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Dancing with the Stars

Dancing with the Stars: Why Val Chmerkovskiy Thinks Laurie Hernandez Will Bring the Heat on Latin Night

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Dancing with the Stars pro dancer Valentin Chmerkovskiy is chronicling his season 23 experience exclusively for PEOPLE. Follow Chmerkovskiy, 30, and his partner, Olympian Laurie Hernandez, 16, on Twitter!

After a stellar (but less-than-perfect) performance on last week’s Dancing with the Stars, Val Chmerkovskiy is ready to tackle Latin Night with partner Laurie Hernandez.

And the pro dancer thinks his Olympian partner may have a leg up on the rest of the competition because of her Puerto Rican heritage.

“Laurie and I are doing the salsa, which is actually of Bronx, Puerto Rican decent,” Chmerkovskiy says in his vlog, which he films exclusively for PEOPLE. “I think it’s awesome that [Laurie] gets to perform the salsa.”

The irony of a Russian-American teaching a Puerto Rican-American the salsa is not lost on his partner.

“You’ve got a Chmerkovskiy teaching a Hernandez how to salsa,” says Hernandez.

The duo will be closing Monday’s show, and the pro has high hopes they’ll be able to end the episode with a bang (and maybe even another perfect 30 score!).

“I think tonight is going to be great. I’m really excited to perform the salsa. I think it’s going to be awesome,” says Chmerkovskiy, who adds that Latin Night is “the hottest week of the season.”

Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.