This is Part 2 in what will likely be a 3-part series. If you want to read Part 1, you can find it here —> I’m a Ringer??
Well, let me tell you, researching these former contestants was not particularly enjoyable. But, I felt like some research had to go into this in order to try to be somewhat informed and to remove some of the subjectivity. Not all of it can be removed, but I tried.
How did I get my results?
For each celebrity who was *possibly* experienced or popular, I focused research on their web sites (if available), their Wiki pages, and YouTube videos. Then there were google searches. Yikes. If a celebrity was clearly not a ringer in any way shape or form (ie Football players, rodeo riders, race car drivers) I did not look into their background any further. I did spend some time on this, but since I have another job that takes my time, it’s possible I missed something. :-) BUT, just because you don’t agree with my rankings, it doesn’t mean I DID miss something. Just sayin’. :-)
Determining if someone is actually a fanbase ringer is rather difficult as well. My metric for that determination is: Is this person well known and well loved by the biggest DWTS demographic – that is women aged about 30 to 65. These are the people most likely to watch the show and vote. Where it gets tricky is guys like Joey Lawrence and Ian Zeiring – it’s guys like this that caused me the most pain. Why? Well, because my brain is saying, “Nah” but my gut is saying “Just because you’re not a fan doesn’t mean they don’t have sizable fanbases. :-) So, at the end of the day, I decided for my purposes that for them to be a fanbase ringer, it had to be OBVIOUS. That is – if I know they’re super popular, then they probably really are. If I don’t really know much about them….then they probably aren’t. I fit the demographic, after all. :-) Read more..
Yay!!! We are once again back in season on DWTS…let the games begin. Be on the lookout for all of our regular features from all of the usual suspects, including Courtney’s Power Rankings, my Dancing by the Numbers, Marianya’s stats….and The Cheesecake Awards. My personal favorite. :-)
And away we go – I will add the dance order as they’re tweeted. Keep in mind that usually on the first night the dance order matches the last two digits of the phone number, SO I have assumed that is the case for right now. During final dress rehearsal the order sometimes gets changed but the phone number does NOT. I’ll be watching to make sure I have the right dance order and I’ll update as we go through the show if necessary.
ETA: Changes will be in RED from here on out.
Ron/Peta – Cha Cha
Dancing 1st (he must be really entertaining)
Rob/Cheryl – V. Waltz
Kristin/Mark – Cha Cha
Chynna/Tony – V. Waltz
Dancing 4th (crap spot)
Nancy/Tristan – Cha Cha (Song – Cry Baby by Cee Lo Green)
David/Kym – V. Waltz (Song – Somebody to Love by Queen) Dancing 6th** Phone: 1-800-868-3406**
Elisabetta/Val – Cha Cha (Song – Last Friday Night by Katy Perry) Hint: These two might get yelled at by Len. And there’s skin.
Hope/Maks – V. Waltz (Song – Satellite by Dave Matthews Band)
Carson/Anna – Cha Cha (Song – Moves Like Jagger by Maroon 5) Dancing 9th Phone: 1-800-868-3409
JR/Karina – V. Waltz Dancing 10th Phone: 1-800-868-3410
Ricki/Derek – V. Waltz
Chaz/Lacey – Cha Cha
Dancing 12th – the Pimp Spot
Let’s get right to it! Valentin Aleksandrovich Chmerkovskiy was born March 24, 1986 in Odessa, Ukraine. He is the son to Aleksandr aka Sasha and Larissa, and younger brother to professional dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy.
Val was just 7 years old when he first started to train as a ballroom dancer and ‘against his will’ mind you. But, Val worked hard regardless and after three years he competed in his first international competition The German Open. He was one of only 2 US couples to participate with his brother, Maks, being the second.
Val won first in the IDSF World Championship when he was 15 and became the first and last American to ever do it. At 19, Val had the privilege of snagging the Blackpool trophy which was an honor he only dreamed about at the time.
But at 23 years old, the rules of competing in Ballroom dancing started to change and for the worst according to Val. He kept competing with his longtime partner Daria Chesnokova (pictured above). Though after fighting the lack of motivation and the new rules to compete, Val decided to retire at 25 and thus came the greatest adventure to be offered to him next….a pro on Season 13 of Dancing With The Stars with first time partner and Italian Model Elisabetta Canalis.
This isn’t Val’s first gig on Dancing With The Stars. He helped to critique his brother Mak’s routines with his celebrity partner Laila Ali in Season 4. Also, in 2006, the two brothers had a dance off: Valentin and Valeriya against Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Karina Smirnoff. Val has also danced in several pro numbers over the last several Seasons. In Season 10, he did a country western themed routine with his brother Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Edyta Śliwińska and Snejana Petrova (seen above).
In Season 11, Val really steamed up the show with unforgettable and most memorable Dancing With The Stars performance (and one of my favorites of all time) with Mark Ballas dancing and playing his Violin to Britney Spears’s hit song “Toxic.” The two were the greatest rivalries once competing when they were kids, and now here they were battling it out in “strings” on a Dancing With The Stars results show (seen above). You could feel every inch of it which brings us to Val’s second love next to dancing which is making music for which you can view and listen to many of his songs at I Am Val You Tube. Below is his song “White Boy Boogie” which I love. Yes, white kids can rap…and Ukrainian kids at that!!
Just like his brother Maks, this special guy leaves you wanting more. Watch out World! This highly “decorated” competitor and powerhouse performer in multi-talented ways has only just began and we wish him much much success.
Ok, here is Courtney and Heidi with their thoughts!
Courtney: The dynamic between Val & his brother kinda reminds me of me and my younger sister – I’m the outspoken hothead, while my sister is the quiet, pragmatic one. I actually recall meeting (or, quite literally, bumping into!) Val several years ago at the Ohio Star Ball in Columbus. I was in the ballroom watching the amateur Latin competition, and got up to use the restrooom, which was located over near the “on-deck” area where the couples who were about to compete were lining up. While standing in the queue for the ladies room, a heavily tanned, heavily hair-gelled male Latin competitor brushed past me in quite a hurry and accidentally bumped me a bit harder that he likely intended to. He stopped, turned around, and quickly apologized in a soft Russian accent. “I’m so sorry, miss! Just in a hurry…my heat is starting soon!” It was Val! He smiled quickly and darted off, likely in seach of his partner Valeriya so they could line up for their event. The entire exchange lasted less than 10 seconds, but I immediately got the impression that he was a guy whose parents had raised him right – unlike so many of the other male competitors, who I often found to be cold, arrogant, and unapproachable. As for his dancing – in all the years of watching him compete, I always found Val to be exceptionally on-point with his technique & performance quality, especially in comparison to other competitors his age (*cough*MarkBallas*cough*), and perhaps even a bit better than big bro. He & his old partner, Valeriya, always had the best exhibition dances – he wasn’t afraid to be playful and a bit cheeky. Check out this cute jive exhibition they did at OSB back in 2008 – Val can be such a ham sometimes. :-) They also did a really sexy, slick cha-cha to Prince’s “Kiss”, which of course I cannot find on YouTube because the song is copyrighted :-(, but if you google it I’m sure you can find a clip of the performance. Overall, I’m excited to see just what Val can bring to the table – I just hope he adapts quickly to the “fluff” of DWTS, since many of the current pros on the show seemed to have an adjustment period when they first joined the cast. Real ballroom vs. DWTS is definitely a big switch to make!
Heidi: I think Val has the advantage of being Maks’ brother when it comes to adjusting to DWTS fluff versus real ballroom competitions – at least I hope so. I also hope to see him school Mark in music and dance once again. Hee. I also get the feeling that, while I don’t find him remotely attractive, I’ll end up preferring him to his big brother. I have not paid tons of attention to the pre-season media, but my sense is that Val is a bit more down to earth than Maks is – I could certainly be wrong, I’m not a Chmerkovskiy expert by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve said many times that I think that Maks sort of takes on the personality of his partner which is often a great thing (Kirsti), but it can also be very bad (Erin). I mean that he’s a bit of an emotional reflector, not that he’s being fake or anything (just to be clear). I wonder if Val also has that trait or if he’s more even keeled. Damn, I can’t wait till Monday!!! :-)
Isn’t that a great picture? It’s from a new little article in People where Karina talks of her favorite body part on J.R. >>>HIS FEET!! J.R. talks of all the things he’s learning from Karina too. Here is more…
“J.R. has girly feet and they are beautiful,” Karina gushed during Thursday’s waltz rehearsal. “Good toes, good pedicure. Much nicer than my feet!”
Martinez, 28, who was severely injured in the war burns over much of his body, says he’s overjoyed to be taking orders from the ballroom pro.
“I’ve learned so much, Karina is an amazing talent,” he says. “She has shown me that it’s all posture, and framing and being elegant. It’s all about fingers and toes. Being a guy, I tend to move all over the place.”
Then on Stripes.com, J.R. comments that dancing isn’t as tough as basic training, but “it has its moments”. He talks of what happened in Iraq, the military support, and what he hopes to accomplish on Dancing With The Stars including having tributes to military families.
Martinez said he jumped at the chance to compete on the dancing show to push his motivational message out even further. He’s hopeful that civilians will see him and be reminded of the troops still serving overseas, and that military viewers will be inspired to push themselves into new challenges.
“This is outside of my comfort zone,” he said. “It’s a personal challenge for myself. I’ve got a little rhythm in me, and Karina [Smirnoff, his dancing partner] is trying to get that out. That’s the biggest challenge right now.”
The pair are also planning “dances to pay tribute to the military and their families,” although he wouldn’t go into further specifics. Martinez did say that he’s already suffered his first dancing injury — a jammed toe while practicing the jitterbug — but said that hurt his pride more than anything else.
“I’m huffing and puffing a bit, but I’m taking control,” he said. “It’s fun, and I’m confident. I think we can win this.”
Much more HERE. Like so many of you, I can’t wait to see these two light us and the Country up…and in more ways than one!
TooFab has a great new interview up with Val Chmerkovskiy. He talks of Maks and if there was competition between them when they were younger. They ask him what he’s most excited about dancing this Season on Dancing With The Stars. More below, but, be sure the link as he also dishes on his favorite celebrity dancer of all time on the show and much much more.
TooFab: So obviously your brother Maksim has been on the series since season two, how come you decided to join?
Chmerkovskiy: The show approached me in the past, about maybe two years ago, but I declined because I was a competitive dancer for 16 years and I had personal dreams that I wanted to achieve. I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity for Hollywood, or do “Dancing With the Stars”. I made that sacrifice for a title you could say, and once I got that title I felt accomplished in my competitive career and felt like I was ready for that step.
TooFab: Did you and your brother compete a lot with each other growing up?
Chmerkovskiy:Well there is a 6 year age difference between Maks and I. He is six years older than me and fortunately for him we never had the ability to be in the same category. We never competed against each other but if there was a situation where we would have, we probably would have supported each other regardless.
TooFab: What are you most excited about?
Chmerkovskiy: I am most excited about doing a show with my brother. Its been five years since he has started the show and in those five years I have seen him fewer and fewer times. So to be able to work together and see him on a daily basis is exciting for me. This is such an amazing opportunity for me, because I have worked 16 years for this. To be able to have this exposure and this kind of talent that it takes to be on this show. To be able to perform in front of millions of people is a huge privilege for anybody and I feel very blessed to have this opportunity.
Cheryl Burke tells TV Guide that Rob is a better dancer than his sister Kim. She’s hoping people will see a whole other side of him come Monday. He’s been working hard which people seem to think he can’t do. More below. Be sure to go to TV Guide to read the full interview.
You have the Viennese waltz. How’s he doing so far?
Burke: Great. He’s never had any dance experience. He says he doesn’t dance when he goes out to clubs or anything. He says he’ll sit in the corner and watch everyone do it. So I think this will be really good for his confidence and just to come out and impress people. I think his image — people think he doesn’t do much. But he’s been working so hard. Our rehearsals have gone really, really well. He comes back every day and he’s like a whole new dancer.
So you’re hoping people will see a new side to him?
Burke: Yeah, I want him to go out there and prove everybody wrong. I feel like I’m taking care of him! I really want him to do really well. I want people to see a new side of him that I see. He’s never late to rehearsals. He’s always on time. I just don’t want people to think he doesn’t do anything. He’s really hard-working.
Kim didn’t do that great on the show, to say the least. How does Rob compare to her?
Burke: He’s better than Kim, I have to say! [Laughs] I won’t know for sure until I teach him a Latin dance. They’re both very shy. With a competition, you need to be a little more out there. I think Rob is getting more and more open with me. We have that bickering brother-and-sister relationship. I’m having a lot of fun so far this season. I feel like I’m dancing with my little brother.
Extra interviewed Kym and David at the Grove in Hollywood yesterday and they said they are ready to go on Monday and they are anxious to begin the Season! David is a sore all over, but, is picking up the moves quickly. Kym said he’s really graceful which surprised her. He said the hardest thing to learn so far is “the frame” and not rushing. He’s ready for the judges criticisms because he think it will be helpful. He’s done his homework in preparing for the show. All this and more below.
Kym also has a new blog up at Ok Magazine. She talks of how “stylish” David is. He dresses up for all of his rehearsals and has bought 12 pairs of ballroom shoes. He’s very serious about doing this show. She writes on the other cast members and the new stage for which she saw yesterday. More in this take….
Right now I’m thinking Ricki Lake is going to be the one to beat, with her partner Derek Hough. From what I’ve been hearing, those two are definitely the ones to beat. I’ve seen Ricki dance — I went to Brooke Burke’s birthday party and Ricki was on the dance floor a lot, busting her moves, and she’s a natural!
I think it’s so admirable that Chaz Bono is doing Dancing With the Stars. I think he’s going to do really well, people will be surprised. He’s just like anybody else, he wants to get out there an dance! I’ve seen him in rehearsals in the hallways, he’s such a sweet guy and he’s really having fun doing this. I think people should just be more understanding and kinder and just support him. Lacey is amazing with him, they’re having a really good time. I’m excited to watch him dance!
After my scary neck injury last season, I spent the summer doing a little rehab and physical therapy and thank goodness, now I’m back to normal again, which is great. It’s been pretty much all summer that i’ve been trying to get myself back to proper health and I’m feeling great now!
I went yesterday to the set, and we’ve got a new stage! It’s so amazing, it looks like an opera theater. It’s got balconies, and it’s much, much bigger and grander than ever before. It’s spectacular! It’s kind of a bit nerve-wracking, I feel like our home got a big remodel! he celebriteies won’t know the difference, but all of us dancers got a shock when we walked in. It spices things up and it gives us more opportunity to do different things with choreography and using the stage in a new way. It’s like a new playground for us!
Everyone knows David Arquette and I think people will be interested in how he’ll do. he’s very graceful, I think people will be pleasantly surprised with what we do. I haven’t seen anyone else’s routines yet, it’s going to be a very intresting show, with a lot of excitement!
I’m excited to see these two and how well they will do….especially after the Howard Stern interview? Time will soon tell.
How ’bout a brief little pre-show round-up, eh? :-)
This was the 2nd most searched term leading to PureDWTS the past 2 weeks, second only to “pure dwts”. Rumor has it Vogue has a post in the works profiling him…so stay tuned ;-) In the meantime, you can catch Tristan & Peta’s profiles, if you missed them.
Len Goodman who do you think you are
I’m not Len, but I’d venture a guess he’d answer with “Len f*cking Goodman, bitches.” I’m kidding…sort of ;-) But for those of you unfamiliar, Who Do You Think You Are? is actually a pretty cool television show that helps celebrities trace their lineage and learn about their ancestors. Len is actually featured on the current season of the UK version, and his episode (which airs on October 5 on BBC) shows him learning about his great-great grandfather, Wincenty Sosnowski, who was from Poland and actually fought in the anti-tsarist November Uprising and was subsequently awarded with the highest Polish military honor for his heroism. Vogue did a brief teaser post back in March about Len’s appearance on the show. If you get a chance, I highly recommend trying to catch the American version of the show, which airs on Friday nights on NBC – the bf and I caught a re-run of Lionel Ritchie episode the other night and were downright fascinated. So fascinated, in fact, that we started researching our own heritage – and I came to find out that my maternal great-grandmother was one of the first female pharmacists in the state of Indiana, and I’m actually 1/64 Trinidadian :-) Pretty cool, if you ask me.