There was hardly a dry eye in the “Dancing with the Stars” studio Monday night when J.R. Martinez opened up about his horrific 2003 accident in the Iraq War that left 40% of his body burned after his vehicle hit a landmine.
It was “personal story week” on week three of the show, where contestants were told to talk about their most memorable year and put those emotions into their dance. Martinez told his emotional tale in a moving Rumba, which earned the “All My Children” star a score of 26 and put him in second place, tied with Chynna Phillips and Tony Dovolani.
And, more importantly, it might have earned the pair the title of “most moving story” in recent “Dancing” memory. The proof was in the ballroom when nearly everyone was in tears and the standing ovation seemed to last forever.
“It was a touchy night,” Martinez told reporters post-performance. “It was really emotional. Karina was telling me in order to get to that place that we wanted, to get to and pay the tribute and honor the men and women and their families the way [we wanted to], I needed to be an open book tonight. I needed to be willing to go to that place and tap into that time in my life when it wasn’t all pictures and fame and everyone caring, and I felt so alone.”
Of his own tears up there on stage after receiving his scores, Martinez said, “I’ve never cried in front of that many people before. I can honestly say it’s the biggest stage I’ve ever cried on. I think the clear message behind that is that people really appreciate our men and women in the military.”
The pair plans to lighten things up a lot next week with their Fox Trot for Movie Week. “We are going to turn the table,” said Martinez. “We can’t do this every week. This is tough. So next week, if we get there, we have something completely fun.”