His participation goes beyond merely performing in the touring show, which stars ’N Sync’s Lance Bass and fellow Dancing With the Stars dancers Cheryl Burke and Derek Hough.
“I am doing all the choreography, I chose all the music, I chose most of the cast, minus the celebrities — those are the ones [the producers] kind of gave me to work with,” Chmerkovskiy says as he chats on the phone from his New Jersey dance studio, one of three he and his brother own and operate in the greater New York City area.
Ask him why he didn’t participate in any of the three previous Dancing With the Stars tours and he replies, “I didn’t want to get on the tour bus just for the sake of dancing for two months. Being a choreographer on a tour is different. It’s a great addition to the resume.”
Just because Chmerkovskiy has joined the tour doesn’t mean he’s holding his tongue — he remains the TV show’s outspoken, if cordial, rebel. He took Season 6 off because “being told, ‘Dance here, dance there, move this way,’ it became redundant. I needed time off to recuperate and come back for the right reasons.” And he says the judges’ criticism is “very inconsistent.”
“We obviously take Len [Goodman] more seriously, because he’s the only ballroom guy,” Chmerkovskiy says. “Carrie Ann [Inaba] has no clue what she’s looking at — all she can do is make noises and wave her hands. Bruno [Tonioli] we have a little more respect for, for some reason. But he’s creating his own character.”