Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Hi everybody!

Hope you had a great week! Thanks for voting for us!

I think Hope was amazing on Monday. It was probably a little more than I expected because she was a little distracted the last couple of games and her commitment to the national team, but she pulled it together and it was perfect. It clicked. I'm very happy about our score. It was exactly what I wanted. I like the three 7s. I wanted to be in the middle of the pack, but I didn't expect 21 to be second from the top, so it was a pleasant surprise.

I thought the scores overall were good. I think it's one of the more even first performances we've had. We don't have a ringer or somebody who's a professional dancer this season and the judges didn't go overboard with their scoring. I think this season is anybody's for the taking. I really think that there are probably four people I see at the end. I definitely think that Hope has the potential. She has the ability to go all the way. I'm hoping that we just keep clicking and keep doing the right things. I think the combination of my pushy personality and her ability to take the rehearsal "punishment" the right way and not get, I guess, offended is what's going to keep us in the game.

I'm honestly not listening to Bruno's comment about her shoulders. She's a goalkeeper and she's the best goalkeeper on the planet. To be the best goalkeeper on the planet, you have to have the body type of a goalkeeper. When you have Bruno tell her that she's too masculine, then that's all it's going to be. We're working on camouflaging things and making her look the best she could possibly look, but I will not change her physique as a goalkeeper. When this is over, she's going to go back and defend the United States' Olympic gold medal and try to get another one. She's a huge part of that team's success and I would be an idiot to try to get her out of goalkeeper shape. My job is to figure out how to make her an amazing dancer without making her less of an amazing goalkeeper.

We started the jive prior to the premiere, so we should be good. I'm very happy about the way it's going right now. I think the biggest challenge with Hope is not just learning the routine, but she needs to learn how to act it out. I know she's not used to acting and faking it — which is what acting is. I want her to know it's not bad faking it, like you're not being true to yourself. It's part of a performance. If you want to be the best at it, then you have to do certain things to make you the best at it. Acting is part of it.

I thought everyone did great this week. I'm super happy for Val. Congratulations to him for his debut! I was worried about him and Elisabetta. She's awesome, but she did get a little stiff. Hopefully she will take all the positive things out of this show and use it to her advantage in the second week. I think the quickstep will be a better dance for them and they'll both learn from the first week. I think Val has a difficult job because Elisabetta is fairly new to this country. Fan base-wise, they'll probably have a more difficult time. Everybody else on the show has a following here. I went on a campaign Monday night to rally some of my troops to help Val and Elisabetta out and I'm extremely grateful because I think they did a tremendous job keeping both of us on the show. Obviously, I'm first and foremost focused on Hope, but the longer Val stays, the more fun we'll have. I just want to enjoy the process. I think if audiences embrace her and give her a chance, they will see a lot of growth. Having said that, it's also a matter of how well they do and how they sparkle and shine. I think they have potential. Val is phenomenal. I'm his biggest fan. They did an awesome routine. I thought the bed idea was hilarious. I loved his respond to Tom Tuesday: "I just wanted to take my shirt off and get in bed." I love it!

Carson's performance was also great. He's very cool. He's a bit partial toward me and I gave him a shoulder rub. He's just perfect for this show. He's super funny, very witty, very clever, very entertaining, and what else do you need from a celebrity on Dancing with the Stars? You want a celebrity who's secure with themselves, is not afraid to put up a performance, has performing qualities, and does their own thing. And that's him. I'm not going to lie — and this may come off as me patting myself on the back — but I'm flattered because you have Nancy Grace going, "You're not Maks," to Tristan and Carson talking about me, and I'm so honored by that. It really does make me feel like dance is making it higher and higher. I'm still true to my trade. I'm not trying to be the center of attention at all, and I think getting recognized by such people like these is a huge responsibility, but also a huge honor. I'm blessed and having fun.

I think Tony and Chynna did a wonderful job as well. They're a perfect partnership. Chynna was incredible. She might be one of the best girls on the show. Tony's an amazing teacher and I'm  pulling for them to make it all the way too. I'm very happy for them.

I think overall the Dance with Me family has done amazingly. Half the troupe is made of us alums. We've taken over the show a bit, so L.A. is a lot more fun now! I'm enjoying it!

That's all for now.