“Dancing with the Stars” fans have known him for two seasons of competition as Val Chmerkovskiy, but on Season 15, the ballroom pro started using his full first name – Valentin — during introductions on the show.
For fans wondering about the name switch, the explanation is fairly simple according to his manager, Lizzie Grubman.
When he first began competing as a pro on the show – in Season 13 – he was just automatically introduced during those walks down the stairs each week, and before competition dances with his celebrity partner Elisabetta Canalis, as “Val,” the name many people call him behind the scenes at the show.
Valentin is the name his parents gave him, and the one the dancer is known by on the professional circuit, where he’s won numerous awards (including an IDSF World Championship). This season, he just wanted to be introduced by his professional name, not his nickname, his manager explained to Access.
And in truth, the dancer is the only pro who was introduced by his nickname on the show.
The name swap did have some fans scratching their heads after last week’s show when Valentin and Kelly Monaco were receiving their critiques from the judges. At one point, as he listened to their comments, Val seemed surprised when judge Carrie Ann Inaba messed up his name.
“You seem very confident when you’re with M--, with Val, Valentin, your new name. Sorry, Val, I did it again,” Carrie Ann said.
And on this week’s show, Val even made sure Carrie Ann had his name down, asking her before her critique of his dance with Kelly, “What’s my name?”
But his comments had nothing to do with using his professional name in those show introductions. The ballroom pro was just teasing her for nearly calling him Maks last week.
So in short, to answer the question from “Dancing” fans – you can call him Val, but when he’s gearing up for competition, introduce the pro – who took Kelly to a tie for Week 3 frontrunners (with Tony Dovolani and Melissa Rycroft) — as Valentin.
-- Jolie Lash