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'DWTS' pro Val: 'Switch-up brought Danica and me closer'

“Dancing With the Stars” pro Valentin Chmerkovskiy is blogging about his experiences and thoughts on his sixth quest for the mirror ball trophy on TODAY.com throughout the season. The 14-time U.S. champion in dance is paired with Danica McKellar, who captured hearts with her performance as Winnie on “The Wonder Years.”  

Craig Sjodin / Today

Last week was our first week back together. I think the whole switch-up brought Danica and me closer together. I’m very proud of how she handled herself over the last few weeks. 

She saw that my dance with Meryl Davis went very well. There may have been some insecurity when we were re-partnered, but she kept it together. She didn’t let it break her down. I came at her pretty hard when I told her how I feel about her. 

Yes, I let her know I had a great dance with Meryl, but I also let Danica know that I’m committed to her, I love her and I let her know that she is amazing and that she is my priority. I know there were so many things she wanted to say. But she stuck in there and pulled it out for herself and for me. We created a beautiful number on Disney Week and got some great scores.

I have to say that Cody Simpson’s exit surprised me. He has a very big fan base. I didn’t think he was the worst dancer on the show, either. I didn’t think he deserved to be eliminated. His fans aside, I think he still deserves to be in the competition based on his dancing. I applaud him for taking on the risk of doing this show. He embraced it. He didn’t think he was “too cool” do to this. He introduced our world to a lot of young kids and that’s very important for dancing.

I also thought his partner, Witney Carson, did a great job. It was her first season as a pro and she went up against dancers who had a lot more experience. Plus, she’s only 19. This show is not just about dancing and how well you can smile for the camera, but how you conduct yourself with others. She got Cody, but next season she might have someone like Drew Carey. It’s very important that no matter how old you are, you know how to conduct yourself around all different types of people. I thought she handled herself very well.

On Monday, Danica and I are doing the cha cha. Each dance has its own flavor, life and character. I’m continuing to dig deep into the work. I also want us to continue to develop our chemistry and create something that will help move our audience each week. 

I want people to acknowledge the physically demanding work that Danica puts in each week. On top of that, I demand an emotional commitment to come out through the steps. I’m so proud of Danica. As her teacher, I can honestly say that she wants to get better and better and learn as much as she can.