It has been a bit back and forth for a while, but professional dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy has made his decision: he will not be returning to Dancing With the Stars. The 34-year-old, who had been teasing the news repeatedly since his first win earlier in 2014, confirmed his departure Tuesday, July 29, during an episode of The View.
“I’m done dancing [on the show],” he admitted to a shocked audience. “I feel like it’s time. I loved the experience.”
According to Chmerkovskiy, he first realized his interest in participating had fallen once he returned to the show full time for season 18. For some reason, things felt very different to him after being gone from the ABC competition for two seasons, beginning in 2013.
He explained that when he came back to the show “it was not the same.” Further Chmerkovskiy said, “I was different, probably. When I came back, I saw this amazing talent. I looked at it and thought they can do much more and better.”
Although his words may come off as somewhat humbling, there could be ulterior motives. It has been no secret that the sometimes fiery Russian import has wanted to move behind the judge’s panel of Dancing With the Stars (DWTS). Even The View hostess, Sherri Shepherd, made sure to further explain that Chmerkovskiy could return to the show in a different role or position.
In fact, he has somewhat gotten his wish twice: once as a guest judge during the season 17 finals in 2013 and again earlier this year, when he flew to India to participate as a judge for their version of the franchise, Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa.
“I judge the way it’s supposed to be. I know this business, I’ve been in it, I grew up in it,” he stated to talk show host Wendy Williams in May of this year. “Spending 30 years in an industry, I know what I’m talking about.”
His road on DWTS has not always been the easiest. Chmerkovskiy is well-known for having a bit of an abrasive attitude toward the show’s judges (Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, and Bruno Tonioli), has been accused of sometimes pushing his celebrity partners to the point of physical abuse, and has threatened to leave the show on several occasions in the past. After taking off for two seasons, he returned to the dance floor with Olympic ice dancer, Meryl Davis. Commonly seen as the couple to beat, the two of them ended up taking home the coveted Mirror Ball trophy back in May 2014. It was his first win since joining the show in 2006.
Earlier this month, Dancing With the Stars executive producer, Rob Wade, also lent credence to the hope Chmerkovskiy seemed to have, although he also seemed to imply that he would not be back as a dancer. Explaining that Chmerkovskiy would always “be [a] part of Dancing With the Stars” in some form,” Wade added that he thought there could be “a number of different things we can talk to him about the way he’d be involved.”
By Jonathan Brown