Rashad Jennings brings 'DWTS' audience to tears with emotional dance for his father, earns season's first 10s


Rashad Jennings left the entire audience in tears on Monday's Dancing With the Stars after delivering a deeply emotional performance in honor of his father.

This week's DWTS had contestants thinking back on their most memorable year, and for the NFL pro, that was 2006,the year he chose his family over his career.

In a pre-taped package before his dance, Jennings opened up about his formerly tumultuous relationship with his father.

"It hasn't always been the best," Jennings shared, recalling his dad's struggle with alcohol abuse. "His idea of love was to provide, financially. It made me feel alone. Especially as a kid because you don't know any better."

Watch the performance below:

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A watershed moment in their relationship came when Jennings had been accepted to college to play football, and had a promising career laid out before him. Around that time, he got a call from his mom informing him that his father had suffered a stroke, and had to get his legs amputated due to complications from diabetes.

"That was something that really hurt," Jennings recounted.

In an effort to support his father, he moved back home and put his pro football aspirations on hold to devote his efforts towards helping mend his family.

"My dad gave up his leg for his family, and I felt, in college, it was my time to give up my dream for him," Jennings explained. "Being closer to home changed the way me and my father related to one another. My dad got lost at one point, but I never held a grudge against him. It just made me want to be there for him even more."

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Jennings summed up the impact 2006 had on his life, explaining, "That's when I began to realize what unconditional love means."

See photos from this season of "Dancing With the Stars":

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DANCING WITH THE STARS - 'Episode 2401' - 'Dancing with the Stars' is back with a new, dynamic cast of celebrities who are ready to hit the ballroom floor. The competition begins with the two-hour season premiere, live, MONDAY, MARCH 20 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Eric McCandless) TOM BERGERON, NORMANI KORDEI, VALENTIN CHMERKOVSKIY
DANCING WITH THE STARS - 'Episode 2401' - 'Dancing with the Stars' is back with a new, dynamic cast of celebrities who are ready to hit the ballroom floor. The competition begins with the two-hour season premiere, live, MONDAY, MARCH 20 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Eric McCandless) BONNER BOLTON
DANCING WITH THE STARS - 'Episode 2401' - 'Dancing with the Stars' is back with a new, dynamic cast of celebrities who are ready to hit the ballroom floor. The competition begins with the two-hour season premiere, live, MONDAY, MARCH 20 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Eric McCandless) SHARNA BURGESS
DANCING WITH THE STARS - 'Episode 2401' - 'Dancing with the Stars' is back with a new, dynamic cast of celebrities who are ready to hit the ballroom floor. The competition begins with the two-hour season premiere, live, MONDAY, MARCH 20 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Eric McCandless) NANCY KERRIGAN
DANCING WITH THE STARS - 'Episode 2401' - 'Dancing with the Stars' is back with a new, dynamic cast of celebrities who are ready to hit the ballroom floor. The competition begins with the two-hour season premiere, live, MONDAY, MARCH 20 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Eric McCandless) GLEB SAVCHENKO
DANCING WITH THE STARS - 'Episode 2401' - 'Dancing with the Stars' is back with a new, dynamic cast of celebrities who are ready to hit the ballroom floor. The competition begins with the two-hour season premiere, live, MONDAY, MARCH 20 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Eric McCandless) ERIKA JAYNE, GLEB SAVCHENKO
DANCING WITH THE STARS - 'Episode 2401' - 'Dancing with the Stars' is back with a new, dynamic cast of celebrities who are ready to hit the ballroom floor. The competition begins with the two-hour season premiere, live, MONDAY, MARCH 20 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Eric McCandless) SHARNA BURGESS, BONNER BOLTON
DANCING WITH THE STARS - 'Episode 2401' - 'Dancing with the Stars' is back with a new, dynamic cast of celebrities who are ready to hit the ballroom floor. The competition begins with the two-hour season premiere, live, MONDAY, MARCH 20 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Eric McCandless) ERIKA JAYNE
DANCING WITH THE STARS - 'Episode 2401' - 'Dancing with the Stars' is back with a new, dynamic cast of celebrities who are ready to hit the ballroom floor. The competition begins with the two-hour season premiere, live, MONDAY, MARCH 20 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Eric McCandless) MR. T, KYM JOHNSON
DANCING WITH THE STARS - 'Episode 2401' - 'Dancing with the Stars' is back with a new, dynamic cast of celebrities who are ready to hit the ballroom floor. The competition begins with the two-hour season premiere, live, MONDAY, MARCH 20 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (Eric McCandless / ABC Via Getty Images) CARRIE ANN INABA, LEN GOODMAN, JULIANNE HOUGH, BRUNO TONIOLI
DANCING WITH THE STARS - 'Episode 2401' - 'Dancing with the Stars' is back with a new, dynamic cast of celebrities who are ready to hit the ballroom floor. The competition begins with the two-hour season premiere, live, MONDAY, MARCH 20 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (Eric McCandless / ABC Via Getty Images) SIMONE BILES, SASHA FARBER, SHARNA BURGESS, BONNER BOLTON, CHARO, KEO MOTSEPE, LINDSAY ARNOLD, DAVID ROSS, TOM BERGERON, ERIN ANDREWS, WITNEY CARSON, CHRIS KATTAN, ERIKA JAYNE, GLEB SAVCHENKO, HEATHER MORRIS, MAKSIM CHMERKOVSKIY, KYM JOHNSON, MR. T, NANCY KERRIGAN, ARTEM CHIGVINTSEV, PETA MURGATROYD, NICK VIALL, NORMANI KORDEI, VALENTIN CHMERKOVSKIY, RASHAD JENNINGS, EMMA SLATER
DANCING WITH THE STARS - 'Episode 2401' - 'Dancing with the Stars' is back with a new, dynamic cast of celebrities who are ready to hit the ballroom floor. The competition begins with the two-hour season premiere, live, MONDAY, MARCH 20 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Eric McCandless) VALENTIN CHMERKOVSKIY, NORMANI KORDEI
DANCING WITH THE STARS - 'Episode 2401' - 'Dancing with the Stars' is back with a new, dynamic cast of celebrities who are ready to hit the ballroom floor. The competition begins with the two-hour season premiere, live, MONDAY, MARCH 20 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (Eric McCandless / ABC Via Getty Images) EMMA SLATER, RASHAD JENNINGS, SIMONE BILES, SASHA FARBER
DANCING WITH THE STARS - 'Episode 2401' - 'Dancing with the Stars' is back with a new, dynamic cast of celebrities who are ready to hit the ballroom floor. The competition begins with the two-hour season premiere, live, MONDAY, MARCH 20 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Eric McCandless) RASHAD JENNINGS, EMMA SLATER
DANCING WITH THE STARS - 'Episode 2401' - 'Dancing with the Stars' is back with a new, dynamic cast of celebrities who are ready to hit the ballroom floor. The competition begins with the two-hour season premiere, live, MONDAY, MARCH 20 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Eric McCandless) SIMONE BILES, SASHA FARBER
DANCING WITH THE STARS - 'Episode 2401' - 'Dancing with the Stars' is back with a new, dynamic cast of celebrities who are ready to hit the ballroom floor. The competition begins with the two-hour season premiere, live, MONDAY, MARCH 20 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (Eric McCandless / ABC Via Getty Images) EMMA SLATER, RASHAD JENNINGS
DANCING WITH THE STARS - 'Episode 2401' - 'Dancing with the Stars' is back with a new, dynamic cast of celebrities who are ready to hit the ballroom floor. The competition begins with the two-hour season premiere, live, MONDAY, MARCH 20 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Eric McCandless) KYM JOHNSON, MR. T
DANCING WITH THE STARS - 'Episode 2401' - 'Dancing with the Stars' is back with a new, dynamic cast of celebrities who are ready to hit the ballroom floor. The competition begins with the two-hour season premiere, live, MONDAY, MARCH 20 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Eric McCandless) NICK VIALL, KEO MOTSEPE, SHARNA BURGESS, ERIKA JAYNE, BONNER BOLTON, NORMANI KORDEI, NANCY KERRIGAN, ARTEM CHIGVINTSEV, TOM BERGERON, ERIN ANDREWS, PETA MURGATROYD, MAKSIM CHMERKOVSKIY, CHARO
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Appropriately, Jennings and his partner, Emma Slater, set their contemporary routine to a cover of Katy Perry's "Unconditionally," and the pair delivered one of the most emotionally powerful performances in the history of the show. The routine was meant to symbolically represent his relationship with his father, and the emotional dance was flawless.

As the powerful performance ended, Jennings walked off the dance floor to hug his wheelchair-bound father in the audience, and the two openly wept as they embraced. The crowd lept to their feet, and none of the judges were able to hold back their tears.

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"I'm mesmerized," Bruno Tonioli shared. "I wasn't watching dance, I was watching two great artists painting one of the most beautiful works of art expressed through dance."

"What you just did, I have no words for," Julianne Hough reflected.

"There's nothing special about me, I'm just in a unique position," Jennings said of the praise. "And that man, my family, my brothers, made so many sacrifices in my life to put me in this position, and I never can repay them. So I hope it touched somebody to let people know that a family that prays together and stays together can make it."

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The judges' scores reflected the true power of the performance, with three 10s and a 9 for a score of 39 out of 40, easily the highest score of the season. In fact, Jennings and Slater are the first couple of the season to earn any 10s at all.

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