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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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Dr Helen RuthMaurer ThibaultMomoShayFanny Recent comment authors
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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.

Donna Dykema
Donna Dykema

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.

Dr Helen Ruth
Dr Helen Ruth

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.

Maurer Thibault
Maurer Thibault

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

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LISTEN TO THE REPLAY: Soap Nation Live! With Michael Fairman Season Premiere With Laura Wright, Jason Thompson, Michael Easton, Maurice Benard, Stacy Haiduk & Kim Zimmer

If you missed Thursday night’s season premiere of Soap Nation Live! with Michael Fairman it was a broadcast full of surprises, fun, and intriguing intel as some of the biggest names in the soap opera genre helped kick-off the series 2018 run of episodes.

Joining Michael in-studio as guest co-host was General Hospital’s Laura Wright (Carly Corinthos).  The show began with a guest call-in to surprise Laura, which was revealed to be daytime drama icon, and four-time Daytime Emmy winner, Kim Zimmer (Ex-Reva) of Guiding Light.  Laura and Kim worked together on the beloved CBS soap where they played sisters.  Kim expressed how much she enjoys checking out General Hospital and the actors performances she has loved watching which included: Max Gail (Mike), and the recently exited Nelle (Chloe Lanier), among others.  Michael, Laura, and Kim bantered on the actresses time on GL and more.

Next, GH’s Michael Easton (Finn) joined the show where he discussed the release of his upcoming 20th anniversary edition of his book 18 Straight Whiskeys, working on GH opposite Finola Hughes (Anna) and Jessica Tuck (Cassandra).  During his segment, Michael Fairman asked Easton to play a game show segment he prepared for him, which was called, “Michael, Who Said That?” In it, Michael Easton had to guess which one of his many soap characters was he portraying in the scene in the audio clip, and it made for one of the highlights of the night.

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Then, The Young and the Restless, Jason Thompson (Billy Abbott) was our special guest in the studio.  Jason talked about Billy’s latest stumble back into his gambling addiction, Phyllis’ fling with Nick, and if Billy will be able to resist the seduction attempts by Phyllis’ daughter, Summer on upcoming episodes.  Jason fielded several questions from fans who called-in to chat with him during his segment.  As well, throughout the broadcast, several listeners were able to get through the busy phone lines to pose a question to our guests.

Michael surprised the listeners with none other than Maurice Benard (Sonny) of General Hospital as the last guest on the show.  Maurice was celebrating his 25th anniversary as Sonny on the ABC daytime drama series.  With Maurice, some of the funniest moments of the night occurred when Jason and Laura recounted what happened the first time they met him.  Maurice also expressed that this past week, he taped some of his most favorite scenes of all-time, and Laura said they have been very emotional.  As announced, look for a special Sonny-centric episode in September in honor of Benard’s 25 years as Port Charles’ top mobster.

Finally, one lucky caller won a pair of tickets to the GH Fantasy Event in Atlanta, Georgia, during our game show trivia segment, when he had the correct answers (with an assist from Jason Thompson) to the questions.

Now, below click on the play button and hear the replay of the Soap Nation Live Season Premiere with Laura Wright, Kim Zimmer, Michael Easton, Stacy Haiduk, Jason Thompson, and Maurice Benard.

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Thursday Night: Soap Nation Live! with Michael Fairman Season Premiere With Laura Wright, Michael Easton, Jason Thompson & Stacy Haiduk

Soap Nation Live! with Michael Fairman returns tomorrow night on Thursday, August 16th with its season premiere broadcast beginning at 10PMEST/7PMPST.

Join Michael and his in-studio special guest co-host General Hospital’s Laura Wright (Carly Corinthos) for this 90-minute live podcast series kick-off.  Soap Nation Live! will stream live once a month with all-new episodes.

Special guests include: The Young and the Restless’ Jason Thompson, who is on tap to chat about the latest drama in the life of his soap alter-ego, Billy Abbott, General Hospital’s Michael Easton, who will be previewing the 20th anniversary edition of his book, 18 Straight Whiskeys, and dishing on Finn’s love life and predicaments on the ABC daytime drama series, and Days of our Lives Stacy Haiduk, who is about to make her Salem debut shrouded under much mystery.  Plus, you never know what surprises may be in store during the broadcast!

Make sure to listen in for our trivia game show segment, where one lucky caller has the chance to win two VIP Tickets plus a photo op at one of nine GH Fantasy events featuring cast members from General Hospital brought to you by Coastal Entertainment.  The winner can choose from upcoming shows in: Arlington, VA, Chicago IL, Cleveland, OH, Atlanta GA, Raleigh NC, Stamford CT, Boston MA, Fort Worth TX, or San Antonio TX,

To call-in and pose a question, or a comment, to any of our guests throughout the broadcast, dial the exclusive listener-line at 818-295-2130.

Soap Nation Live! will be streamed live for listeners at Michael Fairman TV ( Look for the live link and post 10 minutes before showtime to go directly to the broadcast.  If you have any trouble listening to the show here, you can head on over to Spreaker to our official show page (

Immediately following the broadcast, Soap Nation Live! will be archived and made available for replay and for download.  To see live portions of the broadcast, that can be viewed via Facebook Live on the official Michael Fairman TV Facebook Page

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GH’s Jackie Zeman To Co-Host TLC’s New Design & Lifestyle Series ‘Make This Place Your Home’

Nurse Bobbie Spencer and legacy star of General Hospital, Jackie Zeman, will be getting the chance to bring to viewers another one of her passions besides acting, that of interior design and creating beautiful surroundings for her loved ones.

Zeman is set to co-host TLC’s new series, Make This Place Your Home.  Celebrity Chef and lifestyle guru, Jaime Laurita, who has traveled the world cooking and creating homes on the road for rock stars such as Sting and Steven Tyler, will be Jackie’s hosting counterpart.

The series will debut on Saturday, September 29th at 9:00am ET/PT.   The half hour show will introduce innovative products for every area of the home, indoors and outdoors.  From the latest in Smart Home technology to handcrafted designs, fitness equipment, new green and sustainable products and more.

Make This Place Your Home will offer audiences an inside look at how new home products are made, how they can be used in any size or style of home, and often how they improve the lives of real people in need of design help.

The series is produced by WGST, Inc, producers of  Food Quest on A&E and FYI Networks.

So, will you be checking out Jackie’s new series? Comment below!

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