Maksim Chmerkovskiy may have left Dancing With the Stars as a pro dancer after season 15, but he’s ready to judge the competition!
The bad boy of dance will appear on tonight’s show and judge alongside Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli and Len Goodman — with whom he often quarreled on past seasons.
Speaking with Good Morning America today, Maks revealed how he’s going into tonight’s semifinals – and how he plans on giving fair criticism.
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“I think you have to be true to yourself. I think with this particular situation it’s different because I was on the other side not [long] ago, and so the key for me being a good judge tonight will be remembering what it’s like to be on the other side,” he said.
When asked how he’s preparing to criticize his former castmates, Maks shared, “I’ll judge them fairly because the pros we have on the show, the ones that have made it so far…out of five couples that are left, four have won trophies before — and multiple times.”
He added, “They know what they’re doing, I have a lot of respect for them. We were all in the same boat and I remember what it’s like to be in the semifinal — to be exhausted, to be pushing our celebrities, to want the best for [your partner] at this point and stage in the competition, how protective we feel of the people we’re dancing with. I want to credit that.”
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But that doesn’t mean his friends will get a free pass.
“I want to give credit where it’s due, but at the same time just say, ‘Hey it’s hard, but making the finale is a big deal, so you have to show me why you should be here,’” he told GMA hosts Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos, Josh Elliott and Lara Spencer.
Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke, Amber Riley and Derek Hough, Leah Remini and Tony Dovolani, Bill Engvall and Emma Slater, and Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff will all go head to head tonight to nab a spot in the finals.
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Maks, who’s currently dating supermodel Kate Upton, was a pro dancer on the show for 13 seasons. He never won the coveted mirror ball trophy, but came close several times. He finished in third place with Laila Ali and second with Melanie Brown in seasons four and five, respectively. Maks landed in third place in season 10 with Erin Andrews and ended up in second place with Kirstie Alley in season 12.
The 33-year-old told Life & Style in February that he was leaving the show to focus on producing and acting.
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