Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Hi everyone!

Hope you had a great week!

Well, we're just a few days away. Everything's looking good. We are polishing up our cha-cha. Kirstie's improvement and progress grow in leaps and bounds every day. I'm so proud of her. It's important that she feels comfortable in her own skin. Her practice attire has changed. We've been rehearsing hard and long. It's been very interesting to see the transformation. I've had great partners before, but this is the first time I can see the transformation within a 24-hour period. I can't wait for Monday.

We have so much fun in rehearsals that sometimes it's hard to believe we get any work done. But we do! We joke and laugh all the time, but at the same time, she's very determined and I'm very determined, so we know how to focus and get to work. There hasn't been any "drama." I think she cries every night when she gets home and has to ice everything, but everyone does that! She's embracing it so well. She wants every moment we have in the studio. She's into everything: thinking about ideas, what songs we could dance to, costumes. I love her participation.

Our cha-cha is just going to be a straight-out cha-cha. Nothing fancy or out there. It's very hard to tame the Kirstie Alley in Kirstie Alley, but she's so responsible with the choreography. I had to tell her to enjoy it so she doesn't over-think it.

I want to help Kirstie prove everything to herself and to others. I don't think people dismiss us per se, but no one knows what to expect from her. She has a huge following and people who look up to her, but even her supporters really don't know what to expect. That's the fun part. No one knows yet except for production. She's funny, but what will she dance like? She's in a category of her own. She does not fit into any category of the previous celebrities we've had on. We're going to come out and do our thing on Monday. My goal is for her to stand out in this very able cast — we have a great bunch, from young people who are going to be great, athletes and a lot of personalities. I just want Kirstie to stand out and create her own spotlight. I'm not saying she's a dark horse because no one can predict these things. I haven't seen one poll or predictions piece this season — not that I'm not interested, but I just haven't. But you never know who could surprise in a good or bad way. I just know that from my past experience, it isn't about the polls and predictions because they don't really come true.

I have no idea how anyone else is doing. Everybody's back in town now and we'll have camera-blocking on Sunday. I'm not interested in watching others. I'm very happy with being preoccupied with Kirstie. It's fun. There's not a boring moment. A lot of the time, when people are running into your rehearsals, they're taking a break or have nothing else to do. Even when we are taking a break, we just talk. She's very smart. I learned a lot from her, so we're not interested in spying on everyone else.

As of right now, I have no idea what else production has planned for the premiere. I'm sure they're planning some opening. I'm just excited to get it all started. I think this season is going to be interesting.

Everything else is going great. Sleep is so big now. He's growing up before my eyes! He's just big and happy and very cute! He won't be coming out to L.A. though. I don't think it's healthy for a pet that's never flown. He's a New Yorker anyway. When I come home, it takes him about five minutes, but he remembers me and it's all good.

One last thing I want to tell you all about is my jewelry line that's coming out next month on Amazon.com. People have been asking me about my bracelets and stuff, so now you can get them yourselves! It's men's jewelry, but we think anyone can wear them. No name yet. We're still finalizing that, but I'll let you know first!

That's all for now! Thanks for reading!

Maks