The former Lions wide receiver caught a football from Rice during his jazz routine to ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’

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At the end of his jazz number to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” former Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson Jr. caught a football thrown by a surprise guest on Monday’s episode of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”

Johnson’s idol, Jerry Rice, culminated the Motown routine by tossing a ball to Johnson from bleachers, shocking the NFL star and the audience.

“I was trying to figure out who that was who threw it, and I was like y’all got me,” Johnson said, laughing in his blue sequin jacket.

The dances commemorated the most memorable year for the nine stars remaining in the reality show competition. For Johnson, that was 2012 — when he broke Rice’s record of 1,848 receiving yards in a single season, reaching 1,964 yards.

To get some inspiration for the dance, partner Lindsay Arnold visited Ford Field with Johnson last week.

“Got to step onto @megatron stage for a bit today,” Arnold posted on Instagram, with a picture of her and Johnson on the field. “It was so cool being in this stadium with him learning more about his most memorable year!”

In a taped segment, Johnson discussed how he thought of Rice as “the greatest” player when growing up.

“If you would have told me as a kid when I was playing football in the street that I would have taken down Jerry Rice’s record, I probably would have been like, ‘You crazy,’ ” he said.

Rice then appeared separately in the segment, admitting Megatron “destroyed” his record.

After the dance, judge Carrie Ann Inaba said Johnson resembles Rice even off the field.

“You remind me of Jerry Rice on the dance floor the way you light it up,” she said. “You bring the fun like no one else in this competition.”

Judge Bruno Tonioli also praised Megatron’s Four Tops slides.

“It looks like you stepped right out of the Motown charm school,” he said. “...All the little stylistic points were there.”

Johnson and Arnold celebrated their score of 24 out of 30 from the judges by meeting Rice after. As co-host Erin Andrews pointed out, it was the first time the NFL players had met.

Andrews asked Rice if he had any tips for his record breaker. His response: “I’m really just impressed with his personality, and I think ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ it brings that out.”

Country singer Jana Kramer, 32, of Rochester Hills performed a contemporary dance with her partner Gleb Savchenko to Martina McBride’s “In My Daughter’s Eyes.” In an emotional video recording, Kramer said every lyric of the song relates to her daughter, Jolie Rae Caussin, and she was dedicating the dance to her.

Kramer and her husband Michael Caussin, a 29-year-old former NFL tight end, welcomed Jolie, their first child, on Jan. 31.

In the video, Kramer explained that she was in an abusive relationship a decade ago and Jolie has helped her heal.

“It was the worst time of my life,” she said. “He went to jail for attempted murder on me. It’s been a very heavy secret to hold for so many years. The situation 10 years ago essentially broke me. It took having Jolie to really piece together every single broken part of me.”

After the dance, Kramer rushed to the sidelines to pick up Jolie for a few seconds. She then got the pleasant news — a score of 26 — from the judges.

Tonioli described her dance as a “pure undiluted expression of unconditional love.”

“You were totally focused, totally committed, totally fearless,” he said. “You took some risks in this dance routine. You were absolutely outstanding, and you pulled it through.”

IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe and Sharna Burgess took the top score of the night for their tango to “The Right Time,” a tribute to 2015 when Hinchcliffe survived a life-threatening race car crash. Burgess emphasized his miraculous recovery: “Within 18 months, he went from someone assisting him walking to ballroom dancing.”

Four couples tied for the lowest score of 24: Johnson and Arnold, Ryan Lochte and Cheryle Burke, Maureen McCormick and Artem Chigvintsev, and Amber Rose and Maksim Chmerkovskiy.

However, at the end of the show, co-host Tom Bergeron announced another surprise: No couple will be eliminated this week in celebration of the halfway point of the season.

Last week was a double elimination, which sent home Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and Vanilla Ice. DWTS will return next at 8 p.m. Monday.

ssteinberg@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2156

Twitter: @Steph_Steinberg

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