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Dancing with the Stars devotees are so excited to have Maks Chmerkovskiy back in the ballroom this season, and the pro dancer admits that after taking a year off, he’s happier than ever about his return. OK! caught up with the fan favorite after Monday night’s show where he spilled on his renewed attitude towards the series and his mad respect for celebrity partner Meryl Davis.

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OK!: You seem most opposed to the upcoming Dancing with the Stars partner switch up, but if you had to pair Meryl with anybody, who would it be?
Maks Chmerkovskiy: Oh man, I would choose my brother (Val Chmerkovskiy), I would choose Tony (Dovolani), I would choose Derek (Hough). I would choose Mark (Ballas). I don’t want to be corny about this but I believe in our pros. I believe that each one with Meryl can do great things. I’m not special. I just got an amazing partner.

OK!: But you guys have great chemistry together.
MC: Yes, personality-wise, yes. She might not click the same as we click together but I’m in her corner for whoever she’s dancing with. But whoever it is, they better understand that for a week they have gold. Enjoy yourself, have fun, have a great time in Disney World because she and Charlie (White) are dancing at Stars on Ice there, whoever it is is a lucky guy.

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OK!: It seems like you’ve come into this season more relaxed. Is that because of Meryl?
MC: It definitely has to do with Meryl but it also has to do with the fact that I spent a year realizing that this sucked me in. I’m way too involved in things that I do and this show just took a lot out of me. It took me a year to understand not every season is a winning season. You should be able to enjoy things you’re given. We’re only as good as our celebrity partner, and that’s very hard for me to swallow. I’m always relying on me first and foremost. There were partners I literally dragged as far as I could and it was not reciprocated and it was definitely not appreciated at the end. That took a lot out of me. I lost all sense of fun and this was just a grueling job that was just a contractual obligation. I came into this season with absolutely no competitiveness in mind. I’m not trying to win anything. I’m just having fun. And then I get Meryl and everything comes together—it’s a brilliant combination.

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OK!: She’s such a positive light.
MC: She’s amazing. She’s fun to work with. I go to rehearsal because I want to, not because I have to. On Monday nights I’m not like, “I hope this holds together,” I’m excited to show what we worked on. People will say she has so much background and this might be easier for her and, yeah, it probably is, but I got her. She’s my partner and I’m enjoying it.

Which Dancing with the Stars couple is your favorite to win this season? Tell us in the comments or tweet @OKMagazine.

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