11:47 AM EDT 11/27/2013
Originally posted 11/19/2013 07:55AM
It sounds like Maksim Chmerkovskiy has found his calling.
The once hot-tempered Dancing with the Stars professional, 33, showed off an entirely new side when he acted as guest judge during the show's semi-finals on Monday night. His much more relaxed demeanor received praise from many, including his ex-fiancée, Karina Smirnoff and her partner Corbin Bleu.
"He did a superb job," Smirnoff, 35, raved to PEOPLE at an after party for the show at Mixology 101 in L.A., right after learning she'd be in next week's finals. "He's been on our side as a dancer. He knows how much work we put in and how many hours of rehearsals it takes. I was looking forward to him being the Maks that we all know who doesn't have a lot of filter, but he was actually very nice. I don't know [why he was being nice], but I liked it. I'll take that Maks over the other Maks any day."
Originally posted 11/18/2013 10:30PM
It was another exciting night in the ballroom on Monday's Dancing with the Stars.
There was laughter, tears and even an unexpected smooch during the show's semi-finals, which featured former cast member Maksim Chmerkovskiy as a guest judge.
As usual, Bill Engvall and partner Emma Slater ended up with the lowest overall score for their two routines – a cha cha and an Argentine tango both set to LMFAO's "Sexy and I Know It." Their goofy cha cha that got them 28 points out of 40 was poorly received by judges, but they left them impressed with a serious 32-point Argentine tango that Chmerkovskiy raved was "exactly what an Argentine tango is supposed to be like."
Was the fan favorite able to make it through another week and land a spot in next week's finals?
Originally posted 11/18/2013 04:05PM
Karina Smirnoff is a former Dancing with the Stars champion, winning the coveted mirror-ball trophy in season 13 with J.R. Martinez. The longtime competitor is blogging for PEOPLE.com about competing with former High School Musical star Corbin Bleu in season 17.
We have two dances this week, and they are really exciting. We almost wish the songs were longer. It's really cool to find elements that connect the two dances – not just story lines, but within the choreography, the steps, the props, everything. Our second dance is a prequel to the first. It's very exciting. They are dark and mysterious and dangerous.
Corbin and I were talking the other day about the shocking eliminations this season. Even after the first week, I think people had a certain idea of who they thought would be in the final four. Many of the couples who people thought may go all the way have already been eliminated. It's a very unpredictable season.
Originally posted 11/18/2013 11:15AM
Corbin Bleu is a former High School Musical star who is competing on season 17 of Dancing with the Stars with season 13 champion Karina Smirnoff. The Disney alum will blog for PEOPLE.com about his experience on ABC's hit show.
We're going dark this week. We're going really dark. We have a great song. This week, everybody's doing two dances to the same song. One is the original and one is the cover.
Our first dance, a rumba, is a very stripped down version of the other dance. It's slow and melodic and a completely different song. Our dances are connected, story-wise. I play a dark and sinister villain – very devil-like almost. I end up seducing Karina in the rumba and she's very reluctant. And by the end, she gives in. I take her as my queen of darkness. That's our prequel.
Originally posted 11/18/2013 07:30AM
Maksim Chmerkovskiy will make his judging debut on Dancing with the Stars on Monday and he tells PEOPLE he can't wait.
"I never thought this would happen. I'm excited to be back," he says.
The fiery dancer, who often went toe-to-toe with the judges, insists there was never any bad blood between them.
"We had our run-ins but it's like [my brother] Val and me. We are the closest of people and obviously get into arguments," he says.
Originally posted 11/14/2013 10:05AM
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).
Originally posted 09/30/2013 10:30AM
When Kate Upton was spotted holding hands with former Dancing with the Stars pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy in New York City recently, the Sports Illustrated cover girl was showing off her new boyfriend.
Yep, it's official and a source close to the couple tells PEOPLE, "They are very serious."
But the pair, who met through a mutual friend about six months ago, started off as friends, the source says.
Originally posted 09/28/2013 02:00PM
New couple alert?
After months of dating rumors, Kate Upton and Maksim Chmerkovskiy made a very public display of affection during a stroll through New York City's West Village neighborhood on Thursday.
The two-time Sports Illustrated cover model, 21, and former Dancing with the Stars pro, 33, were photographed looking relaxed and happy as they held hands and linked arms.
Originally posted 08/05/2013 09:25AM
After not appearing on last season of Dancing with the Stars, ballroom's bad boy Maksim Chmerkovskiy may return for the competition's upcoming new season.
"Maks is part of the family," ABC's president of entertainment Paul Lee told Today.com Sunday at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour.
"He may well be back. We love having him be part of the show."
Originally posted 06/19/2013 08:05AM
The once-engaged Dancing With The Stars duo Karina Smirnoff and Maksim Chmerkovskiy will be together again, this time on a New York stage.
They've signed on for a five-week run of Luis Bravo’s show Forever Tango, performing the sensuous dance of lovers at Broadway's Walter Kerr Theatre from July 9 through Aug. 11.
"It is such an honor to have been given this opportunity to star on Broadway again," Smirnoff said in a statement. "Forever Tango is an incredible production and the Tango is an intense, sensuous dance of passion. Asking Maks to join me was in and of itself intense, so I figured by opening night, it would be explosive!"
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