Now that Dancing with the Stars is over, professional dancer Val Chmerkovskiy is revealing his retrospective thoughts on his third season on the show, which concluded in a third-place ending for him and actress Kelly Monaco. Chmerkovskiy developed a tight relationship with Monaco over the season, but admits that he had his sights on another partner in the beginning.
Chmerkovskiy originally joined his brother Maks on the celebrity dancing show as a pro dancer for Season 13, eventually placing eleventh with Italian actress Elisabetta Canalis. After placing tenth with Sherri Shepherd the following season, he became discouraged and secretly aspired to be paired with one of the All-Stars season's least capable dancers.
"Going into the season, I had very different views and my imagination was taking me in a different way. My expectations were very, very different," the 26-year-old Latin dance specialist said. "I was really happy to the idea of Bristol Palin, only because I was so discouraged with my last two seasons."
The Ukraine native then explained that he was daunted by the show's first All-Stars season, which was packed with six former Mirrorball Trophy winners, and if he were to lose with a less capable dancer like Palin, the responsibility for be eliminated would lie with his partner and not him.
Palin eventually finished in ninth place with Mark Ballas after four weeks of dwelling at the bottom of the leader board. While finishing ninth would have been a slight improvement for Chmerkovskiy, he instead made a drastic leap and danced with Monaco to his first finals.
While fan voters typically vote for the show's celebrities, Val's skin-flashing performances, including stripping down to a Speedo in the pair's "surfer flamenco," may have carried the two throughout the weeks despite scores that generally hovered around the middle of the leader board.
Although the show is now over, Chmerkovskiy will be putting his half-naked body on display once again in an upcoming guest role on General Hospital, on which Monaco has starred since 2003 and acted in over a thousand episodes. While he's been criticized for continually taking his shirt off on TV, Chmerkovskiy claims it's not his idea to do so.
"I'm getting all the [flak] for it like it's my idea. They told me specifically, 'Show up [with] no shirt; you're coming out of a gym,'" he said. "I'm just doing what people ask. I'm giving the people what they want."
Chmerkovskiy will appear on General Hospital's December 10th episode, airing at 2 p.m. ET/ 1 p.m. PT on ABC.