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. Here, he brings us into season 23, episode 4.
On Monday’s ‘Zumanity’ performance and getting their best score yet from the judges:
Well, us veterans know, we don’t want to get too excited! We look at it like, “Oh, we got this great score, but we didn’t do too great last week. What does this meam? Did they just give us a good score to go home with?” Our thoughts backstage are pretty hilarious. I’m never too worried about eliminations, though. It’s something that happens that you can’t control. I try to just focus on the dance, and getting everything in on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.
Monday was great, and I think the only thing that changed is Amber’s fitness as a dancer. We’re in a totally different place than we were two weeks ago, or even one week ago. She has a different set of legs that work differently now than in the beginning — I can ask her to do things that I know she can do. She’s definitely improved as a dancer and I think it shows.
The performance was risqué — it was not necessarily what our crowd likes to see, not from someone like Amber. I wanted to give her the opportunity to wear this outfit proudly. I wanted the dance to be appropriate for the attire, and it turned out wonderfully. I was so proud of her for being totally focused and not missing any steps.
When you spend so much time with another person, you can feel when you are getting a little bit more from them, and I could feel that from Amber. I was very proud of her and very proud of our show.
On addressing last week’s “uncomfortable” issues:
Amber is a real person with feelings, just like anyone else on the show. As an entertainer, you come to expect some of these types of things, but everyone has real emotions, which is hard to put into perspective for a viewer. I think it’s great that everyone talked out their feelings. I was really proud of Amber and how she handled it live, right after the performance.
At a certain point, you have to smile and move on with life. There’s nothing you can do when it comes to social media and people’s opinions. You just can’t win with everyone. Say you post a photo on Instagram of half your ass, there will be people who say, “This is ridiculous, I can’t believe you’re putting it up!” And then there will be people who say, “Oh my god, half your ass… can I see the other half?” What I’m saying is, you just can’t win with everyone. You just have to be yourself and do your thing.
Amber is the type of person who turns heads. People notice her, and sometimes that backfires. But I think in the past couple of weeks, we’ve gained a lot of fans, supporters, and I’m so happy for that. I’m glad that the producers didn’t make the conversation about last week an issue before last night’s dance. I’m glad that Amber and Julianne were able to address it afterwards — I think it all worked out.
On last night’s all-male pro group dance:
I have to give all credit to Mandy Moore and Will Loftus. Mandy’s an old friend, and her job on the show is to choreograph one dance a week. She’s a great choreographer and so brilliant, but I feel like she just doesn’t get enough credit. As dancers, we’re big advocates for putting people in the light that deserve it, so I wanted to make sure she gets credit!
Basically the concept was, “Let’s get five dudes to dance something sexy.” But without stripping or taking our shirts off. So we got the five of us, who are pretty like-minded. Artem is already Mr. Velvet himself. I was doing my best to stay kind of moody and sultry! (laughs) I think it turned out pretty great. You know we don’t want to waste air time on a sh—ty dance number, so there’s a lot of pressure to make these group dances good. But we get to entertain on our own terms, we have this platform and it’s an honor to have the opportunity to do stuff like this every week, on a live show. There’s nothing like it!
On sneak peaks for next week’s dance:
We’re doing the Samba, so that will be a big test because it’s very active. The theme is “The Celeb’s Most Memorable Year,” which is always a heart wrenching one. I might be dropping some tears. The performance is meant to celebrate an event in their lives, so I hope it’ll be as entertaining as this week was.
I feel like Amber and I are finally entering the competition – we were sort of like that couple in the back of the class. Up until now, we’ve been, like, “I’m not sure what I’m doing… Am I in the wrong class?” (laughs) And finally we’re like, “Ah, now we got this!”
On that big proposal last night:
I did not know the proposal was coming! But I’ve known Sasha and Emma for a very long time. I actually met Sasha when I met Peta, when they were in the Broadway show Burn The Floor. I met Sasha, Sharna and Peta on that show. Then I left to do DWTS, and later came back to Burn The Floor, and that was when I met Emma, and they were already dating. I remember she was super young, and very fresh — this must have been eight years ago. The very first time I met Emma, I asked Sasha, “Is this your new girlfriend?” I swear to God, he said, “No, this is the girl I’m going to marry.” I’m not making this up! It feels like I just proposed to Peta two days ago, so seeing this made me so happy for Sasha and Emma. I wish them a lifetime together and lots of babies!
To the Maks and Amber (Mamber?) fans:
I know it’s not a given to get votes — it’s really an honor — and we want to earn each vote we get, so thank you so much to all the fans who voted and continue to vote for us! I really want Amber to stay on this show and in this competition as long as they’ll have us, and we appreciate everyone who continues to make that happen!
—As told to Christina Ciammaichelli