Is Maks ready to waltz back into the ballroom?
Maksim Chmerkovskiy, one of the most popular pros in the history of Dancing with the Stars, will make a surprise return to the show on Monday, though not as a dancer, ABC confirmed Thursday.
Chmerkovskiy, 33, will be a guest judge, sitting alongside Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli for the semifinal performances. (Watch competitor Bill Engvall’s reaction in video below).
After competing in 13 of the first 15 seasons, the fiery, charismatic dancer has been absent for the last two, pursuing other opportunities, including a starring role in Forever Tango on Broadway.
But ABC has made no secret of wanting him back. “Maks is part of the family We love having him be part of the show,” ABC’s president of entertainment, Paul Lee, said this summer as season 17 approached.
Corbin Bleu, Bill Engvall, Jack Osbourne, Leah Remini and Amber Riley are the contestants still standing this season heading into the semifinals. Chmerkovskiy’s brother Val and his partner, Elizabeth Berkley, were eliminated just this week.
• Reporting by MICHELE STUEVEN