Season 31 of Dancing with the Stars was challenging for pro Val Chmerkovskiy and his partner, Gabby Windey. Val tested positive for Covid-19 and couldn’t compete in the Halloween show. DWTS pro Alan Bersten stepped in to dance with Gabby. The duo scored 38/40 for their vampire-themed Argentine Tango.
While Gabby initially found love with Erich Schwer on The Bachelorette, the duo later split up when they realized that they weren’t compatible. Gabby opened up to Val about her recent breakup during the semi-finals of DWTS. “The end of our relationship happened because we weren’t completely in step and in sync with each other,” she told her dance partner.
Gabby also struggled during the grueling competition process and admitted that she wanted to quit “every day.” And while Val may have been clueless about who Gabby was at first, his wife, DWTS pro Jenna Johnson, is a fan of the Bachelor franchises.
Val spoke to Good Morning America about his journey this season with Gabby. Val took home the mirrorball trophy twice. The first time with actress Rumer Willis, then with gymnast Laurie Hernandez. Val hasn’t been in the finals for the past five years and called his return a “huge accomplishment.”
He stated, “My gratitude to … being a part of the show, being able to dance, and having such a great partner like Gabby, is… it’s been incredible. It’s really been the motivation behind a lot of the effort that I’ve put into this year,” Val added.
Val revealed that he and Gabby have “become really good friends.” He said, “She definitely had something special about her from the very beginning. I think her biggest growth as a dancer has been bringing in that little special something into her performance, building confidence in her performances,” Val commented.
The duo performed a sizzling freestyle routine to “Cell Block Tango” from Chicago for the DWTS finale. “I wanted to show sexy, I wanted to show strong, and I wanted to give her a chance to be theatrical because we also didn’t see that this season yet from her, and “Cellblock Tango” was a perfect backdrop for that,” Val explained. “That song is just so powerful….”
The song, which is about six women who killed their lovers, was chosen to showcase Gabby’s personality. “She’s gonna be killing it – literally,” Val commented.
“I really enjoyed taking care of her and teaching her and dancing with her,” Val stated. “Hopefully … I’ve made an impact that she can walk away with and be proud of because she has done that to me.”
The dance pro, who previously hinted that he was getting ready to retire from the show, now feels like he wants to continue.
“I’m down to be back for at least a few more years until I’m no longer effective,” he said. Val added, “As soon as I feel like my best dances are behind me, then I will be the one that empties the spot — which is such a huge privilege to have — for the next guy….”
Val and his wife Jenna announced that they are expecting a baby boy. Val said that becoming a father is a “blessing.” He explained, “Really the key has been my wife Jenna, who, while being pregnant, has been an incredible support system for me creatively, emotionally, everything.” The dance pro added, “She’s a huge part of why I’ve been successful on the show.”
Spoilers ahead! During the DWTS finale, RuPaul’s Drag Race star Shangela and dance pro Gleb Savchenko came in fourth place, while comedian Wayne Brady and partner Witney Carson nabbed third place. Gabby and Val came in second place. TikTok sensation Charli D’Amelio and pro Mark Ballas took home the mirrorball trophy.
TELL US- DID GABBY AND VAL DESERVE TO WIN THE MIRRORBALL TROPHY? ARE YOU GLAD THAT VAL IS PLANNING TO RETURN? WHO WAS YOUR FAVORITE CELEBRITY DANCER THIS SEASON?
[Photo Credit: ABC/Maarten de Boer]