Gabby Windy (The Bachelor) continues his quest for mirror ball glory Dancing with the stars tonight, but she’ll be doing so without her professional partner Valentin Chmerkovskiy. The double DWTS the mirror ball champion shared on Friday that he has tested positive for COVID and will not be dancing this week. Alan Bersten, who was cast from the show last week with singer Jessie James Decker, will step in and perform the Argentine tango with Windy.
“I’ll be back next week,” Chmerkovskiy shared on social media. “Thanks for the support. It’s a small hurdle for a big comeback.”
The dance pro’s upbeat attitude is in line with how he felt when TV Insider, along with a small group of reporters, spoke with him and Windey after their performance on Michael Bublé Night. “Life is good,” Chmerkovskiy said. “I’m very grateful to enjoy my life, my personal life, and I’m super grateful to enjoy my life professionally. I really have it all.”
Last week, Chmerkovskiy’s wife, Jenna Johnson Chmerkovskiy, stopped by the rehearsal room to help Windey perfect the dance she was doing with her husband, as the rumba called for the two to dance quite intimately.
“I’ve been doing the rumba with girls since I was 10 years old,” says Chmerkovskiy, who was quick to add that he understands how difficult it might be for Windy to dance with him so closely since she doesn’t come from the dance world. “I wanted Gabby to feel comfortable [so] Jenna [came] and offer advice. I can help her, but Jenna stepped in and helped Gabby find inspiration.”
The pre-dance video package was both helpful and a little comical as Johnson Chmerkovskiy illustrated to Windy what she needed to do to dance a proper rumba with her husband. “It [was] more seductive dance, and that’s why you want “permission,” says Windey. “Learning from Jenna and fixing her gave me the strength to perform. Jenna is a great dancer and keeps Val in check. I learn so much from her.”
Johnson Chmerkovskiy’s contribution helped the duo earn an impressive 46 points – nine each from judges Carrie Anna Inaba, Len Goodman, Derek Hough and guest judge Michael Bublé, and 10 from Bruno Tonioli.
After the duo’s dance, in an impromptu moment, Chmerkovskiy invited co-host Alfonso Ribeiro to press his ear to Chmerkovskiy’s bare chest, as Windey had done during their routine. “These are my favorite moments,” Chmerkovskiy shared. “The exchanges with Alfonso and the live element. That’s what makes the best show… it’s live, streaming… even if you don’t see the show until later, you can’t replace that feeling.”
Did Chmerkovskiy’s heart beat faster when Ribeiro put his ear to his chest? “Oh sure,” laughed the dance pro.
As the host of The BachelorWindey fell in love at the National with Erich Schwer and also performed intimate dances with Chmerkovskiy on DWTS. Which was more challenging? “I think ‘role-playing’ is where it’s at,” says Windy. “You have to believe it. There is a lot of vulnerability and danger of “danger”…uncharted territory. I think it’s because I’ve never acted before or anything. I am always true to myself. I think people know how genuine I am. So when I sniff Val’s mustache, it’s not because I want to — it’s because I want a ’10’.”
The Chmerkovskiys are expecting not only their first child, but their ex-child as well DWTS champion Lindsey Arnold announced she is expecting her second child. Perhaps in a decade or so the progeny of dance professionals may take part in another Dancing with the Stars: Juniors? “Oh my… that’s an idea,” enthuses Windy. “Why would we want to subject our children to that?” Chmerkovskiy quipped. “Yeah, right… like you won’t,” Windy giggled.
One thing Chmerkovskiy may revisit is his violin playing on the show — especially now that professional dancer/two-time mirror ball champion Mark Ballas is returning to the competition. The two played musical instruments and danced with other dancers to a Britney Spears hit DWTS in 2011. “We bonded over this ‘toxic’ performance,” Chmerkovskiy recalled. “We want to make version 2.0. The show was so supportive of letting the dancers shine. It gives us strength and inspires us to do more things. We will do something.”
Dancing with the starsMonday, 8/7, Disney+