1010 WINS

Val Chmerkovskiy Talks Dream Partner on DWTS, Ideal First Date, and Touring with Family on "The Trend"

March 07, 2018 - 1:05 pm

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- He's danced with some of the biggest names on Dancing with the Stars, but Val Chmerkovskiy tells our Rebecca Granet on The Trend there's still one celebrity he'd like to tango with: Taylor Swift. 

"I would love to push her and see her in these elements and really, you know, expose her in the thick of struggle. I want to see Taylor sweating, and uncomfortable, insecure, and, you know, doing the Cha-Cha."

While we all know Chmerkovskiy from his dynamic moves on the dance floor, he's hoping his success translates to the literary world with the release of his first book, "I'll Never Change My Name: An Immigrant's American Dream from Ukraine to the USA to Dancing with the Stars." 

"I'm really excited. I'm excited to see how it's received. It's my first book. I'm a huge fan of literature. I grew up following the Russian poets and writers, and, you know, literature has always been in the forefront of my education and what I enjoy doing outside of dance and violin." 

That education started back in Odessa, Ukraine, where both he and his brother Maksim lived before immigrating with their parents to the United States.

"Believe it or not growing up in New York I never felt my accent was any different. Black, white, Russian, Italian, Asian, everyone sounds Italian in New York City."

But what about that last name people seem to have such a hard time pronouncing? Granet asked if he has ever considered changing it.

“I thought about the prospect of it. I mean it was a quick thought and obviously I would have never gone through with it…in the context of the book and what I end up talking about a little bit, it'll never sound less foreign, but it doesn't make me less American, or less patriotic, or less grateful to have grown up in this country and be considered an American." 

Val is hitting the road with his brother and sister-in-law, Peta Murgatroyd, to embark on a 51-show countrywide tour that includes a trip to Radio City.

"My brother and I started dancing in these Russian restaurants in Brooklyn for like 20 bucks a night on the weekends when I was 12 and he was 18. That was 20 years ago, and 20 years later, on April 14th we'll be headlining Radio City Music Hall. It's pretty awesome." 

And while Val's girlfriend and DWTS colleague, Jenna Johnson, won't be joining him on tour, we had to ask, if single, what his ideal first date would be.

"It's so funny, the first thing I thought of was a comedy club, but that's like, so terrible. I just want to see her roasted on the first date and see how she responds. If she doesn't take it too seriously, she's the one."

You can pick up Val's new book at bookstores and watch the full interview above to find out what NOT to get Val for his birthday.