April 8, 2013 at 2:48 PM ET
"Dancing With the Stars" pro Valentin Chmerkovskiy will be blogging about his experiences and thoughts on his fourth quest for the mirror ball trophy in The Clicker throughout the season. The 14-time US champion in dance is paired with 16-year-old Disney star Zendaya, who plays Rocky Blue on "Shake It Up!"
This week I'd like to start off my blog by once again saying thank you to all the fans! Thank you for all the wonderful support! The feedback that Zendaya has been getting, that I have been getting is very motivating.
There has been a lot of talk about the judging last week. My personal opinion on the judges is a fairly neutral one. I don't believe that they have an easy job. I think the judges are in a very difficult situation. It's almost always a lose-lose situation because if they praise somebody that wasn't necessarily good, then the audience perceives them as being ignorant. And at the same time, if they are quite critical of a performance that maybe wasn't up to par, then they're perceived as mean and outrageous.
But I do think there is a thin line between constructive criticism and unnecessary belittling of somebody. When it comes to D.L. Hughley, I think he's trying his best. I do believe that he's doing everything that he can in order to come out with the best possible performance. I thought the judges' criticism of his performance -- even though it might have been coming from the right place -- the delivery and the actual wording of it was a little bit foul. I don't believe that it was necessary.
But my personal honest opinion about it is they have to create a show as well. They can't just give feedback in a politically correct way. They have to give it to him in a way that also sounds good on television. Fortunately or unfortunately, the drama and the controversy that's created from their perhaps-harsh feedback is good for the show … which is what television is all about. I don't know if they mean every single word they say on the show. They have seconds to come up with an opinion and they also have to deliver it in a television-friendly manner.
I don't think (the dancers) should focus in on the judges too much. They should focus more on their own development and their own personal improvement. Whatever goals they set out for themselves this season, they should just focus on that and not let the judges' criticism bring them down. It's easier said than done.
Any sort of negative feedback -- when you pour so much emotion and effort and your sweat, blood and tears into something -- any sort of criticism is hurtful, especially when it comes from these three people that are the first thing that you hear after your performance. It's hurtful. It's hard.
I've seen many capable, very talented couples that have been on our show, I've seen (stars) completely transform from somebody with a promising season into someone that is full of self-doubt, lacking confidence. Pretty much taken completely out of the competition because of something the judges said. But that's why you have your pro partner, your teammate, your comrade, your backbone. Somebody that you can talk to and lean on … to make sure you're still focused and confident and understand that the judges are there for a reason. It's not necessarily to better your dancing!
I'm not worried about Zendaya. I think Zendaya is pretty hard on herself. She doesn't need the judges' confirmation or dissatisfaction to motivate her or tell her that she's doing a good job or a bad job. Last week, there was a little slip-up. The judges' feedback didn't really matter because she knew what she did wrong and she was disappointed in herself and she knows what to fix. Besides that, I'm pretty tough on her as well! I don't think there's anybody that could say something that would be demoralizing for her because she's got thick skin. It'll be tough to bring her down when it comes to that.
This week's theme is "most memorable year of your life." Given that Zendaya is only 16 years old, it's a bit interesting for us to find the best year of her life! Even though she's had some pretty good years, I would hope -- and I am certain -- the best years of her life are ahead of her, not in the past.
The thing that we went with … was the year that she finally figured out that this is something she wants to do: She wants to be an artist. I believe it was 2009 when she went to her first Beyoncé concert. She said then and there she knew this is something she wants to do. On stage is where she wants to be.
We're doing samba as the dance. It's a very difficult dance to understand, to put in your body because it has a very different technique to it. It's been pretty challenging for her to find that coordination in her body to be able to do it well. She's a hard worker and I'm being patient with her. We're moving step by step.
We choreographed a great routine together. There's a lot of space in the choreography that allows her to be herself and to shine on an individual level. I want this performance to be a foreshadowing of what's to come in her career, what's to come when it comes down to her performing at the Grammys, at the Oscars. It's no ordinary dance. She's going to be showcased like the star that she is!
Hopefully, on Monday, we'll be able to give our best performance yet! We worked really, really hard. I'd like to dedicate this dance to all the kids that want to be somebody or want to do something but aren't sure they can do it. I want everybody to understand that anybody can do anything they put their minds to. If somebody did it, why not you?
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