Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Hi everyone,

I hope you enjoyed my Argentine tango with Joanna. It was a lot of fun! Right now, I'm rehearsing for the Michael Jackson tribute on the results show. It's going well. There are a lot of people and we're getting through it and getting a lot of things done. It's going to be a fun dance and a fun experience.

As I said last time, the tribute will be three numbers. Derek and Mark choreographed the first, I choreographed the second and we kind of all choreographed the third one under Cheryl's tutelage. Everybody is stepping in for the third number, which will a big thing. A bunch of Jacksons are going to be there and at the risk of sounding cocky — like Maks! — I'm not nervous. Just kidding! I just want to do a good job. I'm having a blast doing it. Obviously you want to make them proud, but I think they'll be excited. We have a lot of people who are very talented and can do a good job.

As for Monday's show, I think Joanna deserved a standing ovation for what she went through the past week and how she was able to compose herself and not lose focus after the stumble. To me, that's very admirable. Stumble or not, we had a lot of fun. I had a blast dancing. I think it was a sexy dance. It was hot! It would've been the dance of the night without the stumble. Some of the judges came up to me, saying, "We had to cross out a 10." I was like, "Really?" It was close. I wanted to give Joanna her first 10, but I guess it's in the stars that she clearly is not my partner this season and therefore it is up to Derek to get her through the rest of the way.

For the record, we had a day and a half for the routine. She learned that in a day and a half. She never made that mistake before, but it's the element of the live show. She went back with the left instead of the right and I would normally respond faster and you wouldn't even notice it, but unfortunately, I couldn't because we kind of tripped over each other being in such close proximity. But she stayed composed and in character. She should be very proud of it.

What I didn't expect was that I would have two fabulous tango performances this season. I loved my dance with Debi and enjoyed the hell out of this one. I was not expecting Joanna and I to click as well as we did. In rehearsals, it was totally student-teacher relationship and complete and utter trust. She just went with it. I said, "Do you want me to explain to you or should I just take you and throw you?" And she said, "Just take me and throw me." I was like, "Exactly what I wanted to hear!" She did a great job.

As for the other dances, I thought Donny did great. Mya was stellar as usual. I think they're trying not to spoil her with too many 10s. Len finally did the right thing! I think another testament to how well Joanna did is that we stumbled, but we got the same score as some people who did their routines perfectly. Obviously, that shows how good of a dancer she is and how much potential she is.

I've kind of embraced the adviser role, which I think is funny. People ask me for advisc and I'm not going to go as far as coaching everybody, but I've definitely been lending my expertise to some of the dancers. Louie Vito became my project. I didn't do his hair again, but clearly he went with the idea of what we talked about last time! We talked about his arm placements backstage. I talked to Mark Dacascos after his run-through about his posture and presentation. He focuses so much on the steps and everything else that his butt would stick out, but in the paso, you have to present the bullfighter's posture.

Last week, after Anna and Michael found out they were safe, Anna and I went over some of the steps and routines that Michael could do that would be effective for him and not for him to go crazy over — like the simple walk through the count, the staccato with a bit of syncopation — which is exactly what she did. They did a great job.

Donny runs up to me every 30 seconds. "What do you think about this? How about that? Where should I look?" I told him the most important thing is that you forget about all the technique because by the time you perform, you would have put in enough work into it. Now it's about enjoying the dance. You want to look back on it or watch it on YouTube or something and enjoy it. If you're not going to enjoy it while you're doing it, you're not going to enjoy watching it. He got confused for a second and goes, "So do I take her like this? Or do I take her like that?" I'm like, "No. You just look her in the eyes and just do with it." So he did it as an experiment and he came off so ecstatic and said, "I'm not sure what you told me, but it worked. Thanks." He's such a responsible dude. I never expected him to be so nervous, but he finally let go. I told him he was treading waters with his scores. People expect something, but he doesn't really show it because he's standing in his own way — and now he's finally gotten out of his way. I think he did a great job.

I don't know who will be leaving this week. Whoever people voted for the least, I guess! I'm not going to make predictions. But I've got admit I enjoyed the energy backstage tremendously this week. The off-set things are not a lot of fun, but what are you going to do? That's life. Everything backstage was a lot of fun and enjoyable though.

That's all for now. Be sure to tune in for the MJ tribute!

Maks