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Maksim Chmerkovskiy: I'm excited to be a 'Dancing with the Stars' judge but I don't want to be a hypocrite


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 11/18/2013 

Maksim Chmerkovskiy says he's happy to be back on Dancing with the Stars as a guest judge and hopes he won't be hypocritical considering the "bad boy of the ballroom" used to make waves over judges' scores and unfair criticism.

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"I never thought this would happen. I'm excited to be back," Maksim told People of his opportunity to serve as a guest judge on Monday night's seventeenth-season semifinals broadcast.

The former Dancing with the Stars pro dancer, 33, also insisted there's no bad blood between himself and judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli and Len Goodman despite all the old drama.

"We had our run-ins but it's like [my brother Val Chmerkovskiy] and me. We are the closest of people and obviously get into arguments," Maksim explained.

Maksim would often argue with the judges during his seasons on the reality dancing competition because he'd disagree with the low scores or criticism given to his hard-working celebrity partners. Maksim always seemed to think improvement and effort should heavily weigh into the scores rather than just technicality. 

"[I] felt that some things weren't very just," Maksim said, adding that he plans to "avoid being a hypocrite" given his own former complaints and annoyances as a pro on the show.

"I have to be the person that I thought they should have been at the times I disagreed with their remarks. It will be interesting for me to see, 'Now you are in a position that you criticized before. Let's see you do better.' I'm not going to be as critical because someone's kicks aren't as crisp as they should be, because I know who I am looking at and I see what their potential is."

For instance, Maksim -- who has competed in thirteen of Dancing with the Stars' prior seasons but never won the title -- said while comedian and current contestant Bill Engvall "isn't the best dancer this season, there's something to be said about how much effort he puts into his performances."

"I will do my best with constructive criticism and with giving positive reinforcement," noted Maksim. 

In turn, Bill -- who has tended to land at the bottom of the judges' leaderboard each week with pro partner Emma Slater -- said if Maksim is anything like his younger brother Val, he's got to be a good man.

"I think it's great. I look forward to meeting Maks. I never met him. His brother Val has become one of my best friends and has kind of mentored me mentally through this thing," Bill told People.

"With the Snooki [elimination], I was literally saying, 'It should've been me that was gone.' And Val said, 'It was not supposed to be you gone. This is your journey...' And here's the thing with the extra judge, I don't care. You could have eight judges. All I can do is get out on that floor, do the best dance I can, and whatever scores come up, they come up. And if the fans vote enough, then we'll move on."

As for Maksim's personal life since leaving Dancing with the Stars before Season 16 began, he said "life is great" and gushed about his new girlfriend Kate Upton, a supermodel.

"She is extremely intelligent. We talk about everything including politics," Maksim told the magazine. "She got everything pretty much herself and I respect that. I love how she can go from being girly to being a businesswoman in the snap of a finger."

Maksim announced his departure from Dancing with the Stars in February, explaining in a media statement that after seven years of being a part of the show, he was eager to "explore other opportunities" such as producing and acting.

Fellow former Dancing with the Stars pro Julianne Hough also came back to the show to serve as a guest judge this season in addition to music icon Cher. Val was unfortunately just eliminated from the show last week with celebrity partner Elizabeth Berkley.

(Photo credit ABC)


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