Sometimes the competition just gets the best of you. Elizabeth Berkley and Val Chmerkovskiy got a little too into their Jazz preparations for Dancing With the Stars Season 17, Week 8 (aka Cher Night).
Elizabeth changed their song late in the game, and the whole routine didn't quite work for the judges. Last week they said they wanted to be Cher's favorites, but between their Jazz routine and the Dance-Off loss, they ended up second from the bottom of the judges' Leaderboard. You win some, you lose some, but at least they live to dance another day.
In his TODAY blog, Val said he loved having Cher in the ballroom, since she was just there to encourage and give positive feedback. "It was a pleasure being in the same room with Cher. Backstage, she acted like a cool, down-to-earth woman. I always admire that in a person, and when it was time to work she was as glamorous as ever."
However, behind the scenes, he and Elizabeth were apparently stressing out and missing that laid-back fun factor. "They showed Elizabeth videotaping me in the pre-dance segment. Things got a little intense. This week was tough because we’re really getting into the competition. It’s all positive, but emotions tend to get the best of you at this point in the season. I don’t mean negative emotions, but rather any kind of emotions that you feel when you get excited or nervous or passionate about wanting to get something perfect. You need to keep your cool."
He said they lost their cool a little bit, just by getting too into it. For Week 9, they have the Salsa and Viennese Waltz (including a Trio dance with Gleb). "I’m not knocking this week’s song,” Val continued, “which was 'Bang, Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)' because Cher is a legend and I love that song, but it’s an intense song to dance Jazz to. I’m glad that all of that is out of the way and we can have fun with the Salsa. That dance is a lot of fun. The Viennese Waltz is an emotional dance as well, but it’s a bit softer emotionally. It’s not so passionate and hard hitting."
Val also gave a shout-out to Bill Engvall, saying he's happy Bill is still there, even after three weeks at the bottom of the judges leaderboard. "Also," he wrote, "I think Bill’s partner, Emma Slater, is doing an incredible job with him. Celebrities are reflections of their partners. Emma has such a great positive energy and a sense of optimism. She keeps him positive."
Yes. Agreed. Emma Slater is a standout this season, and she and Bill never seem to lose sight of the most important element — having fun. It’s supposed to be a positive, entertaining experience — not brain surgery. No one wants to pick up on an ultra-competitive couples’ stress, especially since most people at home probably have less fun and less rewarding jobs than dancing all day.
Here’s to more fun on Week 9… and more shirtless Val in general. Are you excited to see what Elizabeth and Val do next? Sound off below, and catch DWTS on Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.