by the judges

Fond memories: Video footage showed Katherine talking about her father Selwyn who died from lung cancer in 1996 when she was 15

Fond memories: Video footage showed Katherine talking about her father Selwyn who died from lung cancer in 1996 when she was 15

Not a dry eye in the house: Katherine broke down talking about her father on the video montage

Fond memories: Video footage showed Katherine talking about her father Selwyn who died from lung cancer in 1996 when she was 15

Following her performance, she hugged
her mother in the audience and told co-host Brooke Burke Charvet: 'For
all of us, it's been a tough week emotionally. I'm just so pleased to
celebrate my dad's life.'

The star also topped the leader board in an evening filled with raw emotion.

The
View host Sherri Shepherd danced a tribute to her son Jeffrey, who was
born 15 weeks premature back in 2005, when she was told he would suffer
from cerebral palsy and paralysis.

'He delivered at a pound, ten ounces,' she recalled during rehearsals with partner Val Chmerkovskiy.

Painful recollections: Sherri Shepherd brushed away the tears as she remembered the premature birth of son Jeffrey

Painful recollections: Sherri Shepherd brushed away the tears as she remembered the premature birth of son Jeffrey

The white stuff: Sherri and partner Val Chmerkovskiy danced a tribute to her six-year-old son

The white stuff: Sherri and partner Val Chmerkovskiy danced a tribute to her six-year-old son

'He does not have cerebral palsy; he is not paralysed and I am so thankful. I want to show Jeffrey through this rumba how much I love him.'

Despite dancing in a more sombre
style in a departure from her more bubbly show, the judges were
appreciative of her emotional interpretation, awarding her 24 points out
of 30.

Len said: 'I appreciated the emotion you put into that dance. I thought you did a great job.'

Bruno added: 'Mama can move. it was very deeply felt, very well expressed.'

Joyful: Sherri was soon back to her bubbly self following the judges' praise for her dance

Joyful: Sherri was soon back to her bubbly self following the judges' praise for her dance

Actor and musician Jack Wagner selected 2011 as his magic year, recalling how he met long lost daughter Kerry for the first time.

'I've been blessed,' he said, saying that he wanted he and partner Anna Trebunksaya's samba to be: 'A tribute to Kerry. I want to see it as a celebration carnival.'

They performed the dance to one of his own songs, scoring three eights, with his rhythm impressing Len.

Personal tribute: Jack used his fond memories of 2011 to celebrate meeting daughter Kerry who was in the audience to support him

Personal
tribute: Jack used his fond memories of 2011 to celebrate meeting
daughter Kerry who was in the audience to support him

carnival style: Jack said he wanted his dance with Anna Trebunksaya to be a 'celebration' of his reuniting with daughter Kerry

carnival style: Jack said he wanted his dance with Anna Trebunksaya to be a 'celebration' of his reuniting with daughter Kerry

'I saw a totally different side to
you,' the head judge told him. 'I liked the rhythm that you showed,
especially in the hips. For me, your best dance.

Bruno added: 'You got the party started. You were in the driving seat Your timing was much better.'

Maria Menounos and Gavin DeGraw also paid tributes to their families, with an emotional Maria recalling 1988, when her Greek immigrant parents were struggling to make a living as janitors.

Sultry: Derek Hough and Maria Menounos performed a sultry dance to Madonna's Material Girl

Sultry: Derek Hough and Maria Menounos performed a sultry dance to Madonna's Material Girl

Maria or Aphrodite The sexy rumba appeared to end with a kiss between the partners

Maria or Aphrodite The sexy rumba appeared to end with a kiss between the partners

'My parents worked so hard to keep a roof over our heads and food on our table,' she told her partner Derek Hough. 'I've definitely come a long way from picking up quarters from nightclubs in Boston.'

Their sultry rumba to a pared down version of Madonna's Material Girl impressed the judges, with Bruno asking her. 'Is it Maria or Aphrodite You have something in week three that I've never seen.'

'A mix of the ballroom with a touch of the bedroom,' added Len. 'Overall a fabulous dance.'

Getting better all the time: The judges' were pleased with Gavin DeGraw and partner Karina Smirnoff's rumba to Billy Joel

Getting better all the time: The judges' were pleased with Gavin DeGraw and partner Karina Smirnoff's rumba to Billy Joel

Gavin DeGraw was too emotional to
speak to Brooke after his dance with Karina Smirnoff after their rumba
to Billy Joel number A New York State of Mind.

'We went to a Billy Joel concert in
1988 and I said: “That's what I want to do,” and my dad said: “That's
what you'll do,” Gavin recalled in the earlier montage, and used the
dance to pay tribute to his father who was watching in the audience.

The judges were pleased at his progress in the contest after a shaky performance last week.

Carrie Ann told him: 'My heart was fluttering for you Gavin,' while Len praised his 'great hips.'

Teary eyed: Country singer Gavin DeGraw welled up following his dance, which won accolades from the judges

Teary eyed: Country singer Gavin DeGraw welled up following his dance, which won accolades from the judges

It's a family affair: After his performance, Gavin hugged his father who supported his music career in the early years

It's a family affair: After his performance, Gavin hugged his father who supported his music career in the early years

Footballer Donald Driver was equally emotional as he performed the rumba with partner Peta Murgatroyd in honour of best friend Brian Pretlow, who died of cancer back in 2010.

'He died in my arms, I never let him go' recalled Donald, before performing an emotional number which struck a chord with Len who said: 'I didn't expect a great big hunky football guy to dance with such warmth and emotion.'

Donald
added in his post-dance interview: 'Everybody has emotions, and
everybody has feelings. Tonight it's just great to be part of
everybody's life.'

Remembrance: Footballer Donald Driver used his dance to pay tribute to his best friend who died of cancer back in 2010

Remembrance: Footballer Donald Driver used his dance to pay tribute to his best friend who died of cancer back in 2010

Let's get ready to rumba: Donald and professional Peta Murgatroyd put in a powerful performance on tonight's show

Let's get ready to rumba: Donald and professional Peta Murgatroyd put in a powerful performance on tonight's show

Melissa Gilbert's most
memorable moment was back in 2010, where she broke her back while
touring with the Little House on the Prairie musical.

'I could hardly walk,
let alone dance. And I'm here,' she exclaimed, before taking to the floor with partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy for the jive.

Bruno was impressed, telling her: 'Melissa is on a mission to put the raunch into the jive. You dance with Maks beautifully.'

High praise: Melissa Gilbert and partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy danced the jive 'beautifully' together, according to Bruno

High praise: Melissa Gilbert and partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy danced the jive 'beautifully' together, according to Bruno

There
were some happier memories, however, with Gladys Knight recalling year
1957, when she first went on tour with her legendary group The Pips.

She
dedicated her foxtrot to her friend, the late soul singer, Sam Cooke
and impressed the judges with her improvement from last week.

Looking
stunning in a sequinned pink gown, Gladys scored three eights from the
judges, with Carrie Ann calling the number 'sensuous and soulful' and
Bruno complementing her 'grace and finesse.'

Lady in red: Self styled 'empress of soul' Gladys Knight proved to be a vast improvement on last week's effort

Lady in red: Self styled 'empress of soul' Gladys Knight proved to be a vast improvement on last week's effort

High hopes: The legendary singer and partner Tristan MacManus seemed pleased with the judges' comments

High hopes: The legendary singer and partner Tristan MacManus seemed pleased with the judges' comments

Fan favourite William
Levy was one of the night's most energetic performers, dancing the
salsa with partner Cheryl Burke in memory of 1995, when the Cuban native
first came to America.

'We grew up very poor,' he told the dance professional during rehearsals. 'We were eight people living in the same house.'

Len told him: 'Back in 1066, we had a
King – William The Conqueror – you conquered the salsa,' while Bruno
told him 'That was amazing.'

The pairing were awarded a double nine and a ten – their highest score of the competition so far.

Fan favourite: Cuban-born actor William Levy was the most energetic performer of the night with his salsa

Fan favourite: Cuban-born actor William Levy was the most energetic performer of the night with his salsa

Sensational: William was awarded his highest score of the competition so far following his dance with partner Cheryl Burke

Sensational: William was awarded his highest score of the competition so far following his dance with partner Cheryl Burke

It's a perfect ten: Bruno was so impressed with William, he awarded him top marks

It's a perfect ten: Bruno was so impressed with William, he awarded him top marks

For former Family Matters star Jaleel White, his dance was in honour of the emotional moment that producers introduced character Steve Urkel's suave alter-ego Stefan Urquelle to the show in the seventh season.

'Playing Stefan Urquelle was life-changing for me,' recalled the 35-year-old actor. 'I was apprehensive about playing Stefan, but the executive producers saw in me the man I hadn't become yet.'

His rumba with partner Kym Johnson proved popular, with Carrie Ann citing it as something of a comeback after last week's performance, telling him: 'You are back in the game.'

Smooth an suave: Bruno complemented Jaleel on his slinky performance

Smooth an suave: Bruno complemented Jaleel on his slinky performance

Delighted: Judge Carrie Ann Inaba told Jaleel he was 'back in the game' with this week's performance

Delighted: Judge Carrie Ann Inaba told Jaleel he was 'back in the game' with this week's performance

Bruno added: 'You play it cool, you play it well, you play it smooth. The rumba has to be fluid.

The memory proved over-emotional for Jaleel, who broke down in tears during his post dance interview, telling Brooke: 'I can't begin to express how personal it was.'

Meanwhile, 20-years-old, Disney star Roshon Fegan cited the first time he saw Michael Jackson perform on stage in 1996 as his most memorable year.

Unable to speak: Jaleel was overcome with emotion as he told Brooke 'how personal' the dance had been for him

Unable to speak: Jaleel was overcome with emotion as he told Brooke 'how personal' the dance had been for him

Inspiration: Roshon rehearsed with Jackson's one-time choreographer Travis Payne for the energetic samba

Inspiration: Roshon rehearsed with Jackson's one-time choreographer Travis Payne for the energetic samba

'Even though I was young, it gave me inspiration to do the same,' he said, before rehearsing with Jackson's former choreographer Travis Payne.

He and partner Chelsie Hightower excited a smiling Len with their samba: 'What I loved is that you come out and give it 100% and that's a great attitude,' he said.

Bruno added: 'Michael Jackson would love it and so do I. I saw him rehearse in the 1970s in London and I thought I was watching him.'

Just like Jacko: Roshon Fegan paid tribute to Michael Jackson for his impressive dance with Chelsie Hightower

Just like Jacko: Roshon Fegan paid tribute to Michael Jackson for his impressive dance with Chelsie Hightower

Stepping out in style: Katherine celebrated her high scores with a night out at Mixology 101

Stepping out in style: Katherine celebrated her high scores with a night out at Mixology 101

Stepping out in style: Katherine celebrated her high scores with a night out at Mixology 101