Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Hi everyone!

Hope you had a great week!

What did you think of the premiere? Thank you in advance for all of your votes! I am so proud of Kirstie. I thought she did great and she was rewarded for all the hard work she put in. I had been saying that if everything goes well on the show like it had during rehearsals, she will shock everyone. People didn't know what to expect from her. A lot of people were underestimating her: "Cross her off the list." She's popular, she's a big celebrity with big personality who's out of shape, but she comes out and kicks butt! It was probably one of my proudest moments of my professional career. We are even more enthusiastic about this season and what's coming next.

Kirstie was not nervous at all for the show. We had a dress rehearsal, so she saw how long we would be waiting and what the flow was like. She's a professional when it comes to long waiting periods. She did all the right things in preparation. Now she knows how everything works on the show, so I think she'll be fine going forward too.

After we got our scores, she collapsed. That has never happened to me before. I was really the most proud person in the room. It was very rewarding for me to see someone I helped get to that point. She can do a lot more. I know she can. My goal is to make her better because I think she's an amazing candidate for a story this week. She's the one with the story who's showing change and overcoming certain things. I know a lot of people were like, "I stand corrected." Some people will still be rude and make mean comparisons. I'm not going to say the comments myself, but they're sad and unnecessary. They're missing the fundamental point of what she's doing and the show. She's proof that you can overcome anything you put your mind to it. When someone gets to the point when their hard work does pay off, you don't knock people down. You're supposed to praise. I'm not naive. Obviously, I know we're not loved by everybody. That's fine, but I don't think you have to be unnecessarily rude to people.

I'm learning a lot from Kirstie and her professionalism. She's an amazing woman and a very smart businesswoman. I like that. She's very clever. I feel blessed to have her as my partner. I'm so happy with the way we are right now. We're just enjoying each other's company. We don't even know what others are doing. It's the same story every season. My partners have been praised before, but this is a different praise. I just feel like she's a partner I've never had before and here's a chance to show what ballroom dancing can build on physical and mental levels. If I'm going to have any legacy as an instructor, this is my opportunity to take it to another level.

Next week is the quickstep. It's going to be quick and step-py. It's utilizing completely different muscle groups. Those first two dances are the hardest because one is Latin and one is ballroom. In the quickstep, you have to maintain frame. Kirstie's battling knees, muscles and a lot of things, but she's getting better every day and I think she'll be ready by Monday.

I think everybody did great on Monday. It's the first show and everyone came out and did their best. Some who didn't score well could come out with a bang next week and the leader board can change. There are a lot of people who can still improve. Chelsea and Romeo did great. Ralph obviously did a great job. We have yet to see the full potential of Hines. He's got a lot of room to go and Kym obviously knows how to bring that out.

I thought the judges were OK, but don't know about giving out fours in the first week. When you set sevens as the .0, it skews things. The first week is tough as it is because people don't know what to expect, but when there also isn't a first week elimination, I don't think there should be fours. I think the first week should be more encouraging. Nobody is going home anyway, so to knock someone down, it's like, eh. Mike's a cool guy and he's working very hard. It's the judges' opinion, but in this format, it should be more encouraging. "Welcome, you need to work harder. I'm not as going to be as nice next week." It's all in hindsight. Next week, maybe Mike might not do as well because the four was weighing on him. Honestly, I do like when judges are harsh; they're not supposed to give you a free ride. I just always think it's better to be positive than to be negative, especially in the first week with no elimination. Also, there's not one person here this season who's like, "Oh, crap, why am I here?" There's always some who complains every season for whatever reason. There's no one like that here this season.

Thursday was my brother Val's 25th birthday, so I want to give him a shout-out. I spent it in LA. away from him, but it's all cool. We're very tight. My close circle of friends and family understand each other. I spoke to him and he gets it. He encourages me to continue with what I'm doing. Carpe diem. Family will be there forever. He's an amazing kid. He inspires me! He's my ultimate student and someone who looked up to me and followed my path, and now I'm just in awe of everything he's done. We're very close. I'm not there, but I'm there always in spirit. I know he's going to have a great birthday weekend! He's also going to do a routine on the show in the next few weeks with his partner, so we'll see each other soon!

That's all for now. Thanks for reading!