Val Chmerkovskiy says Olivia Jade proved him wrong 'in five minutes.'
Val Chmerkovskiy couldn't be prouder of his Dancing With the Stars partner, Olivia Jade Giannulli. ET's Lauren Zima spoke with the pair on Monday, and the two addressed Val having some preconceived notions about Olivia when he learned she would be his partner this season, and how she quickly proved him wrong.
Val recently appeared on Olivia's podcast, Conversations With Olivia Jade. During their candid chat, he admitted that he wasn't excited when he found out they would be paired together. He said that he didn't know anything about her other than what he had been told, and questioned whether or not she had a work ethic and if she was entitled. But Val told ET that he was quickly surprised.
"Honestly, it happens really quickly. It happens in the first five minutes," he said. "You know, you get a sense of 'OK, her tone has, you know, has gratitude in it.' It has tact and courtesy and grace and, you know, you're just like, all right this is, first of all, an educated young woman -- a very well-spoken young woman. And then, you know, a very kind and gracious young woman and that's it. After that I was like, all right, I'm gonna do the rest, you know? Hopefully she can dance too, and she can."
"But that's the qualities I look for," he continued. "The dancing is easy. The dancing is, you know, the dancing is my job. Those other qualities, I'm not good at masking someone’s, you know what I mean, lack of gratitude."
As for Olivia, she said it took some time for her to have some pride in her performance on the show, especially since most viewers only knew her from her involvement in the college admissions scandal.
"It definitely wasn't after the first or second week," she shared. "It's scary in general for anybody putting yourself out there and then already being in the public eye, and I feel like most people -- besides, you know, my OG subscribers and fans that have watched my YouTube that I'm so grateful for -- but I do feel like most people know me for a certain thing and a certain narrative, and I was just really excited that I had this chance to maybe show a different side and to hopefully switch it a little bit. I think the confidence started to come probably, like, maybe week four, week five."
But Val interjected that her confidence actually came from the support of their fellow competitors.
"You know, even with the COVID restrictions, the camaraderie between the cast is just ... is inevitable, you know, and so the friendship that she felt, the support that she felt from people in this room," he noted. "Sometimes, like I said, you just need a few other people to give you that license to smile and to enjoy yourself."
"She's texting all her friends to vote," she said of her mother. "Both of them, I mean, my dad too, they watch every single Monday. They're so supportive."