Dancing's Maks: I Admire Erin's Strength, Tony for Teaching Kate
Dancing with the Stars - Maksim Chmerkovskiy
So what did you all think of our waltz? I told you it was going to be risky!
I'm so happy with it and am so proud of Erin. She did a great job. My goal with the dance was to create something of audiences to remember us by in the future. You know how there are certain routines that stand out every couple of seasons and ones that people still talk about? I wanted it to be as memorable as Cheryl and Drew's cowboy dance, or Julianne and Apolo's freestyle, or even my paso with Mel. Those are a few seasons and dances that stand out in people's memories. I'm not going to take full credit for the dance because it was a team effort, but I felt like it was time to do something different. The waltz is one of the simpler dances, very straightforward, so I wanted to change it up. It wasn't just the blindfold; it was the trust part too. That was our story — the whole idea of giving up control. It was like a training exercise and a cool idea all at once. Erin has been through a lot in the past week, and I really admire her strength and commitment to this. She's definitely one of the strongest people I've ever met. She's not a quitter and was able to focus on our dance. It was amazing to see her rise above everything and put on a great performance.
Based on the feedback we've gotten, I think everyone liked what we did except Len! Honestly, I think a lot of people were unfairly picked on this week. Also, I thought it was unnecessary for him to say that he should've given Erin a 6 instead of a 7. That's one of the worst things you can say. Yes, your job is to critique, but a little positivity goes a long way. Everybody's trying their hardest to do well. Last week, I gave props to the pros, and I still have to. When your celebrity's amazing, the judges think you're both great. Then us pros are going crazy because we have to pull amazing and innovative choreography out of our butts every week.
It's also hard on the other end of the spectrum. Let's call a spade a spade: Buzz was not a great dancer. That meant Ashly had to work her butt off to choreograph a routine suited for him that he can dance for 90 seconds. On top of this pressure of choreogrpahing, we have to teach and convince your celebrity that what you're teaching is going to work. You pull out all these cheesy lines: "Practice makes perfect." I just want to say, "Trust me and just do it." It's very hard. Then after all that, you get a comment from a judge that has nothing to do with the technique: It's one of the most boring openings. If he didn't get the story, I don't know what to do! Len requested storytelling after all. Carrie Ann said something about Erin's arm and hand, which is helpful, because it's also something I've told her, so it's refreshing for Erin to hear some confirmation from a judge. Bruno does say things that make sense sometimes! When he does, you walk away thinking, that's quite productive. He said something about timing. I couldn't tell when I was dancing, of course, but when I watched it, I saw that yet, Erin was a little off time, so again, that's helpful. Bruno wasn't helpful, though, when he gave Nicole and Derek a 9 after criticizing them for not doing a proper quickstep. A lot of people in production were commenting about that. Nicole and Derek did a risky dance; Derek was doing the same thing, trying to be innovative and stand out. You heard their story and you heard their song. I thought they did an amazing dance. I think part of the issue was that they didn't figure out how to score everyone with the storytelling aspect in place.
Next week, we get two scores: one for performance and one for technique. Mathematically, it's out of 60, so it gives the higher-scorers an advantage in the end. Hopefully we'll be one of them. The tango is going great. I think we're going to be fine. Erin's doing a wonderful job already. My plan was to do as many steps as possible on the first day — just spoonfeeding her the routine like it's bad medicine — come back and finish the choreography, and she's taking it all in. There will be no blindfold this time! It'll just be a traditional tango.
Last week, I was surprised Shannen left, but I wasn't that surprised when Buzz left this week. He is a great guy, a national hero, and I find it really cool that he took on such a challenge at his age, but he probably should've left first. At the same time, I'm kind of glad he didn't leave first. I'm sure he inspired a lot of people and he made waves by not leaving. Dance-wise, he was the right choice this week.
Jake shouldn't have been in the bottom two, and I hope he makes a comeback next week. He did a good job this week, but I think he needs to take some calming pills! He's such a cool, nice guy, but he's stressing out too much — and he shouldn't. We all feel so bad watching him freak out. We're like, "You're going to have a heart attack!" It's nice to see that he does take it seriously, but you can't take it too seriously. I also think he's not used to being taught, especially by someone young like Chelsie, so Chelsie also needs to find a balance and put her foot down when it's time to work. Last week, they came into our studio because they wanted to use it since it had the mock stage, and Jake came up to me, asking for help. I told him to relax and that I'm going to help him with whatever he wants, but he needs to listen to Chelsie. I think he's going to turn it around next week.
Jake and Kate are in a similar boat. I want to go on record and say I admire Tony — not just because he's my friend. I've spoken to Kate, and I don't think she gets the point of this thing yet. The pain on her face says it all, which is unfortunate. The show is about finding a way to come out, enjoy yourself and have fun. Tony is trying to relay the message while responsibly getting the routine done. He has a plan, and she needs to focus and listen to him. The idea of a coach and a student is deeply rooted in us. We were taught to respect our teachers, so as teachers, we expect to be respected by our students. Every student is different, so we must teach differently, but we're always respectful. Kate needs to trust him. However lifeless that paso was, he had her ready with the routine. I hope she improves and I think she can if she realizes she has an opportunity that she won't have again. It's a chance for her to focus on something other than personal drama. How many women with multiple kids sit back and reminisce about the days they could go and dance when they watch our show? How many people vicariously live through us? You need to enjoy it.
Dancing is not super complicated. If you look up the word, dancing is not walking in weird patterns to music. Dancing, even in the stone ages, is a form of expression. It may have even been the first language before languages were born. People will gesture and get their feelings across with body movements. It's beautiful, free and fun. People need to remember that. Derek, Erin and I were hanging out one day, and she goes, "Doesn't it feel like the days are flying by?" Yes! We've been working together for six weeks! You need to be in the moment and take it all in. If you don't and are just stressing out, making things harder on yourself, the next thing you know, you could be eliminated. It'll all be over and you will regret not enjoying the moment.
Speaking of time, I need more hours in the day! This week is crazy! The U.S. nationals are taking place, so my kids are out here. I'm trying to see as many people as I can. I'm going to be on the judging panel, which is a big honor. Val is still here with his partner. He hasn't lost a title in, like, 10 years! I hope you enjoyed our pro numbers this week. Val wasn't too keen on the cowboy one at first because I threw in some cowboy-like movements, but I was like, "Dude, this is what the majority of the country is about. Just check it out." I'm not well-versed in country western, but I think it's important to try new things and not be stuck on the same thing. I tried making a cowboy accent too, which was horrible! Just try to imagine a Russian living in Texas speaking English! I hate to make Tom sound anything less than perfect, but his line about three Russians and one Pole doing country western was from me — if you can imagine it! Tom came up to me later and said, "Thank you for the line." Any time, Tom! He still comes up with his own material on the fly, of course. We do so much random stuff with him on stage, between the butt-pinching and the blindfolding. I wish they show more of that!
There's one last thing I want to mention because I think it's important. If you haven't seen, heard about or read it yet, there is a column in the Toronto Star by Rosie DiManno about Erin, in which she bashes her for being on the show. You can read it here. In short, she calls Erin a bimbo — basically a hot chick that draws male viewers — and that journalistically she does nothing. She says doesn't understand why Erin, when given such a job, would ruin it by participating in Dancing, which she says is D-List or D-Cup in Pam's case. I usually try to keep my negative opinion to myself — I'm opinionated, but I never bash — but I need to speak up here for Erin. I never say anything without absolutely clarity in what I'm saying, and in this case, Rosie has no idea what she's talking about. I call it a bubble wrap article. There is no substance. She gets off on her own creative writing — putting together complex sentences. It makes her feel like she's powerful. She does have a voice and an opinion — she is a columnist — but she needs to be responsible. Unfortunately in this case, she's not. Erin is probably one of the most knowledgeable people in sports I know. Trust me, I spent three weeks following her around while she was working. She goes the extra mile for a story. She's the only one allowed in the huddle during a game. She knows what she's talking about.
It's not my job to defend Erin — I normally don't care what is written about me and my partners because we know the truth — but I'm completely defending her here because it's unfair for anyone to come out and say this. As far as participating, Erin has something to say. Everyone has a reason for doing the show. Debi had one, Mel had one, Laila had one, Misty had one, Denise had one — I can tell you none of them had a negative agenda. You utilize being on this platform and the chance to be heard. Erin understands that. Given what has happened to her in the past year, she wants to come and speak out for hundreds of other people who unfortunately had suffered the same thing. It would be a shame if she were to hide and let it eat her alive. No, she's strong and doing something positive. I admire her for that. What is the shame in going on a show that promotes love and respect? It's been said before, but it needs to be said again: Our show is one of the few, if not the only, purist shows left that is positive and something everyone of all ages can watch. And you have the nerve to bash it? Where is your dignity in saying something negative about Erin?
How I grew up, it's not "turn the other cheek"; it was "eye for an eye." I'm not a vengeful person, but I'm all about justice. There is no justice about this thing. The Internet and social media has completely unified our planet and is great for marketing and all that, but at the same time, it's given people who are not brave enough to come out and speak the power to hide behind a screen to say whatever they want. If you're a blogger, hater, viewer, fan, whatever, fine. But if you're a journalist calling out Erin's journalistic integrity, where is yours? She's uninformed — on Erin and the show. If she wants to write, she needs to write fiction.
That's all for now. Thanks for reading!