Although originally he only attended the audition to support Anya Garnis, he was asked to audition as well and together with Garnis became one of the 20 dancers chosen to compete in the show's third season from June to August 2007.
After making it all the way to the Top 6, Kovalev was eliminated on August 13, in the last round before the final, losing out to the two remaining males, contemporary dancers Danny Tidwell and Neil Haskell.
On Season 4, Kovalev assisted Mia Michaels on a Contemporary routine, and he and his partner Anya Garnis choreographed a Cha-Cha routine performed by Courtney Galiano and Gev Manoukian.
On Season 5, Kovalev and Garnis choreographed a Samba for Evan Kasprzak and Randi Evans.
Born in early 1980, Kovalev was raised by his mother and grew up with his brother. Kovalev and Garnis turned professional and from 2002 started competing in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.
He began dancing at the age of eight, and until 2000, he competed with his partner Anya Garnis in the Amateur Latin category in Russia. Their competitive achievements include being finalists in the US Open from 2002 to 2006.
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He has been dancing since he was 6 years old and auditioned for the show in Atlanta, Georgia.He said: ‘When you put any two young people together and they are coming out and dancing these romantic or sexy routines, people are going to read more into it.It’s not always without foundation either.‘There are lots of celebrities and pro dancers on Strictly that have gone on to become girl and boyfriend.The bottom three couples (six dancers overall) are then liable for elimination by the judges on the live, or broadcast on tape delay in the western United States, results show.All six dancers perform a solo, after which the judges eliminate one male and one female contestant.