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September 17, 2014


The highly anticipated 19th season of Dancing with the Stars is finally underway!  We are back in action with weekly updates on our Dance With Me family professionals,Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Tony Dovolani.  Our third man, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, will not be returning this season; however, we already saw him make an appearance at the premiere with former partner and Dancing with the Stars champion, Meryl Davis.  I’m sure that won’t be the last of him.

This season, Val is paired up with actress Janel Parrish from the popular show Pretty Little Liars.  Within moments of meeting, it was obvious that this pair could be the next power couple on the dance floor.  With Janel’s spunk and Val’s skill… Need I say more?  Janel said, “Seeing Val for the first time, I was very excited because I think he’s one of the best dancers on the show…and I love his swag.”

When Val was interviewed after rehearsals, he said, “I love that her and I have a natural chemistry about us and hopefully, it will just blossom into something awesome.”

We are all excited to see this couple develop into what we hope will be the winners of Season 19 of Dancing with the Stars. Janel and Val performed the Jive for their first dance to the song “Bang Bang” by Ariana Grande, Jessie J, and Nicki Minaj. They seemed to be in sync and had a great connection the entire time during this fun routine.

Bruno Tonioli said, “Spicy, hot chili of a girl!  Oh wow!  And naughty, naughty, naughty!   I tell you, you walked out of…I thought I was watching J-Lo! J-Lo at the rock awards.  I mean you really went out full of energy, and you sold it so sexy.  And you know me, I like sexy.  You still have to polish a little bit of the Jive style, especially the kicks and the flicks, but I am telling you I loved it.”

Carrie Ann Inaba agreed with Bruno saying,  “The kicks and the flicks were a little out of control. You…what you have is like, you have this like fearsome courage.  You’re like, ‘I’m gonna hit that, I’m gonna hit that! And that’s not a move, but I’m gonna hit that too!’  You just go for it and I love that!  That is something that Val will be able to work…you need to shape it down and kind of keep it in control, find a bubble, stay in it a little bit, but you’ve got great potential.”

Len Goodman followed by saying, “Well, Jive is a tough dance for week one.  I tell you, you come straight out.  It was sharp, for me it was sharp and clean.  I like that.  I love the underarm turns.  They had plenty of snap and speed in them.  A little bit untidy on occasion, but overall it was a great job, well-done.”

Julianne Hough finished off by commenting, “I completely agree with Len. Week one, to do Jive?  That is cruel.  I’m just gonna put it out there.  But honestly, you are 100% a performer.  You go out there and it is sharp, it is raw, it is sexy, it is fierce. I mean, you girl.  You know how to work it!”

After receiving great reviews from the judges, Janel and Val headed upstairs to speak with co-host Erin Andrews. Erin asked Janel, “What in the heck are you channeling out there in this kind of outfit?  We’re standing here, being on week one!” Janel answered, “He drilled me a lot on my shoulders and my posture, because… What did you say?”  Looking at Val, she adds, “That I had the swag of your grandma in the very beginning?  Which was not very nice.” After everyone was reassured that we all love Val’s grandma very much, it was time to reveal their scores. Though they received 7’s across the board, their obvious chemistry and lively performance started the season off just right, and we are all excited to see Val push Janel to the limit.

VOTE JANEL AND VAL CALL: 1-800-868-3405

Let’s not forget about Tony Dovolani!  This season, he is paired with famous designerBetsey Johnson, who for 72 years old, is in amazing shape! During rehearsals, Betsey showed us her playful, eccentric  personality as she and Tony practiced their Cha-Cha routine. Tony said, “Working with Betsey, the biggest challenge will be her unpredictability.  I think if you open up Betsey’s mind, there’s a circus goin’ on.”

When the music began, they got off to a great start, dancing the Cha-Cha to “Material Girl” by Madonna.  Though our hearts sank when they had a bit of a prop malfunction at the end of their performance, Betsey put a smile right back on our faces with an impromptu cartwheel and split!  It was extremely impressive.

Len was first to say, “I was enjoying it so much. It was so entertaining. It was.  And then the disaster with the boa.  I’m so upset. Betsy, look at my face.  I’m crushed! Julianne said, “You had some really wonderful moments in that and I was so bummed, too.  But girl, you are flexible!  You are awesome!” Finally, Bruno said, “Listen, I love the anarchic, off-the-wall, spunky rebel.  And it’s not me, it’s her.  And you know, and you just went for it with gusto.  It went wrong…it went wrong, my darling.  I’m so sorry.” When they met Erin upstairs, she comforted Betsey by mentioning that there have been plenty of wardrobe malfunctions on the show and praised her for her agility at 72 years old!

The judges awarded Betsey and Tony 5’s across the board.  They were enthusiastic 5’s though!

See the results here:

Alfonso & Witney 36
Sadie & Mark 34
Bethany & Derek 32
Lea & Artem 32
Randy & Karina 31
Jonathan & Allison 30
Janel & Val 29
Tavis & Sharna 29
Tommy & Peta 27
Antonio & Cheryl 25
Michael & Emma 25
Lolo & Keo 22
Betsey & Tony 20

After an exciting premiere it was time to move on to the elimination round. We had a scare when Betsey and Tony were left in the bottom two along with one of the greatest American hurdlers of all time Lolo Jones and partner Keo Motsepe.  Thankfully Betsey and Tony made it through to the next round.  Sadly though we had to say goodbye to Lolo and Keo.

Erin interviewed them one last time and said, “Look I know you’re frustrated we talked about it, you guys said you guys had been texting all night. You’re a professional athlete. You tried dancing. I mean are you glad you were a part of this competition?” Lolo replied, “Absolutely, I wouldn’t have had it any other way because I know Betsey had the malfunction with the boa thing. You know that was a disadvantage for her. Honestly that was just steps on my part. So I’m glad she is staying, she deserves to stay, and you know everybody here did a great job”. Tim responded with, “Nicely said Lolo. Keo on our first season with us obviously we will see you throughout the seasons with some of our dancers. What’s been your impression so far particularly with Lolo?” Keo said, “Oh well, um you know working with her was very interesting because she has so many characters every day like you know. But mostly for me is um I came to the show just to show myself on TV and I am so proud that I did that, and I am so very happy to be here.”

It’s always hard to be the first one voted off but it’s what you learn and take away with from the experience that makes it all worth it.

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