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'Dancing With the Stars' pro Val Chmerkovskiy: 'We just lost our cool a little' this week

"Dancing With the Stars” pro Valentin Chmerkovskiy is blogging about his experiences and thoughts on his fifth quest for the mirror ball trophy on TODAY.com. The 14-time US dance champion is paired with former “Saved by the Bell” star Elizabeth Berkley.


I thought Cher was a great addition to the ballroom this week. Everybody was very happy with the comments they got from her. She wasn’t here to educate people on how to dance ballroom, she was here to encourage and give feedback that was positive and that would better the performer in the future. She did just that. She’s a class act and a great woman. It was a pleasure being in the same room with Cher. Backstage, she acted like a cool, down-to-earth woman. I always admire that in a person, and when it was time to work she was as glamorous as ever.

They showed Elizabeth videotaping me in the pre-dance segment. Things got a little intense. This week was tough because we’re really getting into the competition. It’s all positive, but emotions tend to get the best of you at this point in the season. I don’t mean negative emotions, but rather any kind of emotions that you feel when you get excited or nervous or passionate about wanting to get something perfect. You need to keep your cool. 

I feel like we just lost our cool a little bit this week, but, again, not in a negative way. We got a little bit too into it. We’re here together enjoying ourselves and we love what we’re doing. I tell Elizabeth to treat each week like it’s week one — don’t treat this like week eight. I say to her, "Yes, now, there’s a bigger spotlight on you, but you have nothing to lose. Just get out there and enjoy yourself."

Next week, we have two dances, salsa and Viennese waltz. I’m not knocking this week’s song, which was “Bang, Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” because Cher is a legend and I love that song, but it’s an intense song to dance jazz to. I’m glad that all of that is out of the way and we can have fun with the salsa. That dance is a lot of fun. The Viennese waltz is an emotional dance as well, but it’s a bit softer emotionally. It’s not so passionate and hard hitting.

It was nice that Carrie Ann Inaba called Bill Engvall the “mayor” of “Dancing With the Stars.” It’s so funny. On Sunday, we were all camera-blocking and I was like, “Geez, Bill, I just want to sit down one of these days and watch a football game.” He said, “Yeah, man, soon. I’m going to be watching football next week for sure.” After he was saved on Monday night, I said to him, laughing, “Bill, they’re never going to let you go.” 

All jokes aside, as tough as it gets you want to stay and get another shot. I’m happy that Bill is still here and giving it his all. Also, I think Bill’s partner, Emma Slater, is doing an incredible job with him. Celebrities are reflections of their partners. Emma has such a great positive energy and a sense of optimism. She keeps him positive. He’s not all bubbly all the time, he’s actually very hard on himself. What’s important for every couple is managing expectations. It’s important for the pro to manage his or her celebrity’s energy. It’s a lot of work. Emma has done a great job. That’s one of the reasons that Bill is having so much fun.