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DWTS pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy discusses elimination, Amber Rose

Plus: Why he loved Amber Rose’s last Cha-Cha

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ABC/Eric McCandless

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 6.

On the end of Amber Rose’s DWTS journey

Today was a busy day doing press and talk shows, but we’re handling things very well! Amber Rose was really sad, which is great because we know she got truly invested in having success here. We fought and tried our best, and I squeezed every drop I could from her. I was most upset that we didn’t get to have more time. And of course I know that’s how the show works, but that’s my only regret because I wanted to give her a few more weeks just to see what she could do. I had a feeling that she had more room to grow and more room to open up, so I’m mostly just sad that we didn’t get that chance!

On last night’s Cha-Cha

When we finished the dance and got the judges’ scores, I thought to myself, “oh, maybe we didn’t do as great as I hoped, maybe there were some missteps.” You know, as a performer it’s hard to evaluate by yourself; we’re too near-sighted and we can’t always evaluate correctly as we’re doing it. But I went home, sat down, and watched it back — it was amazing! And I’m not just saying this to make Amber Rose feel better (we’re not on the show now so I don’t have to do that anyway!), but I really do want to say I enjoyed that Cha-Cha. I watched it back four or five times, and I felt like it was a great performance and well executed. Could she do better? Of course, but everyone could do better. In my opinion she definitely did well enough to stay in the competition. But this Cha-Cha she was really great. I think it was her best of the competition.

On Amber’s walk-out during rehearsals

This was our breakthrough moment! Every couple has breakthrough moments in this competition. Some haven’t had theirs yet. It’s important for the audience to see that between a couple, I think. She came back from that and knew what she had to do, and I think she performed better for it.

On the rest of the competitors

I think it’s important to support the couple you’ve been supporting as long as you can. A lot of praise is being said about a lot of couples. We hear every season, it’s “the best season of all time,” “the best female dancer of all time,” “the best male performer of all time” — we’ve had the best of all time for the last several seasons, so I think those things are being given out a little too quickly. I think the rest of the contestants are really strong, but I think Laurie Hernandez is untouchable. I disagree with the judges about last night entirely; I don’t think she missed any steps. It’s always a little hard when the judges tell you you missed a step but you’re like, “well how do you know, you don’t know my choreography?”

You might think I’m biased, because Val is Laurie’s partner and my brother, but he’ll even tell you that I am always his biggest critic. In a lot of instances as his coach of many years, I would always bring up his competition as examples just to piss him off! And that would work, that would motivate him and give him the drive to do other things. So I don’t think I’m biased because of him. More than anything I’m comparing Laurie to the other stars. I still think she’s the frontrunner.

The competition is shaping up to be great, everyone is doing an amazing job, and I had the most fun I’ve had in a long time. I’ve been so entertained being on the show and part of the show, so I hope people saw how positive everything was. I really thought it was great, and everything that went into it — I felt like a very happy performer.

On staying in touch with former dance partners

I’m not the kind of person to remind people of myself; it’s not a matter of pride or anything like that. DWTS is a special place and point in time for a lot of people, and you either establish relationships or you don’t. I think I started to become closer with my partners in later seasons of the show, when I felt more established as a pro and we built good relationships working together. And I so appreciate them, they’re important to me even now. 

With Amber I think it’ll be way different just because when we met, I was just a person who really wanted to enjoy my time on the show and help her enjoy hers. I definitely got that with Amber and I hope she did too. And I wouldn’t have it any other way either. If you asked me to choose a partner and routines again, I would have done everything exactly the same as we did. 

On what to expect from Maks the rest of this season

Well I’m looking forward to the finale. I know I’ll definitely be involved with that. I’d love to get another opportunity to do something with Val like we did a few weeks ago, if people would like to see more of that! So I’m hoping there will be a little more in store for me this season, and then I’m looking forward to going home and changing diapers! Peta’s doing very well, she’s happy to have me back home, and she’s just radiant. I might be biased on this one, but I think she’s the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. I’m blessed for sure.

—As told to Christina Ciammaichelli