Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Hi everyone,

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

Well, we had another very good week. Our team dance went great and I'm so proud of Brandy for the foxtrot. Gilles was funny because he came up to us afterward and apologized for giving us a 9. I told him, "Friendship aside, you were being the judge."

I mean, I've got to admit, I felt like the whole time the celebrity judges weren't particularly looking for anything. I think having the celebrity judges was an exciting gimmick. They were more or less there to say something nice, give a 10 and move on. I felt like Gilles wanted to give a 10. I don't think there's anything wrong with them handing out "free" scores to inflate our scores.

Len's 10 was the highlight for Brandy this season. She was like, "Oh my God!" I'm not trying to show off or whatever, but I seriously think she did one of the best performances. People are talking about the face she made after her little slip-up, but it was minor and I still think, overall, she did a fantastic job. Whether or not judges deduct points for that is up to them. It's totally up to the viewers. I'm just focused on having Brandy do her best.

Rick leaving is another example of the judges not being a factor. I don't know why he got fewer votes, but it's totally undeserving. I feel like his fans were like, "Oh, he's safe." He's a stand-up guy. This guy is amazing. I can compare him to Jerry Rice and how super-nice, genuine and smart he is. He has this very contagious smile. I know some people were surprised that Bristol was safe, especially since she said she wanted to go home. I feel like, why would you want to go home? You put yourself out there for people to vote — and they do — and instead of embracing it, you're undermining the participation. If she embraced it better, I think she'd be having a lot more fun.

So next week, we have the waltz and the Cha-Cha for Instant Dance. First, I think everyone needs to know that getting music the last minute is part of competitive ballroom competitions. You work on five routines, go to the competition and you don't know what music they're going to play. But Dancing with the Stars is not a competitive ballroom competition. The beauty of Dancing with the Stars is that we can come up with the costume, the look and the stage performance beforehand so we can put on a show for people. It's not a straight-up dance competition. And we have to teach the celebrities. They only just got familiar with learning a dance in a week and now they don't get the music. So for our purposes, it's going to be messy. If anything, I find it unfair to the celebrities because we've had past winners going like, "I would never be able to do this. This format is crazy." Seven seasons ago — which sounds like a long time ago, but isn't because we have two seasons a year — we had a show that everybody loved and everybody watched. And it was a simple show. The dances are still iconic and phenomenal. If you noticed, on the list of iconic dances, most of them were from the middle seasons, except for Nicole, who was out of this world last season. It got so crazy in the later seasons.

The format and changes are wearing on the professionals too. We are mentally drained and physically exhausted. I've been sick this entire season. I know they want to try new things and keep people on their toes, but I also think it will make for better TV if you can prepare properly. I'm a proud professional and I would never let myself come out with a mediocre product, but I'm going to give a hard thought about what I want to do. I've said this before, but the only thing I can compare it to is to have a professional swimmer swim in Jell-O.

I'm the best at what I do under the proper circumstances. It doesn't make me less professional. I don't want to do instant dances or dance marathons because there's no way to properly prepare for it. I don't understand why we got Argentine tango and paso doble in our semifinal if we get there. They're just way too similar.

All I know is, it's been go-go-go constantly. I haven't seen my family. I haven't sat down. In order for me to provide for my family, I need to work for the entire year. I don't take vacation. After this season is over, I continue working on my studios, shows and other projects. The season is very, very hard. I haven't sat down in four and a half years. But then I go, "I love it." I saw my past partners and we had a great time hanging out and talking. I haven't won yet — and I want to point out that there were only five professionals in the top 10 dances. I think I've done something right, but other times, I go, "I want to go home." I haven't seen my mom. I have to rely on the phone. Then I feel I'm not a good enough son or grandson. All the tabloids and gossip blogs keep saying that Brandy is a diva and I hate her and stuff like that — which couldn't be further from the truth. We have so much fun together and what they don't know is that Brandy was trying to convince me to go to Russia together so I could see my grandma before she died. She had her publicist try to convince my publicist. I sat her down and said, "I love you for even having this thought, but we logistically cannot." It's probably one of the most amazing things anyone has considered. It's an 18-hour flight and then a 9-hour drive. I feel so protective over Brandy because I know how amazing she is as a person, as a mother and how she's turning out to be a true friend. What has she done to deserve the crap that's been written? But the fact that she was willing to do that so I could see my grandma and be with my family speaks volumes about her.

That was a lot of venting! But I guess the bottom line is that the show is no joke. I am having a blast with Brandy, but it has been a difficult season overall. But I am not going to let any negative feelings derail our focus. I know we can get better and I feel like we've really hit our stride.

That's all for now. Thanks for reading!

Maks