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'DWTS' Star Val Chmerkovskiy: Sherri Shepherd's Toughest Dance is the Rumba

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Apr 02, 2012 | 9:14am EDT

dancing with the starsThe celebrities may be the reason viewers tune into Dancing With the Stars, but the reason they stick around lies in the hands of their dance partners. And while it's clear all the dance pros bring a lot of knowledge and charisma to the dance floor, there are two guys in particular (brothers, actually) who are standout pros — especially when they're shirtless. Hollywood.com's news editor Lindsey DiMattina, spoke exclusively with one of the hunky brothers, Val Chmerkovskiy, about what it's like working with his dance partner Sherri Shepherd and which couple he thinks poses the biggest threat.

Val and Sherri have been assigned the Rumba, which is proving to be more of a challenge for the famously bubbly contestant. "Sherri is this high energy, really enthusiastic individual with this beautiful charisma and charm," Val explained. "But the slow dance did seem like it posed a little bit of a problem for her because she'll be moving and she has this internal rhythm." And given her loud, yet hilarious personality — we can see why a slow dance is presenting a bit of a challenge.

So how does Val plan on working on helping her to slow down? "I try to have her focus a lot more on the lyrics of it," he said. "We're working on channeling all that energy into a constructive Rumba."

This week marks the all-so-important memory week, where each dance will represent a personal story about each star, so audiences should be prepared to see a different side of The View star this week. "The choreography is a reflection of the story she's telling," Val revealed. "It's a private story about her family and it's like a tragedy to triumph type of story."

If Shepherd makes it through the next elimination round, however, the dancing duo will have to deal with the difficult bi-coastal commute. Val commented, "As soon as the Tuesday results show is finished we get on a plane and fly to New York and the commuting starts." But he's not worried about his partner's soon-to-be busy work schedule. In fact, he believes it's what makes her such a great dancer and person. "What I love about Sherri is that I get to experience on a daily basis that she's such a hard worker and such a committed individual. Everything she does she does to her full ability."

DWTSBut before they face off against the remaining ten couples, we asked who he thinks poses their biggest threat. Right now Val thinks it's pretty much anyone's competition at this point, however, he did mention a few names specifically that they're keeping an eye on. "I think everybody has a shot. Maria Menounos, she's very talented and has an incredible partner in Derek," Val said. "From Donald Driver to Jaleel White, I mean I think all the men are very strong this year. I think our female celebrities — clearly Katherine Jenkins — it's very difficult to say this one person is our biggest threat."

Val also added, "We're all very different, all the celebrities are very unique and different in their own way: age-wise, physique-wise, personality-wise. My job is to focus on Sherri and to take her strengths and utilize them and accentuate them and give her an experience that she'll look back on and be proud of."

And while Val didn't specifically mention his big brother, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, he's undoubtedly keeping an eye on him as well — though as was stated in our interview with Maks, there are no hard feelings between the two. In fact, Val claims they're relatively equal when it comes to dancing talents. "We have a lot of similarities and a lot of differences," Val admitted. "I wouldn't say I'm a better dancer. I do things better than him and he does certain things way better than me."

We'll just have to wait and see where they stand in the rankings this week.

Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT and Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

More:

DWTS Star Maksim Chermkovskiy: Scared of Gladys Knight

DWTS Dancer Louis Van Amstel: I'm Rooting for Martina

Dancing With the Stars: Grading the Cast

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