Olympian Laurie Hernandez and her pro partner, Valentin Chmerkovskiy, are blogging exclusively with Us Weekly about their quest to take home the Dancing With the Stars season 23 Mirrorball Trophy! Check back each week for their latest update on the competition.
Laurie Hernandez: My first week at DWTS was amazing! I definitely fangirled when I walked into the ballroom because I looked at all the judges and where they were sitting and I was like, “Wow, that’s the official judges’ table!” And I walked into the skybox and I was like, “Wow, that’s where the celebs get to hang out!” I was like, “Wow! This is all like how it is on TV and I get to be here!” It was so much fun.
Valentin Chmerkovskiy: I was personally very excited about our performance on week one. I thought we did a great job but I am really curious to continue and push ourselves to do even better.
LH: I think our dance went great! I was just ecstatic to be out there. It was something that I’ve always dreamed of doing, so to be able to get out there and dance with Val was something I’ll always remember. My mom was in the audience this week and she kind of got emotional and cried! It made her happy to see how happy I was. I got texts from the rest of my family saying, “Congrats, you killed it, you did amazing!” That was really nice to hear. Obviously there was a little unexpected chaos at the end of the show, but everyone wants to start off next week in the right way, start off fresh and enjoy ourselves.
VC: Starting out season 23, I though that it was a great cast and a great show. And the ratings spoke for themselves, people were excited to watch us. It’s very unfortunate that the moment everyone spoke about the next day had nothing to do with our show or the 13 celebrities that put themselves through three weeks of hard work to get to the premiere. All the excitement was overshadowed by a couple of idiots doing stupid things.
But I am looking forward to kind of a new reintroduction to everyone next Monday, to be honest, a do over where we won’t have distractions from everyone who put in a lot of time and effort. It wasn’t fair to everyone. Next week, we’ll have a different type of show – I know we will. Unless someone’s protesting DuckTales being animal cruelty, I think we’ll be OK! It’s going to be a really fun show and bring everything back to the essence of DWTS.
To be completely honest – because this is an honest blog – I really wasn’t inspired by the song Laurie and I danced to last week! It didn’t really speak to me, it wasn’t something that I loved. So it was kind of a great performance to showcase Laurie, but moving forward, we’re doing music and dancing — especially this week — in a genre that really speaks to me – cartoons! It’s TV theme week and we’re dancing to DuckTales which is the greatest cartoon ever! I’m really excited about that! It speaks to me way more than “American Girl.” It’s crazy that Laurie’s so young – I don’t even want to talk about that, it makes me feel old that she didn’t know DuckTales!
LH: Val loves that show, but I don’t know too much about it! Don’t forget, I’m a 2000 baby! I’ve looked it up on YouTube, and I see that it’s about ducks. Val says they’re three nephews …
VC: They have an Uncle Scrooge …
LH: They have an uncle! The three little ducks are super adventurous. As far as cartoons go, I watched a lot of Ed, Edd, n Eddy when I was a kid.
VC: I don’t even know what that is! But the DuckTales song goes perfectly with jive. Anyway, Laurie did amazing on her first week out, but every dance will have its own special challenge, and music-wise, it’ll have its own personality.
I think for us, moving forward, I would love for Laurie to discover different sides of her personality and become different characters and go different places and really be impressive that way, not just through her movement, but through her overall performance. I’m excited to create some awesome moments for her. I want her to feel like Beyonce and like Celia Cruz, I want her to be queen of paso doble, queen of tango, I want her to be the superstar that I know she can be.
LH: I’m excited to play different characters and transform into different people every time. I always wanted to be an actress so this is kind of acting in a way! I think that’s what I’m most excited about. This week they bedazzled my shoes, which I thought was pretty cool! There were just so many rhinestones! It made me feel like a princess.
My favorite part was when I had the costume on, I had the bling on, my hair was done, makeup was done, Val was all done up too! We even had matching hairstyles — I told him to keep his curls in! He was going to gel it back but I told him to keep it curly for me!
VC: That was special just for Laurie!
LH: I loved it! This week it was so much fun seeing everyone dance for the first time – I thought everyone did great! Marilu Henner surprised me the most! She was awesome to watch. I also thought Babyface did amazing – but everyone did! We’ve got competition so we’ve got to make sure we’re working hard.
We’ll be rehearsing in Seattle on Friday since I’ll be traveling there for my Kellogg’s gymnastics tour, but we’ll be back in L.A. for Saturday’s rehearsals. Maybe we’ll post another #TeamValaur video to show everyone too.
VC: Yeah! Follow us on social media to see our Gold Medal Productions videos! We’re having so much fun doing them, and just watch, we’re going to tackle some real life issues soon – no pun intended!
Watch Dancing With the Stars Monday September 19, on ABC at 8 p.m. ET.
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