Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Hi everyone,

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

So we got the top score! It felt great! I mostly was just happy that Brandy got rewarded for all the hard work she put into our quickstep. She's doing all the right things. It's very hard to explain to people why you get criticized. For obvious things, it's fine. We can go back and work on it. But when you get criticized for vague things I can't explain or barely get criticized at all, we're in a state of confusion. She was applauded for what she did. I didn't have to go back and find an explanation for anything.

I honestly was surprised at how well the dance turned out to begin with because of the state of mind and the way the week began. But we persevered, worked hard and pulled through. I'm not saying we work harder than anybody else. We just know we're in the studio a lot. It takes a lot to stay consistent. I think Brandy's getting the hang of this ballroom dancing thing and Dancing with the Stars as a competition. I totally see the potential is there. This is very different from anything she's done in her life. We're finding a way to deal with all the difficult elements. It all came together in the quickstep. I know my grandma was watching over us. My mom called me from Russia. My family's coping. We're just hoping that grandma's in a better place. My grandpa's doing fine. All his kids are there now. We're just trying to figure out that he'll be OK later on.

We have the tango next week. It's going well. We're taking the same approach. Like the quickstep, we have a dance that has us in a close position the entire time. It's the challenge of making it as exciting as possible since other couples have the paso doble, which is a much more visually exciting dance. We're just trying to do the best tango we can. I'm a little concerned about the costumes because we have to do things that represent Rock 'n' Roll. We have a rock song and the floor is going to be black. I know some people don't like all the themes, but I don't mind them. You will never be able to please everybody. Producers are doing what they can to make it entertaining. I just want to make sure that the focus doesn't shift from ballroom dancing. The simplest comparison I can think of is asking a pro swimmer to swim in something other than water. I'm just worried about the changes to the floor. It's not hardwood, so it poses some difficulty. I know there's going to be some rips and stuff. But we're all in the same situation. We all need to figure out how to be our best. I feel like they can experiment and we'll see how it goes. There's no way of predicting what it's going to be like.

We also have the Rock 'n' Roll marathon. We started working on ours a little bit. We'll put together like a 30-to-40-second routine mix of jive, swing and lindy and go from there. The biggest challenge will be to dance for a long period of time. They didn't choose an easy dance for four minutes. It's really about stamina and creativity. We'll put together a more active routine. The thing with the marathon is that the audience doesn't get to see the whole floor, especially for those watching at home. So you watch whoever you're drawn to. But this is more of a ballroom format where there are so many couples dancing at the same time, so you need to be active.

But honestly, my focus right now is the tango. I'm so in my head as far as the tango goes. Brandy and I had a long conversation Wednesday. We got a taste of what it's like to be on top and we want to stay there. We don't want to rest on laurels and say, "That's good enough." I'm focused on bringing out the best in her every week. She said she's considering putting some stuff on hold because she wants to do her best as well. Every celebrity who does the show does it to promote themselves in some way, but I always believe that the publicity will absolutely come to you. If you do too much publicity during the show, it could cost you. Or you could be on the show until the end and the publicity will come to you after you're done. Also, I want her to get the most out of this experience. You blink and it's all over. We're halfway done now. Five weeks sounds like a long period of time, but it's short in this competition. I'm happy that she actually told me that. I was like, "OK, great."

That's all for now. Thanks for reading.

Maks