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 want to particularly thank the fans this time around because they literally got us into the finals. Score-wise last week, we weren't at the top, nowhere near the top. We’re very fortunate and lucky to have incredible fans that care about us and want to see us dance one more time.
I want to take a second to compliment Zendaya on her composure throughout all of this. I’m trying to keep my composure and it’s really hard for me. I can imagine how challenging it is for her, as she has other responsibilities!
We haven’t talked about that enough, about the fact that she’s 16 years old, and not in the way that you’re like “Hey! You’re 16!” No, she’s 16… It’s finals week. She’s going every day from 8 in the morning to 12 at night, taking standardized testing. She’s in 11th grade. She’s taking SATs, ACTs. Her brain is fried by the time she gets to rehearsal --- AND we’ve still got four dances to learn!
We have to redo the samba with new choreography. Samba is not an easy dance at all. When we talk samba, naturally, she remembers the old choreography. Now she has to remember the new choreography and the style of dance. On top of that there has to be an incredible freestyle which I made really, really difficult because that’s what it takes to win the show, along with two other dances that we need to prepare. It’s really crazy man, really, really crazy. So I just want to take a second to breathe and acknowledge the work that she’s done and if these rehearsals are tough on me they are most definitely tough on her. I think the mind is very important. The mind, unfortunately, can’t work without the body. So it’s very important to rest and it’s very important to eat right. The only thing I’m eating right now that keeps my brain and body running are these all natural KIND Nuts & Spices bars, especially the Dark Chocolate Chili Almond. It tastes so good and keeps me energized throughout these exhausting rehearsals.
It’s finale time but this finale is different -- completely different. Last season it was bitter, but then it became quickly sweet. I hate losing, but losing to someone like Tony (Dovolani) and Melissa (Rycroft) was a great feeling for me. That’s my brother pretty much, and I’m super happy for him to win because it was long overdue! I had no right -- even just out of respect for Tony, to feel even one inch of, “Oh, it’s not fair!” I have the utmost love and appreciation for that champion.
But this season, I feel like it’s a good time. I don’t feel like it’s too early, I don’t feel like it’s too late. It’s a good time. I feel like if the stars can’t align this time, I’m not sure when they’ll align again. I know I said that last season with Kelly (Monaco) because she was incredible and we had an amazing season, but I never thought I’d be able to follow it up. Zendaya, complete polar opposite of what Kelly and I were, was able to follow up and follow it up in a very unique way.
There has never been a couple like us. This final between my three competitors – between them, they have about 30 seasons and six trophies. But when you look at Zendaya and I, you have never seen a champion like that.
If we win, the generosity and gratefulness that will be pouring out of my body at that moment will be overwhelming for everybody in the room. I will drown people in my appreciation!
So vote for us and let’s make it happen!