Maksim Chmerkovskiy Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Hi everyone!

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

I think Kirstie did awesome. The jive is one of the hardest dances and one of her least favorites. She doesn't like the constant jumping, but she handled it very well. She embraced the things that she needed to embrace. The French thing was her idea and I think it worked. 

I have no idea why we had latex gloves in the rehearsal studio. I found a closet where we keep stuff like warmup gear and medicine balls. I thought we would have an elastic band, but we didn't. Instead, I found the gloves and pulled a MacGyver. I don't know why they're in there, but I'm convinced it has to with Derek. If I'm pointing fingers, I'm pointing them at Derek! All joking aside, the gloves really helped! You have to kick underneath you in the jive, so they helped Kirstie keep her knees in place. I tried the whole intimidation thing with the glove snap, but it didn't work with her! When they do it in the movies, it's fake. Kirstie just laughed at me. 

Next week, we have to recreate an iconic dance and the stars will be the creative directors. We're going to do the cha-cha to "Moves Like Jagger" modeled after Carson Kressley's routine. It was such a memorable performance and he was awesome. I really miss Carson. Although I love that Sabrina got the chance to dance again, I would have loved if Carson came back. Maybe we'll have him in rehearsal. It will be fun. Kirstie's excited to be in charge. Basically all I'll be doing is the choreography, but she'll have a lot of say in that too. I'm going to step back on the wardrobe and everything else. Normally, we go to wardrobe, she says what she wants, I pick the material that I think will suit the idea and wardrobe makes it. Then I usually look at the costume and give my opinion if it's good or if I want something changed. I will not get to do that this week. Kirstie will have the final say, so who knows what I'll be wearing Monday! Seriously though, the outfits will be Jagger-related. He's an iconic figure. I've never seen him live and Kirstie jokes that she was rocking out to his concerts while I was still in kindergarten. 

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I just want Kirstie to be happy. We're having a lot of fun. When the audience sees our rehearsal footage, I think they're expecting funny things. I still try to make her into a better dancer than she ever thought she could be. That requires a lot of discipline. It also requires me being more stubborn than her. That's the only way I can prevail. Our dynamic is really cool. We literally feed off each other's energy and jokes. Once in a while, I get into a "no smile" zone. She gets into whatever she gets into. She understands that that's what made her get to the finals the first time around. She lets me do that. I always take a step forward with what she wants, which is humor and laughter. We're close to figuring the perfect balance of that.Joey leaving was really upsetting. No one wanted to see him go. No one wants to see anyone go! Kym really took it to heart. All us pros feel like our celebrity leaving is our fault. I believe we need to do our best. If we fail to bring the best out of our celebs, then we fail. Kym should be proud. She did a phenomenal job with Joey. Joey is the best. He makes everything fun and entertaining. He was a character we really needed to have on the show. There's going to be a very different dynamic in the rehearsal studio now. He's the goofball of the bunch. We have to pick up the slack and those are big shoes to fill. I can't explain how or why he left. Maybe the audience was comfortable thinking he would make it. The next thing you know, he's out. I didn't hear exactly what Len said to him, so I'm not sure how much of an impact that had. Usually, you would think negative comments would spur fans to vote. Who knows what happened. Every season is unpredictable, but this one is more so. We kind of go OK, OK, until we realize, "It's Helio and Joey in the bottom two!" Except for Sabrina, everybody left is a winner or a finalist. Most of these people have never been eliminated before, so every week is going to be shocking. The double elimination next week is going to be terrifying.What was funny was that Kirstie and a lot of the cast had no idea about the double elimination. We get a whole printout of the rules and plans for the season before each season starts and we need to sign off on it. The thing is, 99.9 percent of the people don't read it and just sign it and move on. I did read it and saw that Week 3 is a double elimination, so I knew it was coming and I think most of the pros knew. Kirstie — c'mon, do you think she read anything before she signed? She was completely shocked when Tom announced it. I was like, "Are you serious? You signed your name."So far, I think the half-point system is doing its job. It gives the judges a chance to differentiate slightly and it gives the audience mental comfort. Sometimes you'll have a performance that's not quite a 7, but not quite a 6 either, so the half-points are good for cases like this. I think it's done for the legitimacy of the judging. It gives them the power to separate people and gives the audience a chance to see that. Right now, everything is so tight. It's like half a point difference between six couples. I'm not really focused on the scores at all. We want to improve, of course, but I'm more focused on building Kirstie as a dancer and making sure she's enjoying it all.I want to give another shout-out to our Dance With Me family. Every location has been throwing Monday night

 viewing parties, which is awesome. It's fun how people rally together and turn it into an event. I want to say thank you to all the fans. Your support is felt. I don't really feel negativity this season. I feel like people are enjoying the show and I love the love.Thanks for reading!Maks