1. He wanted to be world champion before coming to DWTS Like Maks, Val was born in Odessa, Ukraine before the family moved to the New York City area. Val started dancing at age 7 and, at 15, won his first IDSF World Championship — becoming the first and last American to do it. According to his ABC bio, he’s been a U.S. champion 14 times over his 15 year dance career. He has won the German Open, Asian-Pacific Chamiponships, US Open, Blackpool and the World Championships 2-times (Junior and Youth). He is currently the United States Amateur Latin Champion with his former partner Daria Chesnokova. When asked why he hasn't been a DWTS pro until now, Val told Access Hollywoodit was his goal to win a world championship as an adult. Once he accomplished that, he was ready to move on from his competitive ballroom career. But it’s not like he hasn’t been on DWTS before. Back in 2007, Val showed up in the ballroom to help his older bro Maks train Laila Ali. Then, on a DWTS Season 4 Results Show, Maks and Val had a 2 minute high-energy dance off to "Canned Heat" with Maks' future (now ex) fiancee Karina Smirnoff and Val's former dance partner Valeriya Kozharinova.
2. He has a long-standing rivalry with Mark Ballas Speaking of Val in the ballroom, who can forget his “Toxic” duel with Mark Ballas? In real life the pros are friends, but they are longtime ballroom competitors and took their trash-talkin' rivalry to the DWTS floor in 2010 in a music duel — Mark on guitar and Val on violin. Val claims he's always had the edge in dance competitions, but Mark quipped, "Val beat me a handful of times out of 500, so you do the math." Val returned with: "I don't plan to be second to Mark Ballas." Mark said, "I've schooled you on the dance floor, now it's time for a music lesson, son." We hope they do something like this on Season 13, too!
3. Maks plays wingman for Val, Val plays bouncer for Maks Val has a tattoo called "Family Over Everything" on his left bicep. He said he and Maks never fought growing up — they are best friends and always have each other's backs. According to Val's Facebook page, his relationship status is "single." (It also says he studied entrepreneurship at Pace University and "knows English, Russian, Profanity in American Sign Language." Ha!) When asked by Access Hollywood if Maks ever had hot women around him and sent some his way, Val answered. "Yeah, definitely." Who would win if they were fighting over a woman? "I don't know,” Val said. “Maks has a charm about him. We're very different. We have different games." He also told Access that when Maks was the Ukrainian Bachelor, Val had to protect him from a fan’s jealous boyfriend. So he can add bouncer to his resume, if this whole dancing thing doesn’t pan out.
4. Val and Maks have an adorable “girl magnet” dog named Sir Sleep Back in January 2010, Maks talked to People about his one true love, his then-4-month-old English bulldog puppy named Sir Sleep-A-Lot Chmerkovskiy. Maks said one day he and Val started talking about bringing a pet int their New Jersey home. "We both got on our laptops to research different breeds," Maks said. "We wanted something that would be cool but chill, not one of those crazy puppies that runs around and gets big and insane. We turned our laptops around and we were both looking at English bulldogs." They contacted a breeder in Ohio and have been in love with Sir Sleep ever since. "The girls love him. He's a girl magnet!" Maks said. The little cutie even has his own Twitter account, @SirSleep.
5. He's a singer/rapper Music is Val's second passion, from playing violin to rapping. In March he released a new single, "White Boy Boogie.” He also did a rap for Maks called "Brother." He has his own "iamVALC" YouTube channel packed with songs. Back in 2007, he told E! he wanted to go on American Idol, which shoots right down the hall from DWTS. Hey, he's only 25, so it's not too late for him to do it now. That’d be a nice crossover promotion for both shows.