Laurie Hernandez brings Val Chmerkovskiy and the judges to tears on 'DWTS' Halloween week
In the pre-taped package, DWTS fans saw something rarely witnessed in the show's history: Chmerkovskiy getting choked up with emotion.
After getting a perfect score in the fourth week, Team Valaur has been struggling for the past few weeks, getting good-but-not-great scores, and the 30-year-old dancer lays a lot of the blame on himself.
"My whole life is focused around making sure that she shines every Monday," Chmerkovskiy said, getting teary-eyed in a solo interview. "Is my creativity good enough? Is my choreography good enough? Because her dancing is definitely good enough."
For their dance this week, Hernandez and Chmerkovskiy performed a Viennese waltz to a rendition of "Pure Imagination" from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which Chmerkovskiy said is a perfect theme for the 16-year-old Olympic gold medalist.
"Charlie's enthusiasm [In Willy Wonka] to see this world is very similar to Laurie's pure joy every time she steps food on the dance floor," he explained. "It's crazy how fast life moves, and Laurie -- she brings the joy in everything. I just don't want to blow it for her, you know?"
Chmerkovskiy had a hard time keeping the tears of joy from flowing after rehearsing with Hernandez during the week, and seeing her usually stoic partner crying was nothing short of shocking for the teenage gymnast.
"I want to be good to you, for you, and make this a great, great experience for you," Chmerkovskiy explained as they hugged during rehearsals. "Because you deserve it."
"You have to stop, because then you're going to make me start crying and that's ugly," Hernandez joked.
When it finally came down to performing their waltz, the pair didn't disappoint. The stunning number, set to a candy-filled fantasy backdrop, proved once again just how good the pair really are and why they are still considered the season's frontrunners.
Even the judges couldn't stop themselves from getting caught up in all the emotion.
"That was a truly magical Halloween treat," Bruno Tonioli marveled. "It nearly brought tears to my eyes."
Carrie Ann Inaba, who actually did cry, praised the couple's dance as well. "There was something so magical happening between you, the music, the true emotional and tenderness that was exchanged between all of you," Inaba said. "It connected us all into this beautiful, magical moment. And you're dancing was divine."
Their hard work and dedication paid off, as the two once again earned a perfect score of 30 out of 30, for the second time this season.
After the judges' feedback, the pair joined DWTS co-host Erin Andrews on the balcony where Hernandez opened up about what she's enjoyed about learning from her talented partner.
"I started out [as] a gymnast, and that's all I ever knew, and he's been open to just teaching me everything that he's learned and experienced through life," Hernandez shared with Andrews. "And that means so much."
"I appreciate the opportunity to inspire young talent like Laurie," Chmerkovskiy said, as his voice trembled. "And, in the process, maybe she could change the world."
Hernandez couldn't back keep her own tears of joy.