‘DWTS’ Pro Val Chmerkovskiy Speaks Out About Tyra Banks Behind the Cameras

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Last fall, Dancing With the Stars introduced Tyra Banks as an executive producer and the new host of the ABC competition series, replacing longtime co-presenters Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews. Now, DWTS is almost ready to debut its 30th season and Tyra will return once again as the show’s host. But this time around, DWTS pro dancer Val Chmerkovskiy is hoping her fans and critics alike will get to know her more.

Speaking to PopCulture.com with his brother Maksim Chmerkovskiy, the two-time Mirrorball trophy winner opened up about what it’s really like to work alongside the former America’s Got Talent host. In season 29, Val was partnered with Cheer coach Monica Aldama and the duo ended up in 10th place.

“I mean, look, as a person, [Tyra] is A-plus-plus,” Val told the outlet. “Behind the cameras, she treats everybody with love and respect and I think also we’ve yet to know a lot of Tyra because this was also a Zoom type of season.”

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Val continued: “I think Tyra did a great job. I’m excited to see the job that she does next season after having the opportunity to actually have a real season.”

Season 29 of DWTS faced all kinds of challenges in light of the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to getting rid of the in-studio audience, Derek Hough had to step in for longtime judge Len Goodman, who couldn’t fly to Los Angeles from the U.K. to film the show due to travel restrictions. Per Variety, the show also had some casting difficulties last fall as a result of the pandemic.

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Amid all of the changes came Tyra replacing Tom and Erin, a decision that sparked a lot of backlash online. Reacting to ABC’s decision, Maksim, a former pro dancer on the show, made it clear that he believes Tom was an incredibly important part of the DWTS family.

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“I think I’m going to say it,” Maksim said. “Is Tom someone that I think was a staple of the show? Yes. Dare I say that I also was a staple of the show and, at some point, may or may not have been thought of as an irreplaceable element? Yeah. … The reality is, season 30 is coming up. I haven’t been on for a while and it didn’t get any worse in that department. So I think times keep moving and we keep moving it.”

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Back in November of last year, Tyra teased what fans could expect to see this upcoming fall, and it sounds like there might be fan favorites from the past returning to the ballroom floor.

“There is something beautiful about a doing a retrospect when you hit a milestone year,” she told TV Insider. “At the same time, there are so many new viewers [in season 29], and a retrospect may not resonate with them. So, if we do one, it would have to be for those diehard fans that have been here forever, but not make it so ‘inside baseball’ where the new people don’t know what the heck is going on.”

Tyra elaborated to Extra that there would be certain changes specifically made to draw in a younger audience. “There was a lot of twists and turns that I wanted to do the first time, but we didn’t have enough time to do my twists and my turns,” she said in her segment. “There are going to be things that are modern to bring the youth into watching that show even more with their families, so you’ll see.”

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