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This season on Dancing With the Stars, fan favorite pro-dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy will be blogging for EW to give us the behind-the-scene scoop on each week’s competition.
On the judges’ criticism of the “Booty” routine…
I did feel like it was a bit hard to attach Salsa to that J. Lo song, but as I said during the episode, I think we were given that song for a reason. Everyone knows I’m passionate about what I do, and I want to come to Amber’s defense here as much as possible because I think she killed it in that dance. I wanted how we executed that song to be her choice, and as long as she was comfortable with what I suggested and was having fun, I was happy.
From the show perspective, this was a different type of Salsa from what Maureen and Artem did, so that makes things more interesting and entertaining. But the bottom line is the song says “booty, booty, booty” about 70% of the song, so there’s no way we weren’t going to work that into the dance!
I think a bit more constructive criticism from the judges would have been helpful, though. Something like “Your shoulders are down” would have been much more effective.
It made me so upset to see how sad Amber was after the judges’ comments. We had so much fun in rehearsal last week and it all came crashing down in an instant. She trusts me and said she wanted to give this 110 percent. Last week with the Waltz, the comment was that “her personality didn’t come out,” so I felt like this routine did a great job of fixing that. I want her to be praised for her attempts just as much as anybody else on the show.
This competition is difficult for everyone in different ways, but what I appreciate from Amber is her perseverance and her ability to go through these criticisms and come out on top. She never really let’s anyone know how she’s feeling about what’s being said about her. And part of that is actually how her Slutwalk came to be. She speaks on behalf of people that don’t have the exposure she has, and she can speak out against exactly these types of things. Amber shared with me that not often do people come to her defense in public, and I want everyone to know that I’m 100 percent team Amber in fun times and not so fun times.
On participating in the Amber Rose Slutwalk this weekend…
How could I not? How could I possibly talk myself out of that one? “Hey, sorry babe, I’m just really busy this Saturday…” [Laughs.] Amber Rose is an activist, a talk show host, and a mother, and I’m happy to support her. She’s been labeled a little bit, and I think that’s a big part of the Slutwalk, fighting that sort of labeling and bullying. Amber’s able to turn the other cheek, and she’s a parent, and I think when you’re a parent you learn how to see things differently. I’ll know what that is like soon enough!
On what makes a couple work, and what makes Maks and Amber’s chemistry so great…
We’re not fake. We look at each other and we talk about real things. She laughs at my sarcasm and dry sense of humor. And I reciprocate by trying to be the absolute best I can be for her.
What makes a couple work in any situation is communication, and if you’re interested in understanding the other person. In DWTS, you’ll see which couples are just going through the motions and which couples are maybe a little closer and have a deeper connection. She knows I’ve got her back 100 percent, and I’ll come to her defense any time. She’ll do the same for me.
The bonus of this situation is the friend I’ve made. The results and the numbers changing is a great part of being here, but I’m having a blast with Amber and having so much fun just hanging out with her.
On the routine with Val from last night…
We were given this incredible opportunity by the producers. This was one of the main reasons I wanted to be back on the show, to get to flex those creative muscles. As soon as we knew there would be the “Results” shows this season, we pitched this idea of “The Maks & Val Show” hijacking DWTS, using this massive million-dollar set we have. There’s nowhere else we’d have the opportunity to do this, so we were excited about it.
The biggest thing was working out the script, and making sure people weren’t “uncomfortable” with us speaking on the show. One of the producers at the last minute was like, “Is this even a good idea?” and rightfully so — I wouldn’t give me a live mic! [Laughs.]. At the very last second, Val went up and asked Vanilla if he wanted to be part of the gag and he was totally into it.
But the end result was a great routine. I’m glad for the opportunity because we really wanted to tailor something specific to this set. On the “Maks and Val” tour over the summer, there was a segment where I’d pull someone out of the audience, so we wanted to find a fun way to integrate that into this. True story, the lady in the audience did not know what was happening, but it worked and I think she was into it!
Everything we heard afterwards was so positive, and that it was fun, high energy. And that’s what makes something like this successful, how genuinely happy we are to be able to do it.
On next week’s theme…
Next week we’ll be doing some kind of Tango, and integrating “Zumanity.” Now, “Zumanity” is cabaret, and all about sex and sexy things, so am I going to have to make a Tango that’s conservative? That’s definitely not going to happen. We’re taking steps forward each week, and Amber’s not struggling physically in any way, so I don’t think we’re going anywhere. It’s obvious to me that Amber is consistently getting better, and I can’t wait for the time when we finish the performance to a standing ovation and for Amber to finally have her moment.
—As told to Christina Ciammaichelli