The Dancing with the Stars semifinals offered sentiment and sensation Monday night.
In the first round, the five remaining contestants performed individual dances, after interviews with their loved ones.
Laurie Hernandez was seen in one segment, taped 10 weeks ago, with her encouraging grandmother, Brunilda Hernandez, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.
“I kind of feel bad ‘cause I’ve been away from home for so long,” Laurie said, crying, in that interview. “So I haven’t really been able to see her as much as I used to. And she’s not really doing so well, but I think I’m gonna see her soon.” Her grandmother died the next day.
Wearing purple, in support of Alzheimer's awareness, Laurie and her partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, glided across the floor during their foxtrot, despite the emotion flooding the 16-year-old. At one point in the routine, Laurie wiped away a tear, and at the end, she cried into Val's chest.
Judge Carrie Ann Inaba praised Laurie for “using all that emotion and channeling it for something beautiful for all of us to watch.”
Her fellow critic, Julianne Hough, was also moved. “I'm choosing to smile right now, with tears of joy and happiness, because I know that that's exactly what your grandmother is doing right now.”
Bruno Tonioli said it appeared Laurie was “flying, guided by an angel.”