Dancing with the Stars - Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Hi everyone!

Did you miss me? I'm back to blog about Season 10 of Dancing with the Stars. I'm really excited for the season — I think it's going to be great — and I'm having a lot of fun with my partner, Erin Andrews.

I'm in Atlanta right now for the Duke-North Carolina game on Friday. Apparently Duke's coaches love me. I don't know what that means! I'm a little afraid that I'm going to be on the sideline and they'll be like, "Hey, do the cha-cha!" It's going to be fun. I've never been to a college game before. It's like if you've never gone swimming before to be dropped into the ocean.

Erin and I are having a great time. Any time you come into the show, you start off with the whole, "It's gonna be fun, great." Blah, blah, blah. And then sometimes some things get in the way. I think with Erin, there won't be any distractions and we're going to have a fun time. She's really funny, very down-to-earth, tomboyish, very athletic, just a lot of fun to be around. She jokes all the time, but then I noticed that we've only had one full practice so far because of her scheduling. We started at 9 a.m. and then she had to fly out for work. We only finished because our producers were like, "Um, you have a flight, remember?" And she's like, "Oh, right! I gotta go!" We totally didn't notice. I like that. I get to really teach and not have to worry about motivating and baby-sitting a little bit.

We have the cha-cha as the first dance and Erin is doing well. As some of you know, she was on a dance team in college cheering for the basketball team. I don't want to disrespect their trade, but I honestly don't know the difference between what they were doing and cheerleading, but apparently there's a huge difference. Again, no disrespect. It's kind of like someone saying to me, "Oh, you're a ballet dancer." No, not at all. I gotta say — not to be a hypocrite or anything — we've all had partners in the past who've had dance backgrounds or some type of performing experience, but I think this season is a little more even. We have Nicole, we have Evan. Collectively, I think the media and the people in the cast and the producers — we need to put that idea that "this is not fair" to rest. It is what it is. I'm the first to point something like this out — not as an unfair advantage, but as a fact. But I think it's going to be a fun season. We have frontrunners, people with humongous fan bases and national treasures. I believe this is the best cast so far. I want go all the way. I want to be in the finals. I don't want to finish halfway through the season and sit on the sideline. But it's the nature of the show. People vote. You've got the power. The beauty of our show is that we can't control that. We just have to come out strong each week and just be who we are. I think you are going to love Erin. She's very earthy. She's very cool, very funny.

We had a cast party on Monday and all got to meet each other. Everybody is very nice. Usually there are, like, whispers, but this season, everybody's chilling, friendly and accessible. There's no drama whatsoever. Buzz was walking around with a congressional medal of honor. Somebody's like, "Oh my God, I didn't know he had that." I go, "Well, out of six billion people, he's one who went to the moon, so I'm pretty sure he deserved one." Then you look to the other side and you see Pamela Anderson. I met Pamela Anderson! That's it! Obviously, Tony and I really close, so our partnerships are going to be really close too. I spoke for an hour with Kate. I think she's really cool. I'm really happy that she gets to do this. From what I hear from Tony, she's taking it on exactly the way as she should. My parents had me and my brother, and we were a handful. Imagine having eight! I'm really happy for her that she gets to do something as fun as this. Hopefully she'll be able to balance it all out. Edyta has another hunk. That's not a bad-looking couple at all!

We only have 11 couples this season, a big improvement from last season. We had a lot of talks after last season. There were a lot of people in the cast. It was a huge crowd in the back. There are going to be some fun changes this season with the format. I don't want to reveal too much. There are some changes to, not the actual stage, but what happens around it. It's going to be a cool season and a lot of work. The level of competition went up tremendously. We had Kristi Yamaguchi one season, Melissa Rycroft the next, Mel B. one season, but we've never had them all together at once. We have Evan, Nicole, Erin, Chad Ochocinco — I'm very excited to see him. I'm just looking forward to seeing everyone on the same season.

We have a new pro this time too. Damian is great! We became really close friends when I got on Burn the Floor. I really tried to get him on the show. I'm not going take the credit, but I had really hoped that they would. We spoke a lot with him as far as what to expect, how it is and everything else. I'm very happy for him. I'm very happy that he got Pamela. It's something of a culture shock, but from what I hear, he's having a great time.

I expect the judges to do what they do. I think this season is going to be a lot nicer, fun, chill and happy. This is our 10th season. We've had shows where there was a lot of drama, where there's some kind of controversy, where there's some kind of weirdness going around on set. But they're trying to put that aside this season, like, "Hi, we're Dancing with the Stars and we're different and we're cool. We're something for the entire family to watch." I think that's what the production was trying to achieve — going back to the original format of a fun, family entertainment show. Drama is going to happen, but there are different types of drama. The drama on this show should be the struggle of doing something that you haven't done before. Certainly Erin and I will have our share of problems because there always are. We've already established that no matter what kind of dance background you have, this is a completely different animal and it's not easy as people think it may be.

The other change, of course, is that Samantha has left. I think there are, like, 20 candidates to replace her. I have no idea if they've picked anyone yet. I'm just as eager as anyone to find out. I know Mel would love to do it. It's really fun to see how most of the people who have done the show want to be part of it after they leave in one form or another. I would love to see Mel on set every day. We had a great time and she's got a great personality and amazing energy. We'll see!

If you've been following me on Twitter, then you know I got a dog in the off-season: Sir Sleep-A-Lot! He's at home right now. I was going to fly him out, but because we're traveling for three weeks before the show starts, it was too difficult. He's still a puppy — 5 months old. I don't want him to be stressed out. Two nights ago, our very close friends got a baby girl bull dog, so he has a girlfriend! Her name Kuzya. She is gorgeous. She is the most adorable thing and apparently they've already met. She's only 8 weeks old. I told them not to put them together yet because she hasn't had her vaccinations yet, but Sleep is good. I don't know if he'll be out in L.A. when the show starts, but I'm sure Val is gonna fly out and bring him over.

I've been keeping busy the past couple of months and got to go a lot of wonderful places. I went to the Winter X Games to watch Louie compete. That was a lot of fun. My brother and Tony skied, and my brother snowboarded. They had a blast doing it. I had a lot of fun standing! I also went all over South America. I went to Argentina and Cuba. It was so great! I was doing research for a couple of projects that I'm working on. I've also opened a new studio — Dance with Me SoHo. Honestly, it's something that I'm probably the most proud of. It's right on Broome and Greene Street. I remember driving from Brooklyn to New Jersey back in the day going to my first studio and saying, "One day, I'll open up here." It was kind of a farfetched dream, but next thing you know, last Friday, it opened. Life has a funny way of turning things around. I've definitely had a great off-season. I'm just trying to stay busy and everything I do brings me joy, no matter how difficult it is. In my last entry, I mentioned getting into radio as a joke. You should know it's not something I'm pursuing right now. But, hey, if it happens... I think it's a bit risqué for someone to give me a mic and say, "Here! Say whatever you want!" I don't think people are ready for that!

That's all for now! Thanks for reading!