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Dancing with the Stars Juniors


Val Chmerkovskiy Talks On Judging DWTS Juniors & How GH’s Kelly Monaco Changed His Career!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

When ABC’s Dancing with the Stars: Juniors premiere with a two-hour series premiere on October 7th, three notables will be behind the desk judging the competition as celebrity kids battle it out, and show their dance moves along with the pros they are paired with.

The show has cast: “DWTS: Athletes” champion and Olympic figure skater, Adam Rippon; professional dancer, Emmy-winning choreographer Mandy Moore, whose credits include “DWTS,” “So You Think You Can Dance” and “La La Land,” and professional dancer and “DTWS” pro Val Chmerkovskiy. to critique the competition.

This week at the ABC Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour All-Star Cocktail Reception, Michael Fairman TV caught up with Val to ask him about flipping the scenario, where this time he is a judge and not in the competition on the ballroom dance flooor, how he hopes to impact the kids in the running for the Mirror Ball Junior Trophy, and of course, for General Hospital fans, recalling his most memorable season and dance partner, Kelly Monaco.

As viewers remember, the duo lit up the dance floor when Kelly returned to the show (she won the 1st season) in 2012 for season 15.  That was the “All-Stars” season where she was paired with Val.  They took home third place.  Their friendship and chemistry was always much talked about, but it was Kelly who has had a great impact on Val as he notes below.  Here is what he had to share about his new gig and his time in the ballroom with Ms. Monaco!

How do you feel about being in the judges’ chair for the first time?

VAL:  I feel a great deal of responsibility.  I will be honest with these kids, and treat them with respect, and give them feedback that will better give them the ability to not just become better dancers, but better people.

At what age did you start dancing?

VAL:  I started dancing at 7-years-old against my will.  My brother, Maksim, started first.  We moved with my parents to America when I was 8.  They just didn’t have time to drive us to different places.  They were like, “Look, we’re going to work, so you go with your brother.” So, I started tagging along and it changed my life.  I thank my parents every day for that.


Between yourself, Adam Rippon and Mandy Moore, do you see yourself as the one being the critically hard judge on the kids?

VAL:  I think the approach to this is a little different.  Those that are judging are very passionate about the opportunity, and the last thing we want to do is patronize the kids, as well.  We want to tell them the truth.  I think people got it wrong with trying to shelter kids from honesty.  You can shelter them from dishonesty and brutally, but you can be honest with them.  Ultimately, my job is to give them constructive criticism. That is what I will do, and am currently doing,

With all the amount of seasons you have been on Dancing with the Stars, is it difficult to keep it fresh in the choreography and come up with new routines for partner, after partner?

VAL: Yes!  It is difficult. There are many times you to fall back into redundant type of choices, but ultimately that individual is that that new palette and new color that I get to paint with. So, every time I get a new dance partner, that partner provides me with all the inspiration I need to come up with something fresh.


What is your takeaway from your season dancing with General Hospital’s Kelly Monaco (Sam)?

VAL:  My takeaway is that she broke me into the mainstream.  She was my breakout season of Dancing with the Stars.  Kelly taught me a lot.  It was my third season on the show and I was really fresh to this industry and this town.  She always told me to, “Know your audience” and to know who you are talking to and you will always know the right thing to say.

Kelly is such a hard-worker and she really gave it a 110% in the competition with you learning the dance steps and battling it out with the other couples.  She’s a fighter who always perseveres. 

VAL:  She is from Philly and I am from New York.  I think there was that east coast connection between us.   Kelly is an incredible person.  We are great friends, and she taught me a lot, and I also in return, through dance, and through this show, was able to change her life in a lot of ways as well.

So, what did you think about the sentiments shared by Val on his former dance partner, GH’s Kelly Monaco? What do you think about the concept of DWTS: Juniors? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Love the comments about him & Kelly, what they each did for the other one. That is how things are suppose to work, equal partners. She has been described as a hard worker even with her role on GH.

Absolutely! I have often remarked that Kelly really came across as a determined, dedicated and hardworking individual during her last stint on DWTS…she was carrying a fully-loaded schedule on GH at the same time and was at a distinct disadvantage to her competitors in terms of having a much steeper learning curve regarding all the dance styles she needed to learn since her initial Season 1 appearance and in a far briefer period than the rest of her peers on the show. Just on that consideration alone, I thought Val and she deserved to win…especially when you factor in their consistently dazzling and magnificent performances!

Hi Shay,
Absolutely agree… Kelly was graceful & lovely as usual on that dance floor..
They did deserve to WIN‼️

Well, hello there, Lady Fanny! So nice to see you back here and replying to me! Hope you have been well…Regardless of the many lively debates in reference to her character of “Sam,” I have always admired Kelly the actress….she seems to be such a down-to-earth person who has never forgotten her roots and doesn’t take her hard-earned success for granted…no soapdiva-esque behavior from her, as repeatedly demonstrated during her arduous progression through the last DWTS competition. The routines Val and she performed were truly breathtaking, and they made a beautiful, well-matched pair which greatly enhanced their appeal. Like you, I will forever contend that they were the rightful owners of that coveted mirrorball trophy!

Good questions, great answers. Val has excellent communication skills.

These two were my favorite duo ever on the show! LOVE them both!!! Looking for to this upcoming show too! Mandy Moore is BRILLIANT in her choreography, Adam Rippon is a hoot too!

Not interested in this new version of DWTS. Won’t be watching. Didn’t watch the athlete’s season either. Let me know when they go back to the original DWTS.

I agree, I won’t be watching either. I always looked forward to DWTS but it seems now that they are trying to get cancelled.

Hi VAL your my favorite pro You and Jelly were perfect pair

I haven’t watched the show in years, but I am looking forward to seeing the Juniors strut their stuff, especially our own Hudson West, aka Jake Spencer, Webber or Morgan. Sorry, I don’t know what name he’s answering to these days. Poor kid, glad it isn’t for real. If he dances as well as he acts, he’ll do very well.

Kelly Monaco is a fantastic actress and now, an excellent dancer! she was so brave being in the 1st season of DWTS & not knowing how to dance at all. she was nervous but doing her best, and I remember the judges being horrible to her. they were so insulting saying she was like a piece of wood! they have become much more tactful over the years thank goodness. but she took their really harsh criticism and worked even harder and won! 14 seasons later she was back and danced beautifully … she obviously never ages!

Dancing with the Stars Juniors

Adam Rippon Talks Judging Dancing With The Stars: Juniors And Stepping Away From His Olympic Figure Skating Life

If you want to talk about perseverance, facing adversary, keeping your eye on the prize, and at the same time sending a powerful message to the world about the LGBT community through his celebrity, look no further than Adam Rippon.

The bronze medalist at the 2018 Winter Olympics for the U.S. Team in the Team Figure Skating competition in Pyeongchang, South Korea made a comeback at 28-years-old to complete his Olympic career after fracturing his foot in 2017; which left him off the 2017 U.S. National Team.

Outspoken, candid, charming and with that oh-so-wicked humor, Rippon launched into his post-skate career with some lateral moves that made sense:  he won the Dancing with the Stars: Athletes competition taking home the Mirror Ball Trophy he has made numerous TV appearances, including one coming up on Will & Grace, and currently he can be seen as one of the three judges on Dancing with the Stars: Juniors, the newest reiteration of ABC’s celebrity dance competition this time featuring; 12 celebrity kids who take on the world of the ballroom.

Michael Fairman TV recently caught up with the talented Rippon to get his take on: how he plans to handle critiquing the kids after their Cha Cha’s and Paso Doble’s, but also how he feels putting his skates aside and moving on to the next phase of his life.  Here’s our chat with Adam.

America and the world has come to know your personality from everything you went through during your journey at the Winter Olympics. That is to say you’re humor, off-the-cuff remarks, and being your authentic self.  What will be your take on how to judge and critique the kids on Dancing with the Stars: Juniors?  How did you end up as one of the picks for the judges table?

ADAM:  It was just the perfect storm.  It was so great, because it happened right after my season of Dancing with the Stars, which happened right after the Olympics.  I think the fun thing is that it’s with kids.  So, sometimes I have to turn down my ‘potty humor’ a little bit, but in the skating world, I’ve worked with kids for a few years teaching.  I think that’s kind of the mentality that I bring.  I’ve always found that you want to talk to them like you’re on their level.  You’re still able to find humor in that.  I think that when you’re able to laugh at yourself, you automatically break down that barrier, and you’re ready to listen, and that’s what I hope to do on the show.

Photo: ABC

Could you see yourself doing the Johnny Weir/Tara Lipinski coverage or commentary on the Olympics during the figure skating competitions?

ADAM:  I think that they do such a great job, and they are such a fun duo.   I hope I can continue to do some different things, because I think that they are so good at what they do.

When you look back on your journey at the Olympics now, what do you think? You made such an impact representing the U.S. the gay community, and skaters who never give up to finally live their Olympic dream.

ADAM:  You know, it’s a little surreal.  On one side of it, I’ve just lived in my own world and had my own experience, and yes, I’ve talked to, and met with some really crazy and incredible people.  I think I really focus more on the journey, and how I got there, and how I get to even just be here now at Dancing with the Stars: Juniors.   I focus on each day and every project that I get, giving one hundred percent, and when I really focus on that really cool and special things come along.

Photo: ABC

A lot of good things have happened.  So, when we watch this season of DWTS: Juniors, will you be giving some snippy remarks, or will you be positive and upbeat, too?

ADAM:  You know what?  I think I’ll be giving some honest remarks.  I want the kids to laugh.  I want everyone at home to enjoy the show, and I want to be honest, because I think when you’re honest, kids improve.

Would you ever go back and try to make the U.S. Olympics figure skating team again?

ADAM:  No.

It was so emotional watching your last journey during the Olympics!  So, you’re done with all of that, right?

ADAM:  I am way done.  I have my medal.  It’s done.  I’m done.  When I was at the Olympics, I knew it was it.  It was a one and done sort of thing.  It’s such an amazing and incredible honor, but there are moments where you’re about to go out there, and you’re standing backstage and you’re like, “I could just completely diarrhea-s**t-my-brains-out right now, why do I do this to myself?” (Laughs) It’s crazy, but when you push yourself to those extremes, really amazing things happen. Within skating, I achieved so many of the dreams and goals that I wanted, that to step away, feels right.  

So, will you be checking out how Adam judges Hudson West and the kids competing in Dancing with the Stars: Juniors?  Have you followed Adam’s personal and professional journey form champion skater to TV personality? Share your comments below.

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Dancing with the Stars Juniors

WATCH: GH’s Hudson West Dances The Cha Cha In Dancing with the Stars: Juniors Debut!

General Hospital’s Daytime Emmy-nominated, Hudson West (Jake) made his highly anticipated debut on Sunday’s two-hour season premiere of the first ever, Dancing with the Stars: Juniors competition on ABC.

Performing to the hit smash “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” by Shawn Mendes, Hudsonand his dance partner Kameron Couch took to the ballroom dance floor performing the Cha Cha. The result?  For his first foray into dancing as he detailed as one of the special guests on last Thursday’s broadcast of Soap Nation Live!, West and Couch did a more than admirable job.

The judges had this to say about the performance: Mandy Moore and Val Chmerkovskiy gave some tips to West to work more on this timing. Adam Rippon praised Hudson for getting through a large amount of partner work for the first time in his life. The score? 22 out of 30.

The great news is Hudson continues on into another round of the competition this Sunday night. He is and his partner Couch are mentored by pro dancer Hayley Erbert and will be intriguing to see what routine they come up with next.

Watch the performance below. Then let us know what you thought of Hudson’s Cha-Cha and what you thought about the concept of the series via the comment section below.

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Dancing with the Stars Juniors

LISTEN TO THE REPLAY: Soap Nation Live! With Special Guests: Y&R’s Joshua Morrow, DWTS: Juniors & GH’s Hudson West & B&B’s Joe Lando

Photo Credits: CBS, JPI, ABC

Listen to “Soap Nation Live! October 2018” on Spreaker.

If you missed Thursday night’s broadcast of Soap Nation Live! with Michael Fairman you can now listen to the replay right here in audio player above!

This episode was given to the gents in soaps as Michael welcomed his very special guests: The Young and the Restless Joshua Morrow (Nick Newman), Dancing with the Stars: Juniors and General Hospital’s Hudson West (Jake), and The Bold and the Beautiful, and One Life to Live and Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman favorite, Joe Lando (Judge Craig McMullen).

During this fun night of chat, Joshua weighed-in on the Shick wedding that went bust, when Sharon told Nick at the altar that she knows he had sex with Phyllis.  Morrow, who will celebrate his 25th year as Nick Newman in early 2019 chimed in what the future for the stat-crossed couple may hold, and how he has enjoyed showing Nick’s dark side of late, plus he revealed one scene he felt uncomfortable with that he would not play, the ladies over the years in Nick’s life, and when asked by a listener of his memories of the late, great Jeanne Cooper (Katherine Chancellor), Joshua shared some fun and poignant remembrances. He also addressed the status of Doug Davidson at the CBS daytime drama, and hopes that the writers will find a way to utilize the Y&R vet in the future.

Next, Hudson West’s joined the podcast where he gave listeners the inside scoop on what it has been like to be one of the 12 celebrity kids competing in the first-ever Dancing with the Stars: Juniors, which debuts Sunday at 8PMEST in a two-hour season premiere on ABC.  Hudson talked on how he has been learning the dance moves with his young pro dance partner and Dancing with the Stars pro mentor, how he deals with nerves before performing his dance routines and more.  General Hospital fans who know of Hudson’s Daytime Emmy-nominated performance of Jake Webber, Elizabeth and Jason’s son, got some interesting tidbits when he talked about working with Rebecca Herbst, Steve Burton and more, and how much he loves being on the show.

The final guest of the night was Joe Lando.  Prior to bringing Joe on the air, Michael played a classic clip from Megan’s death on One Life to Live from the 90’s, where Joe as Jake Harrison performed one of the saddest and most memorable scenes in soaps with his then acting partner, Jessica Tuck.  Joe then revealed when he was on Soap Nation Live that it has been over 20 years since he had heard the scene, and was still moved by it.  Lando who is now appearing as Judge McMullen on CBS’ The Bold and the Beautiful teased there could be a love interest around the corner for the judge, as well as some retribution for his ruling in the custody case of Will Spencer, because of a favor called in by Ridge.  Lando also talks about his time on the hit primetime series, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman as Byron Sully, and shared more about his time on One Life to Live working with the likes of: Erika Slezak, Bob Woods, and Tuck.

Last, during out Game Show segment, a lucky caller won two VIP tickets to the Star Struck Fan Event Fall Festival in Alexandria, Virginia featuring members of the cast of Days of our Lives, as well as a Y&R goodie bag; which includes a personalizes autographed picture of Joshua Morrow, after answering correctly some Nick Newman trivia!

For archived and past episodes of Soap Nation Live, you can go to the official show page on here.

Now, listen to the broadcast with Joshua, Hudson, and Joe above, and then let us know via the comment section below what was your favorite moment in the broadcast.

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