PETA MURGATROYD, JAMES MASLOWMonday’s Dancing with the Stars was chock full of emotional performances for the night’s “Most Memorable Year” theme. While some pulled at the heartstrings (we’re still teary over Danica McKellar’s dedication to her son and late grandmother) and others moved us beyond words (hello, Amy Purdy), Big Time Rush star James Maslow approached his dance in an upbeat, yet inspiring way.

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It was pretty surprising to learn the man who Carrie Ann Inaba had just inducted into the Dancing with the Stars Sexy Hall of Fame the week prior had actually endured some pretty serious bullying as a kid. Not only did he struggle with his weight, but he was also picked on for what ended up making him a star—his love of performing.

“I was a kid in musical theater and I was bullied for a few different things, quite honestly,” James told OK! after the show. “It’s something I had a hard time talking about originally. I just didn’t want to do it. I wanted to talk about something more positive. But I realized inadvertently that it is a positive message. It’s not dwelling on the past it’s saying, ‘Hey, I went through this. That sucked, but if you have the mentality to move past it you can almost utilize it to fuel your fire for whatever you want to do. You can do it.’ That’s why I embraced it and I’m glad we were able to share it with the world in our dance.”

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Since James and his pro dance partner Peta Murgatroyd were dancing the Jive, she choreographed the upbeat routine to reflect his positive message.

“I wanted to make it a celebration of how far James has come and what he’s gone through,” says Peta.

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“We’re not trying to rub it into anybody,” says James of the message. “We’re saying, hey, it happened, but because of it and in spite of it I was able to move on. Live every day for the moment. And I still, with this show and everything I’ve been able to do and accomplish so far, I have bigger and better goals.”

Which Dancing with the Stars couple is your favorite this season? Tell us in the comments or tweet @OKMagazine.

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