Is Maks coming back?
Popular pro dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy has sat out the past two seasons of "Dancing With the Stars," but he hasn't completely closed the door on the ABC dancing competition. In a recent interview with CBS News, the 33-year-old "DWTS" alum talked about his extended break from the show, and he didn't exactly say "no" when was asked if he would ever return to it.
"I never walked away, slammed the door and said, 'I'm never coming back,'" Maks said. "I think eight years of doing something…the type of person I am, I am not gonna be there until they tell us the show is off air and we're done with it, or until I feel like I can't dance anymore. I want to be able to capitalize. We all know why we're there. Everyone is doing something to better their lifestyle, to better their life."
And when asked if he'd consider coming back to the show in another capacity (like, say, a judge?), he said, "That's up to the powers that be."
It's not the first time Maks has hinted that a judging stint could be in his future.
In an interview with Wetpaint, he said: "I would love to be part of the show in one way or another. 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. Watch out, yes, but it's never going to be derogatory."
With the show's regular judges, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli, currently doing double duty as judges on the British dancing competition "Strictly Come Dancing," there could be another opening for a guest slot on the "Dancing With the Stars" judges' panel this season. But does Maks have too much of a personal connection with his fellow pro dancers?
Last week, two-time mirrorball winner Julianne Hough filled in for Len Goodman, and some questioned if it was fair for her to judge her brother, Derek Hough, who's competing this season with "Glee" star Amber Riley. The same could happen to Maks, whose brother, Val, is competing with actress Elizabeth Berkley this season.
On his blog for Today, Val Chmerkovskiy wrote: "I would love to see Maks as a guest judge somewhere along the season. I think in general, he would be a great judge on the show, period. But every time that thought came up, the righteousness in me always said, 'You know that's never going to happen! I'm still on the show and the whole cast is going to complain!'"
But Val did confirm that Maks has toyed with the idea of returning as a guest judge, adding: "My brother said to me that that was definitely a conversation that was had, and that it was something he would be very, very interested in doing. If the right people sit down and come up with the right plan and a common language, I think it could work out incredibly for the show."
Of course, if Maks moves on to the judges' panel, he'd have quite the nepotism factor to contend with. Not only would he have to critique Val's choreography, but he'd have to judge two of his ex-girlfriends. The Ukrainian Casanova was in long term relationships with both Karina Smirnoff and Peta Murgatroyd, so it could definitely make for some uncomfortable critiques!
"Dancing With the Stars" airs on Mondays at 8:00 p.m. on ABC.
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- Val Chmerkovskiy