It’s that time of year again. As we enter into the summer months, TV’s hit dramas like This is Us, and Grey’s Anatomy take a hiatus and our screens are replaced with competition at its finest. America’s Got Talent, Bachelor in Paradise and American Ninja Warrior are all in the lineup, but nothing has stood the test of time like Dancing With the Stars.
The show kicked off its 24th season in March with its 400th episode, and a boat-load of celebs that cross multiple generations.
Each week, celebrity contestants and their professional dance partners compete to win over the judges and earn the votes of viewers at home. These novice dancers spend the weeks practicing their new moves, then they salsa, they samba and they cha cha their way to America’s hearts on the big stage.
Monday night was a doozy as the celebrities opened up about their “Most Memorable Year,” and choreographed a dance to portray it.
Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles reflected on her youth, and the years she spent “hungry and afraid” before being adopted by her grandparents. Nancy Kerrigan shared her heartbreak of suffering six miscarriages in eight years at the height of her career. With each performance, the judges were left in tears along with the rest of us at home. But no performance was more moving and full of faith than that of Mr. T.
The notable actor and former pro-wrestler declared 1995 as his “most memorable year.” It was the year he was first diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, and turned to God to fight the battle of his life.
“Back in the day, I had money, cars. I had achieved what I wanted to achieve, and then everything really stopped,” Mr. T said in the confessional leading up to his dance. “I called on God. I said, ‘God, give me strength to do your will.’”
He went through chemo and radiation only to learn six months later that the cancer was back.
“That’s when it really hit me: What’s really real? My faith in God, that was real, because only God could save me.”
Together with his partner, Kym Herjavec, Mr. T danced the waltz to a classic ode to God: “Amazing Grace.”
“It’s easy to say you love God when everything’s going good,” Mr. T continues. “Bad things happen to good people. My faith was tested, and I think I passed the test.”
The 64-year-old says that God has blessed him tremendously, not only throughout his career and his battle with cancer, but in everything.
“I want to honor God through this dance,” Mr. T explained, “because the grace of God saved me. And that’s why I feel I’m here.”
Mr. T and Kym’s waltz to the powerful song thoroughly moved the audience and judges alike. But the beauty of what they’d accomplished in their expressive storytelling didn’t end with their performance.
As they turned to the judges for their input and scoring, Carrie Ann Inaba was completely overwhelmed. She was unable to hold back from crying as she praised the impact of his performance, story and mostly the power of his faith.
“Your faith radiated out of you in that dance and provided us all with like another level of faith. It was gallant, it was gentile and it was full of grace.”
Julianne Hough called the performance “breathtaking,” saying, “Your spirit came through.” She added, “I’m choked up too, because God is good.”
Yes, Julianne. Yes He is.
Bruno Tonioli concluded by telling Mr. T that the dance perfectly reflected who he is, saying, “You really are a good man, a man with a heart of gold. Your faith is inspiring all of us, not just in this studio—millions of people are watching this and are now moved by what you did.”
In an age where it often feels like a crime to proclaim the name of Jesus and all of His goodness, it’s refreshing to see a celebrity provoking others to share their faith.
Mr. T didn’t just express his story on the big stage. He turned hearts and glory to God.