“Dancing With the Stars” pro Valentin Chmerkovskiy may have ended his quest for the season 17 mirror ball after he and celebrity partner Elizabeth Berkley were voted off the show Nov. 11, but he was back on Monday night’s semifinals program, dancing in the opening number. Read on as the 14-time US champion in dance blogs about his brother Maks’ turn as a guest judge and what he and Berkley have planned for the finale.
I talked to Maks after the show and he seemed very pleased with how his performance as a judge went. I thought he did a terrific job! Some people might have thought he wasn’t going to be objective because he knows all the dancers and has such a history with the show, but I didn’t think that would be a problem at all and it wasn’t. We live together, so before the show tonight we had a moment where we looked at each other and thought, “Is this really happening?”
I thought it was a good decision to put Maks in between Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli. Maks and Bruno were very funny together. They played off each other very well. And he has great chemistry with Carrie Ann Inaba and Len, too. I thought Maks gave very constructive criticisms. His scores differed a little bit every now and then from the other judges, which I thought was good. He fit in well with the judges but remained his own person and gave scores based on his knowledge and experiences as a professional dancer.
People thought Maks might not have been able to judge me if Elizabeth and I had still been in the competition, but I disagree. I know my brother and he would have been very objective in his critique of both my work as a teacher and of Elizabeth’s performance. I don’t think the other dancers were surprised by Maks’ comments. He was very professional with what he had to say and I thought the moment where Karina Smirnoff went over to kiss him was very sweet. They’re good friends.
I think it would be great if Maks came back and did more judging. He brings something very unique to the table. He knows what it’s like to be in the shoes of the pros who are teaching the stars how to dance. His comments were very entertaining, but they weren’t disrespectful or mean. It was funny when he joked about how his comments were the same as Carrie Ann's.
I thought what he had to say to all of the contestants was very accurate and helpful. He didn’t say anything that would make anyone feel bad. He looked good with his bow tie and clean-shaven face. He looks like a leading man in the movies, but our parents get all the credit for that face!
I’m excited about coming back for the finale next week and do one last dance with Elizabeth. We had a great season and it was a great run. But I miss dancing with her and teaching her. She has been such a wonderful student and has become a great friend. I’m looking forward to going back to rehearse with her for this last dance.
We’re going to do a great dance next week. We want to show everyone what they would have seen from us had we gone to the finals. I’m so proud of her for all the hard work she did this season. This has been an amazing season and it’s going to be a great, great finale.