"Dancing With the Stars" pro Valentin Chmerkovskiy will be blogging about his experiences and thoughts on his fourth quest for the mirror ball trophy on TODAY.com 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!"
I'd like to start by saying thank you to all the fans for all of your support.
This week we're doing the salsa with Gleb Savchenko. Zendaya and I felt that he has a very good energy about him, an energy that would be appropriate for Zendaya as well. I think about these things. I felt like he was a perfect fit for salsa, for the choreography that I came up with. I just feel like he'll be a great addition.
I think it will also be a great opportunity for him to shine a little bit as well, and I'm excited to dance with him. I've known him for a long time. I know him from competition years, and he's a great, great guy. So at the end of the day, when it came down to it and it was our choice to pick, we chose Gleb.
The other dance we're doing is the foxtrot. I love our song, and I love our dance. We started working on our foxtrot Wednesday, so I'm really enjoying it.
The package -- our practice package -- is going to be intense, as always. But that's me, that's how I do things.
There's a time and place for everything. When I come to work and it's a Wednesday and we've got things to do, I look at it as: "Did you enjoy that Monday?" "Yes." … "You liked all the applause?" "Yes." … "You like the standing ovation?" "Yeah." … "Great! Well, now we've got to earn the one for next Monday. If you want it again, let's work to get it."
And so that's my mentality. Thursday is the same thing. Friday, it loosens up because Zendaya is amazing and she starts to kind of sink into the choreography. Saturday, we start cleaning it up and working on execution. Sunday is camera blocking -- how it looks on camera. (That's a very stressful day for me because I'm making sure every detail is perfect and lined up the way I envisioned it in my head.) And then Monday is show time, and show time is what you see.
So for that Monday, for you guys to see what you see, it's not, "Hey let's come into rehearsal and laugh the entire time." I mean, it's just unrealistic. When you see those training packages that are full of laughter, you shouldn't believe them.
There's got to be a level of intensity. There's a big difference between being intense and kind of motivating somebody to go beyond their comfort zone and just ego tripping on somebody because you're in a bad mood. All in all, there needs to be focus. There needs to be work done for the type of performances you see Mondays.
It's my choice. I could either look good on camera or look good dancing. I'd rather look bad on camera but good performing, because at the end of the day, that's what I'm here to do, my profession, and that's what I do best. I'm not a reality star. I'm a professional dancer.
Winning this competition is a choice. I want to win. I want to earn that trophy. I feel like there have been a lot of people who have earned it; there's been a couple that maybe haven't earned it. I think this is a pretty competitive season. I think there's incredible talent -- both from Zendaya's peer celebrities competing and my peer professionals. There's incredible talent. But I want to earn it. I want to outwork them. I want to out-create them.
So I'm just focused on that. I want to make sure that we work really hard for the next three weeks, and hopefully we'll get it.