Hope you're doing well! Thank you for voting for us!
Sorry for not blogging last week — we got tied up in rehearsals. It was tough since it was the first week with two dances, so I guess there's twice as much to cover now.
So let's just get down to Monday night. First off, I want to say that I really do feel blessed and privileged to be part of the show. This is my family. This is something I have dedicated myself to for the last six years of my life and I'm definitely not taking it for granted. It's something I look forward to every season. I love meeting incredible people and making friends. That alone is something you can't replace. But families fight. Val and I disagree. Everybody disagrees. Everybody always argues with their parents. You can't go through life with nothing but smiles and happiness. I'm bound to be a little pissed sometimes. At the end of the day, we're all doing our part to make the show what it is. And that was what I was trying to say Monday. I had a clear thought in my head and in the heat of the moment on live TV, I couldn't get it out properly. In no way do I think this is my show. It's not my show! Not at all! We all know that. I was trying to say this show has been and is a huge part of my life, and I — along with everyone else — have contributed to making it what it is. As for what I said to Len, I was just speaking my mind. I wasn't trying to say I'm better than him or anybody nor was I trying to teach anybody anything. The only person I'm trying to teach right now is Hope. I am not in a position to tell anybody what to do or how to judge. I just had something to say and I said it. We all have an opinion. One thing I want to be clear on is that I'm not against criticism. It has nothing to do with Hope being criticized; it has to do with how she was criticized. I wanted to protect my partner. I have no regrets doing that. I've moved past it. A lot of people, especially the media, are dwelling on it, but I've moved on. And in case you're wondering, no, I have not talked to the judges since because we never talk to the judges outside of the show. We're kind of kept separate and we don't interact until we're taping.
Hope and I had fun doing the rumba, and I'm proud of her performance. It's not new for Hope to be criticized and to have to prove herself. We had a long conversation. She called me and said, "This is our seventh week. That's pretty crazy." I realized that, and I always say during the show every season, "We should all embrace it." We blinked and it's Week 7. It's a milestone of sorts. It's not going unnoticed in my book. I'm very proud of her and how much she's done. Even if she's not good enough of a dancer to compete with some of the front-runners, I don't look at it that way. It's the fact that she was given the opportunity to dance. There won't be another Olympic gold medalist, Golden Glove-winning goalkeeper that will also have an opportunity to learn how to dance. That's something to be proud of. We're focusing on the positive.
We have the samba next and a team paso doble with Ricki and Derek, and Rob and Cheryl. Rehearsals have been going great. We started our group rehearsal Tuesday after the show and now we mostly have to work on our solo spots in the routine. Our samba has a Halloween theme, of course, and it's a lot of fun. It's just another opportunity to dress up, so I think it will be a fun show.
I don't know what, if any, effect my comments on Monday had on voting, but I was not trying to mobilize fans or distract from Hope's rumba. I want people to vote or not vote based on Hope's performance, not anything else. So as usual, I was not nervous or anything Tuesday because voting's over. What's done is done. If people think we deserve to stay, then we stay. If they think we should go, then we go. We are grateful to still be here, of course.
I think Chaz left a proud man. He left as somebody who has achieved something and is proud of his achievement. He faced a lot of adversity on the show. He embraced it and that's the good part about it. I love people who come on and really give it their all. I feel proud that they embrace ballroom dancing. They will take fond memories from this experience. We have another ballroom enthusiast in Chaz. Whether he overstayed or not, it's not up to us. It's up to everybody who voted. Regardless, I'm proud of him, Carson and everyone else who came on and embraced it.
I want to say a big thank you to all my fans. I'm a very private person when it comes to my life. I always refer to my family as my backbone and as the source of my support, but this week, I truly felt like I had an extended family in the fans. It's an incredible feeling to know that you have so many people from all over the world supporting you. I've gotten messages from Germany, Africa, all over the place. It's been bananas. I've never felt that much support in my life and I want to be very clear: This does not fuel my "anger." I'm not angry. I'm not like, "Oh, wow, people like it. Let me be even more outspoken." I didn't try to be controversial. I was saying it because that's how I felt. I wasn't trying to be disrespectful.
It's very hard to explain to everybody out there, but I would really like an opportunity to face everybody who doesn't like me. I'm very humble when I say that. I'm not a bad person. The media has been running a story about how I supposedly "badmouthed" Derek. I never did such a thing and I would never do such a thing. I love Derek. This kid is one of the most talented people I know. He comes from an immensely talented family and I've been in awe of what they've done and where they're going. I said nothing about bad about him. The best part of being where I am is that my voice is being heard; the worst part is that my voice is being heard. The media, especially the tabloids and blogs, love to spin nothing into something. We're almost not allowed to say anything because God forbid someone twists our words or start rumors. So everybody that has supported me, thank you. That doesn't begin to describe it. To everybody who felt like I was a bad person, you're entitled to your opinion. Honestly, I would absolutely love to have some kind of meeting with everyone who doesn't like me. I believe that when you speak to me and when you see me that you will see you have misunderstood me. But you always have that chance to be misunderstood. I'm certainly at fault for that with what I said Monday. Again, what I said came out wrong and I get that.
One last thing: We have an incredible event on Sunday. It's a Dance with Me showcase in Brooklyn at Grand Prospect Hall. Kirstie's participating in it and it's going to be great. Kirstie's a dear, dear friend of mine and she's just been incredible. She's been phenomenal for everything dance. She hasn't stopped dancing since we last danced in May. It's an absolute honor to know I was part of her dance experience. She's been traveling and raising money for charities, and for her to make a stop deliberately to participate in an event of ours is beyond any honor that I can even imagine. We'll have all our dancers. Val is back, Dasha is back. It's going to be beautiful. I'm really going to encourage people to come and enjoy dancing. It's just dancing. No judging. No comparing. No confrontation. Just come and see somebody express emotions through movement. They're putting their heart and soul into it, just like everyone on the show is. I want people to watch Dancing with the Stars for the dancing. It's not Judging the Stars. People sometimes forget what dancing is. When I started teaching at 16 in my first studio, one thing I remember was from my first class of 33 students. Their parents came and some of the kids were older than me. I said to them: "Do you know what dance is? Dance is simply an interpretation of what you feel. It's non-verbal communication. It's how to communicate without speaking." When Chaz, Carson, Kirstie, Brandy or Hope dance, they don't try to be better than others, they're dancing for themselves and are trying to convey their message through dance.
That's all for now. Thanks for reading!