‘DWTS’ Pro Val Chmerkovskiy Says Olivia Jade ‘Has More Than Proven Herself’
Last week on Dancing With the Stars, the judges were forced to choose between saving beauty vlogger Olivia Jade and her pro partner, Valentin Chmerkovskiy, or Spice Girl Melanie C and her pro, Gleb Savchenko from elimination in the dance competition reality series. Judge Len Goodman cast the deciding vote opting to keep the former duo.
On Monday, October 25, Jade and Chmerkovskiy are hoping to prove that Goodman made the right call as they hit the floor to perform the Paso Doble to “Beggin’” by Måneskin for the show’s horror-themed night.
TV Insider chatted with the duo on what was going through their minds when they learned they were in the bottom two, how they feel about Goodman’s decision, and how Chmerkovskiy can relate to Jade, who came onto the show under a unique spotlight.
What was going through your mind in those last moments before finding out you were safe?
Valentin Chmerkovskiy: A lot of things. It was a beautifully constructed mixture of disappointment, fear, beautifully seasoned with a little bit of anger and frustration. Mostly, at the core of it all was hope. Hope and a little bit of praying.
Olivia Jade: I was just nervous. That was really the only emotion I was feeling. I was also fearful we were going to go home. I’m glad we’re still around.
What did you think of the judges’ calls and, then, Len’s decision to save you?
Jade: I felt like I, too, would save a Spice Girl. That was my thought on Carrie Ann [Inaba] and Bruno [Tonioli] saving Mel and Gleb. Derek, love you for the save. And, Len? Really love you for the ultimate save.
Chmerkovskiy: Damn, Len! Len committed the ultimate treasonous act of not supporting his own fellow Brit [Melanie C]. It felt good that he chose us. We’ve worked really hard. It was disappointing to be down there with Mel C in the bottom two. With all due respect to everyone in this competition, as much as I’m rooting for you all, I’m rooting for Olivia to win.
What’s the plan for the Paso Doble on “Horror Night”?
Jade: The plan is to channel our most powerful energy and put it into our performance. I think the Paso Doble has a lot of energy in it. [This] will be my biggest challenge.
Chmerkovskiy: Our plan for this dance is to make it the best dance of the season. I think [it being the Paso Doble] will lend itself to that. It’s a very strong and powerful dance. It’s very dynamic. There’s a lot of back and forth. Olivia is going to showcase herself in a way that she hasn’t before all season. I hope the judges will like it and that the audience will vote.
Val, people had preconceived notions about you when you came onto the show in Season 13 for no other reason than you were Maks’ younger brother. You let your dancing and teaching abilities – not to mention some awesome violin playing – speak for themselves. Do you hope that audiences see Olivia in a new light through her hard work and performances?
Chmerkovskiy: Yeah. That’s a good point. Olivia and I have a lot of things in common. Me, having gone through some of those things give me somewhat of a valuable thought process and I can lend Olivia some decent advice. I think Olivia brings years of maturity beyond her age. She’s been a pleasure to work with. As I said in the beginning, let’s not concern ourselves with seeking anyone’s approval and let’s focus more on the work at hand, which is learn how to dance, how to dance well, and learn how to dance well in a season of great dancers and performers.
We have so much work cut out for ourselves. If we just try to be the best versions of ourselves every single day then all of that will add up. It’s just about doing that. As far as this competition goes, Olivia has more than proven herself to be a worthy competitor this season.
Olivia, Val said early on that he wouldn’t fight for a girl who didn’t deserve it and that he’s excited about this season. How does it make you feel when he compliments your charm, work ethic, and talent?
Jade: Any sort of compliment feels great and is sweet but it means so much more when it’s coming from someone who sees the work that I’m putting in. It feels fantastic. I want to keep proving myself – not just to Val but to the judges and the audience and I’m having a great time doing it.
You’re not at the top of the leaderboard, but you’re close. Is that almost a better position to be in at the halfway mark? Audiences like to see growth in mirror ball contenders.
Chmerkovskiy: Yes. That’s a good place to be. I just want us to be in it till the end. I think it’s going to be a grind for sure. We’re going into week six. I’m pretty confident. We have so much ahead of us. We’re going to take it one week at a time.
For the second season in a row, we’re not seeing as many extra dancers, props, etc. in routines due to COVID-19 safety protocols, I’m guessing. Is that challenging?
Chmerkovskiy: It’s actually a challenge but it’s also great. I love to old-school dance with my partner throughout the routine. This is what the show started with, stripped down to two people performing. It evolved into a little production here and there and, then, all of a sudden, we’re doing freestyles every week. We’ve made a commitment to strip back for many reasons, including safety. We’ve honed back into the relationships and the dance abilities. We don’t have as many distractions or coverups.
Carrie Ann said a few weeks ago that your journey will not be short. How do comments like that make you feel?
Jade: She said that before we were in the bottom two. So, I hope she still believes that!
Chmerkovskiy: [Wryly] She didn’t vote like that!
Jade: It feels great to hear and I hope that it’s true. Being in the bottom two has made me realize how much I truly appreciate being here and I don’t want to go home. I hope Carrie Ann is right.
Dancing With the Stars, Mondays, 8/7c, ABC