Category Archives: Maksim Chmerkovskiy

DWTS 14: Melissa Gilbert

Melissa Gilbert was America’s sweetheart when she played Laura Ingalls Wilder on the TV series “Little House on the Prairie” between 1974-1984.

Born in Los Angeles, Gilbert was the adopted child of actor Paul Gilbert and his dancer/actress wife Barbara Crane. The couple also adopted Jonathan Gilbert who would play Willie Oleson on “Little House on the Prairie.” Jonathan went on to earn a BA at Hamilton College and a MBA from Baruch College.

Paul Gilbert and Crane divorced with Crane remarrying Harold Abeles and having a daughter who became actor Sara Gilbert.

This could make things interesting. Is there a “Little House on the Prairie” reunion in the making? Melissa Gilbert keeps regular contact with the woman who played Laura Ingalls’ nemesis, Nellie Oleson–Alison Arngrim. Arngrim still gets into touch with her inner Nellie Oleson, with Nasty Nellie Tours.

What about some action from Sara Gilbert’s show, “The Talk.” Sara Gilbert, who starred in “Roseanne” as the smart middle child (1988-1997) and had a recurring role in the hit comedy series “The Big Bang Theory, is the co-host and executive producer of the talk show, “The Talk” on CBS.

Gilbert was the queen of the mini-series in the late 1970s.

Gilbert was married to a cousin of Randy and Dennis Quaid, Bo Brinkman (1988-1992), also an actor. They divorced in 1992. She then married Bruce Boxleitner (1995-2011).

How dance worthy is Melissa Gilbert? Gilbert had a spinal disc replaced and her lower spine fused in 2010.

Full name: Melissa Ellen Gilbert

Partner: Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Official website

Birthday: 8 May 1964

  • Age: 47
  • Taurus
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA.

Melissa Gilbert & Maksim Chmerkovskiy


  • 800-868-3407
  • 800-VOTE4-07
  • Text-in Code: 3407

Etta James on DWTS

Etta James in 2009 on DWTS with Maksim and Karina dancing.

James died today, 20 January 2012 (Friday) in Riverside, CA.,  from complications with leukemia. She was 73. Her husband, Artis Mills, and her sons were with her.

DWTS 13, Week 9 results: So long Solo

As expected the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Goalkeeper, Hope Solo was the person who left the ballroom. Solo had the lowest score Monday night and also had a sour grape comment.

In reality, Hope Solo had never realized a good dance frame and never seemed comfortable in heels. Her partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy had a verbal altercation with judge Len Goodman earlier in the season as well. Solo and Chmerkovskiy had 49 points for their three dances on Monday night, compared to Ricki Lake and Derek Hough’s 67.

Solo and Chmerkovskiy were the best score (with David Arquette and Kym Johnson) for the cha cha cha with 24. The same score tied them with Nancy Grace and Tristan MacManus, Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke and Ricki Lake and Derek Hough for the low score in the foxtrot. Solo and Chmerkovskiy were also the low score for the paso doble, tied with Chaz Bono and Lacey Schwimmer and Nancy Grace and Tristan MacManus with 21. Solo and Chmerkovskiy were the low score for the Argentine tango (24) and for the cha cha cha relay (4).

That means the three couples in the finals are:

  • Ricki Lake & Derek Hough: 67
  • J.R. Martinez & Karina Smirnoff: 56
  • Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke: 65
Week 1: Viennese waltz
21 (7,7,7)
Week 2: Jive
19 (6,7,6)
Week 3: Cha cha cha
24 (8,8,8)
Week 4: Foxtrot
24 (8,8,8)
Week 5: Tango
24 (8,8,8)
Week 6: Rumba
20 (7,6,7)
Week 7: Samba
24 (8,8,8)
Week 8: Quickstep
27 (9,9,9)
Week 8: Instant Jive
25 (8,9,8)
Week 9: Paso doble
21 (7,7,7)
Week 9: Argentine tango
24 (8,8,8)
Week 9: cha cha cha relay
Score: 4

DWTS 13, Week 9 (semifinals): So long to Hope Solo?

Last night on “Dancing with the Stars,” there were some surprises and some heroics. At the end of the evening, Ricki Lake and Derek Hough were the top scoring team after three dances with 67 points. In second was Robert Kardashian and Cheryl Burke with 65 points.

With the final four, we only two locals: Los Angeles-born reality TV personality Rob Kardashian who attended USC and current Los Angeles resident Ricki Lake.

Lake was born in Hastings-on-Hudson in New York, but after her divorce, she had moved to Los Angeles. In September of 2010, her rented Malibu home burned down although she escaped without injury. In a way, Lake is exactly like the character who made her famous, Tracy Turnblad, a heavyset girl who could dance. She’s about 30 pounds lighter now and can she dance!

Lake and Hough scored a perfect 30 for their saucy samba. Kardashian and Burke got a 10 from judge Carrie Ann Inaba who must have been impressed by the butt shaking. Their samba performance tied them with J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff who also scored a 28.

This week in the Argentine tango, they tied for second with J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff. However, Kardashian’s routine had more actual dance content. Also DWTS allows lifts in the Argentine tango, at the local Emerald Ball competition, no lifts are allowed in that dance.

Martinez and Smirnoff had little footwork and it was mostly stunts (lifts, dips and other tricks). The judges noted that for a non-dancer to perform such lifts was a real accomplishment, but that isn’t really what Argentine tango is about.

Los Angeles professional Argentine tango dancers Sandor and Parissa performed (along with DWTS pros Tony Dovolani, Kym Johnson, Kiki Nyemcheck, Sasha Faber, Oksana Dmytrenko, Anna Trebunskaya), but it was essentially stunt after stunt and didn’t give the audience any idea of the more nuanced aspects of the dance. Kardashian’s routine had more actual dance content than Martinez’s.

Hope Solo might have had difficulty with the higher Latin heel if she was using them, but her Argentine tango routine was also a series of tricks and without smooth transitions. Yet doing lifts and tricks with shoulder pain isn’t easy.

Kardashian and Burke were the top team in the cha cha cha relay and were also the last couple to perform.

Hope Solo and Maksim Chmerkovskiy were the lowest scoring team of the night. Solo’s frame isn’t good–her shoulders are always forward and she still seems uncomfortable in heels. Both J.R. Martinez and Solo have problems with flexed feet but Solo’s is one that is more obvious.

Yet one must give credit to both Solo and Martinez. Martinez twisted his ankle badly on Saturday and yet soldiered through three routines without whining. Imagine Chaz Bono doing that. Solo has an old shoulder injury which she feels every time she’s holding a dance frame and had to take some pain management shots.

  • Ricki Lake & Derek Hough : 30+29+8=67
  • Robert Kardashian & Cheryl Burke : 28+27=10=65
  • J.R. Martinez & Karina Smirnoff : 23+27+6=56
  • Hope Solo & Maksim Chmerkovskiy : 21+24+4=49
Hope Solo should go tonight. We love her energy, her determination and her smile, but she’s had problems dancing in heels and keeping a dance frame.
We hope J.R. Martinez will be able to continue and that his ankle will improve. If he won, it would be a DWTS Cinderfella story.  Yet ankle injuries to soft tissue heal slowly and while, unlike the women, he doesn’t have to wear heels, he does have to be stable enough to do lifts, pivot and lead. He seemed to be compensating by losing his frame and sticking his bum out. JR Martinez will be the Grand Marshall for the Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena for 2012.

Ricki Lake as a winner would also be a triumph for a woman of a certain age and a heavier frame. And we love that fellow USC graduate Kardashian is showing how much confidence dancing can bring.

We hope the two locals, Lake and Kardashian, make it to the finals along with J.R. Martinez.

DWTS 13: Compare Argentine tango

Ricki Lake & Derek Hough – Argentine Tango

  • Song: ?
  • Score: 29 (9,10,10)

J.R. Martinez & Karina Smirnoff – Argentine Tango (Week 9 )

  • Song: “Bust Your Windows” by Jazmine Sullivan
  • Score: 27
Mostly dips and lifts.
Rob Kardashian & Cheryl Burke – Argentine Tango

  • Song: “Libertango” by Bond
  • Score: 27

Hope Solo & Maksim Chmerkovskiy – Argentine Tango

  • Song: “Whatever Lola Wants” by Sarah Vaughan
  • Score: 24

DWTS pros and Sandor and Parissa:

DWTS 13: Compare Instant Jive

J.R. Martinez & Karina Smirnoff – Instant Jive (Week 8)

  • Song: “Tutti Frutti” by Little Richard
  • Score: 30

Hope Solo & Maksim Chmerkovskiy – Instant Jive (Week 8)

  • Song: “The Best Damn Thing” by Avril Lavigne
  • Score: 25 (8,9,8)

Ricki Lake & Derek Hough – Instant Jive (Week 8)

  • Song: “Land Of A Thousand Dances” by Wilson Pickett
  • Score: 24

Rob Kardashian & Cheryl Burke – Instant Jive (Week 8)

  • Song: “Maneater” by Hall & Oates
  • Score: 24

Nancy Grace & Tristan MacManus – Instant Jive (Week 8)

  • Song: “Upside Down” by Paloma Faith
  • Score: 20 (7,6,7)

DWTS 13, Week 8: JR is a perfect 60

BURBANK, Los Angeles County, CA–Last night, was perfect for J.R. Martinez as he topped the leader board with perfect 30s for both his dances. That means, Martinez and his partner Karina Smirnoff had the first and second perfect scores of DWTS season 13.

The big breakthrough last night was Hope Solo. She finally was able to dance with heels and she received three nines for her quickstep. Solo, more than Lake, has the stamina. Solo and her professional dance partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy ended the night tied for second with Ricki Lake and her partner Derek Hough.

Solo and Chmerkovskiy scored one point better on their instant dance.

The instant dance favors the female celebrities. If they’ve finally learned how to follow, then their professional partner will lead. All the professional dancers have experience with instant dances because most competitions require heats where the music played isn’t chosen beforehand.

For that reason, Smirnoff’s strategy and Martinez’s accomplishment (receiving a perfect score) are particularly noteworthy. Yet we also want to give Robert Kardashian credit for his efforts to lead. It’s not an easy experience for a total novice dancer like Kardashian and Burke has did a good job preparing him for it.

Nancy Grace seems a bit lost. Sure she’s older than the other competitors, but she doesn’t take the stage or emote. There’s a lot of stiffness between moves and she doesn’t take advantage of the still moments. We think it’s time for Grace to go although we do love her partner Tristan MacManus and we’ve finally managed to get used to his lovely accent.

Vote online
Online voting will remain open until 11AM (Eastern Time)/ 8AM (Pacific Time) the following today, Tuesday, 8 November 2011. .
Leader Board
J.R. Martinez & Karina Smirnoff : 30+30=60
Ricki Lake & Derek Hough : 28+24=52
Hope Solo & Maksim Chmerkovskiy : 27+25=52
Robert Kardashian & Cheryl Burke : 27+24=51
Nancy Grace & Tristan MacManus :  24+20=44

J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff
  • Waltz
  • “What the World Needs Now” by Burt Bacharach
  • Score: 30 (10, 10, 10)
Carrie Ann Inaba said that it went beyond his natural grace; Martinez and Smirnoff created "magic."

Ricki Lake & Derek Hough
  • Waltz
  • “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin
  • Score: 28 (9,9,10)

Hope Solo & Maksim Chmerkovskiy
  • Quickstep
  • Score: 27 (9,9,9)
  • “Valerie” by Mark Ronson featuring Amy Winehouse

Robert Kardashian & Cheryl Burke
  • Quickstep
  • Score: 27 (9,9,9)
  • “Take On Me” by A-ha

Nancy Grace & Tristan MacManus
  • Tango
  • Score: 24 (8,8,8)
  • “The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane” by The Ames Brothers
The Instant Dance
J.R. Martinez & Karina Smirnoff
  • Jive
  • Score: 30
  • “Tutti Frutti” by Little Richard

Tonioli said Martinez's timing was impeccable and Inaba said no one was close to them.
Goodman said he had the X-factor AND the feel-good factor.
Ricki Lake & Derek Hough
  • Jive
  • Score: 24 (8,8,8)
  • “Land of a Thousand Dances” by Wilson Pickett
Hope Solo & Maksim Chmerkovskiy
  • Jive
  • Score: 25 (8,9,8)
  • “The Best Damn Thing” by Avril Lavigne
Solo has a killer smile! She finally seems to have the hang of walking and dancing in heels.
Robert Kardashian & Cheryl Burke
  • Jive
  • Score: 24 (8,8,8)
  • “Maneater” by Hall & Oates
Nancy Grace & Tristan MacManus :
  • Jive
  • Score: 20 (7,6,7)
  • “Upside Down” by Paloma Faith
What is it with cartwheels this season? If you’re going to do a cartwheel, do it well.
Inaba felt Grace got lost in the dance.
Online voting will remain open until 11AM (Eastern Time)/ 8AM (Pacific Time) the following today, Tuesday, 8 November 2011.

DWTS 13: Compare samba

Ricki Lake and Derek Hough
  • “Jump in the Line” – Harry Belafonte
  • 30 (10,10,10)
J.R. Martinez & Karina Smirnoff 
  • Score: 28 (9,9,10)
  •  “Conga” by Gloria Estefan
Robert Kardashian & Karina Smirnoff
  • “I Go to Rio” – Pablo Cruise
  • Score: 28 (10,9,9)
Hope Solo & Maksim Chmerkovskiy :
  • Score: 24
  • “Werewolves of London” by Warren Zevon
Kristin Cavallari & Mark Ballas
  • Score: 24 (8,8,8)
  • “Crazy in Love” by Beyonce ft. Jay-Z
Chaz Bono & Lacey Schwimmer
  • 21 (7,7,7)
  •  “Get Down on It” by Kool & the Gang

DWTS 13, Week 7 Results: David Arquette quits the dance floor

David Arquette & Kym Johnson are gone. Arquette and Johnson are tied for the best cha cha cha of the season with 24 points. However, they are also the worst score for the jive with 18 points; Ricki Lake and Derek Hough are the highest scoring team with 23.

By average, Arquette and Johnson have a 22.3 average which is is above Nancy Grace and Tristan MacManus with 21.1.  Grace and MacManus were actually the lowest scoring team of the week with 44. Arquette and Johnson had 47 points.

Week 1: Viennese waltz

  • Score: 18 (6, 6, 6)
  • “Somebody to Love” by Queen
Week 2: Jive
  • Score: 18 (6, 6, 6)
  • “Runaway Baby” by Bruno Mars
Week 3: Rumba (Memorable Year Week)
  • Score: 24 (8,8,8)
  • “O-o-h Child” by Five Stairsteps
Week 4:  Paso doble (Movie Week)
  • Score: 23 (8,7,8)
  • “The Raiders March” from “Raiders of the Lost Ark”
Week 5: Tango
  • Score: 25 (8,9,8)
  • “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell
Week 6: Quickstep (Broadway week)
  • Score: 23 (8,7,8)
  • “We Go Together” by John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John from “Grease”
Week 7: Cha cha cha (Halloween Week)
  • Score: 24 (8,8,8)
  • “Abracadabra” by Steve Miller Band

Maksim Chmerkovskiy and his mighty mouth

Maksim Chmerkovskiy bills himself as the bad boy of the ballroom, but he knows what he’s talking about.  Haven’t fans been a little uneasy since Bristol Palin? So he had something to say last night on “Dancing with the Stars,” when Len Goodman told his celebrity partner Hope Solo that she had just performed her worst dance of the season.

That rumba wasn’t great, it wasn’t sexy, but at least Solo looks happy. She has such an electric smile, but it’s her footwork that is hard to watch.

So what exactly did Chmerkovskiy say?

It began with Goodman commenting, “This is your worst dance of the whole season.” He continued, after admonishing Chmerkovskiy for encouraging the audience boos, by saying, “I’ve been in this business for nearly 50 years…”

Chmerkovskiy couldn’t resist adding, “Maybe it’s time to get out…”

At which time, Carrie Ann Inaba told Chmerkovskiy, “Don’t be disrespectful like that.”

Chmerkovskiy defended his comment by saying it hurts when the dancers and celebrities “hear you guys a little judgmental comment.” I think we can fault his English, but perhaps the comments of the judges go a bit far out of line.

Chmervkovskiy later said, “This is my show…I helped make it what it is” and he was tired of having the celebrities “judged on their so-called potential.”

We also had high hopes for Hope Solo and didn’t figure out that her biggest challenge was learning to walk in high heels and be girly.

Yet, don’t you think the judges are being a little bit too easy on someone like Chaz Bono? We found Bono a little whiny, particularly since he’s not the oldest contestant. He’s also not the first overweight contestant either.

See the clips from “Access Hollywood” with Billy Bush and Kit Hoover

“Cute little penguin,” is what judge Bruno Tonioli called Bono and I thought that was kind. Bono and Schwimmer feel that the judges have a personal dislike of him. Seriously? Tonioli might have been unnecessarily cruel to singer Michael Bolton (“It was a doggy mess of a jive. You did it all very, very, very badly”), but he’s been quite kind and even indulgent to Bono in my opinion.

I think Goodman could have been stricter with Bono. Bono doesn’t have much personality on stage.

Remember, Chmerkovskiy spoke out about that season when the dancers and the celebrities were being overworked. That was the season Donny Osmond and Kym Johnson won the mirrorball. Season 9 the contestants were asked to perform:  cha cha cha, jive, rumba, tango, paso doble, samba, waltz, quickstep, foxtrot, Argentine tango, Viennese waltz, salsa, salsa/Viennese waltz relay, foxtrot/cha cha cha relay, two-step/Charleston/bolero/lambada, hustle group, mambo marathon, team paso doble/tango, megamix and freestyle.  Compare that to season 5. Marie Osmond made it to the semi-finals, but consider there were only these dances: cha cha cha, foxtrot, quickstep, mambo, jive, tango, Viennese waltz, paso doble, rumba, samba, and freestyle. That’s 11 dances during season 5 compared to 20.

Season 11 had only 15 dances, including one team and a winner-take-all cha cha cha. That season was won by Jennifer Grey who sometimes got tens when there were obvious missteps, but the judging seemed to be more generous when it became clear that Bristol Palin was going to make it to the semi-finals.

Chmerkovskiy’s partner that season was Grammy Award-winning singer Brandy. Brandy was cut, but Palin moved to the finals. Luckily the energetic and ever entertaining Kyle Massey with Lacey Schwimmer finished second. Chmerkovskiy’s partner during season 5 was Mel B who finished second behind Helio Castroneves (with Julianne Hough).

There are personalities that make DWTS interesting and certainly Maksim Chmerkovskiy is one of them. He makes the show interesting–in terms of choreography and his clashes with his partners.

Without personalities like Chmerkovskiy, Julianne Hough, Derek Hough, Tony Dovolani and Cheryl Burke, I don’t think the show would have been successful.

And when things get a bit dull, it’s good to have pros who liven up the situation (or even a judge like Bruno Tonioli).