Maks is back! Maksim Chmerkovskiy is set to make a return to Dancing With the Stars, and it won’t be in the judges’ chair. After a four-season absence, Maksim will return to the ABC celebrity ballroom competition as a pro dancer for Season 23, according to E! News.
Maksim Chmerkovskiy told Us Weekly that he’s in the best shape of his life following his Maks & Val: Our Way tour with his brother, Val Chmerkovskiy.
“I decided to return to DWTS because I had an amazing time dancing with my brother this summer during our tour. It felt great,” Maksim told Us.
“Getting back into shape allowed me to entertain this idea. I am in the best shape of my life, so why not spend a few months with my brother and the cast members and have fun! I’m just excited! The way it came together and the way I ended up on Dancing With the Stars as a pro this season is very different than any other season that I’ve done. I’m looking forward to that new way of being on the show.”
Maksim Chmerkovskiy has not appeared on DWTS as a pro dancer since he took home his first and only mirrorball trophy with partner Meryl Davis in 2014. Maksim’s return to the show comes as his fiancée, Peta Murgatroyd, skips the upcoming season due to her pregnancy. Maksim and Peta are expecting baby boy in January.
The return of Maksim Chmerkovskiy comes just a few days after his brother, Val Chmerkovskiy, told Good Morning America that the new season of DWTS will feature some popular pros from the past.
“We’re going to have an incredible cast as always, but I’m also excited for the pros,” Val Chmerkovskiy told GMA.
“We have a lot of different pros coming back. Some pros from back, back in the day, so I’m excited… We have a nice mix and balance of young kids that are inspired and very motivated to bring out the essence of this generation, but also we have some more classic, conservative dancers from the past as well, so I’m excited.”
While the Dancing With the Stars Season 23 cast has not yet been announced, rumors are swirling that Maksim could be paired with model and singer Amber Rose. A picture of Maksim and Amber taking a selfie together even popped up on Twitter.
Maksim Chmerkovskiy stepped away from DWTS two years ago, but he returned as a guest judge last year. Many fans thought Chmerkovskiy would never return to the show as a pro dancer. Last year, Maksim told Glamourhe quit DWTS because the timing felt right after his long-awaited mirrorball win with Davis.
“You have to walk away when the time is right, and the time was right,” Maksim told Glamour.
At the time, Chmerkovskiy teased that another DWTS favorite — Derek Hough — was also on his way out.
“Me, Cheryl, Karina, the few of us leaving, I think this might be one of the last times we see Derek,” Maksim said.
“We’ve moved on, and the show is still where it is. You have people like Peta and Val, who kind of became faces of the show, and let’s see what happens. I hope the show stays for another 10 years, and we’ll come celebrate it when we’re a lot older.”
While he made it seem as though his Dancing days were done, Maksim seemed more positive about his future as an actor. Earlier this year, Maksim talked to Hollywood Life about his desire to pursue a career in acting.
“I want to be an actor,” Chmerkovskiy said.
“It’s one of the things that I’m interested in doing, and I was taking a lot of lessons in the last year and a half, so there will be a time when I’m ready and you’ll see me on the screen. I really, really want to do it and not just as a shallow character.”
Maksim Chmerkovskiy competed on 14 seasons of Dancing With the Stars before he won the mirrorball trophy with ice dancer Meryl Davis. Maksim sometimes butted heads with the judges, and during one heated exchange with judge Len Goodman in 2011, Maks declared that he made DWTS what it is.
“With all due respect, this is my show. I helped make it what it is,” Maksim said.
Chmerkovskiy later apologized for his comments. You can see Maksim’s DWTS drama with Len in the video below.
Of course, even before his mirrorball win, the always vocal Maksim Chmerkovskiy toyed with the idea of stepping away from DWTS. In 2013, Maks told Wetpaint he wasn’t sure if he would dance on the show again, but that he longed to be part of the judges’ panel.
“I would love to be part of the show in one way or another,” Maksim said.
“I just don’t know if I see myself being a pro…I want it to have the ratings we used to have, and if me judging will spice some things up, then I’d love to do it. I would never belittle anybody. I’ve called out the judges before for saying certain things I didn’t think were in the spirit of the show. If I’m ever given the position to judge, I’m in.”
But for now, it seems that Maksim Chmerkovskiy is back in as a dancer. In addition to Maksim and his brother Val Chmerkovskiy, fans can expect to see Lindsay Arnold, Sharna Burgess, Witney Carson, Sasha Farber, Allison Holker, Artem Chigvintsev, and Gleb Savchenko compete on Dancing With the Stars Season 23 next month.
[Photo by Sergi Alexander/Getty Images]