April 16, 2013 at 10:00 AM ET
A lot of the people still don’t know what the purpose of Len Goodman’s pro-heavy Side-by-Side Challenge was on "Dancing With the Stars" Monday night, but hey, since it brought Maksim Chmerkovskiy back to the ballroom, frankly, a lot of people don’t care!
So how did it feel for the fan favorite pro to be back?
“Seriously, I’m not back,” Chmerkovskiy teased to reporters after the show. “I’m a figment of your imagination. No, it was great. It was a lot of fun.”
But the dance pro admitted that he was concerned about bringing his jovial self back to the show just hours after the Boston Marathon tragedy.
“We had to figure out how to do the show in light of what happened at the Boston Marathon,” Chmerkovskiy said. “My only way of justifying us putting on a performance was that we can’t let those scumbags who are responsible basically win. I wanted everyone who’s affected by this to know that they’re in our hearts and prayers.”
Chmerkovskiy’s return to the show -- and the friendly kiss he gave Karina Smirnoff in one of the video packages -- put to rest any rumors of unease between the passionate dancer and the show, as well as any rumored animosity with his former fiancée.
“People were saying the relationship between me and the show was bad and (there was talk of) my being fired or I quit,” he shrugged. “It’s all bogus. I let people into my life through social media, but I certainly don’t let them into everything that’s going on.”
As for Smirnoff, Chmerkovskiy added, “There was no tension. We spent a week together and danced two numbers. We’re having great fun.”
His brother, Val Chmerkovskiy, and partner, Zendaya, earned the night’s highest score with 29 points, but does Maks think the Disney Channel star will waltz away with the mirror ball trophy?
“I’m not going to say she’s definitely winning,” Chmerkovskiy hedged. “Winning this competition is tough.”
Especially since there may be some changes made to the finale this year!
“I overheard some conversations about the finale being different from previous (seasons),” he said. “(The specifics are) not mine to reveal, but it’s something to look forward to.”
Chmerkovskiy will be back in the ballroom again Tuesday night, but that might not be the end of his small-screen return. Anton, the sexy handyman/choreographer that he recently played on "General Hospital" could be back in action some time.
“Keep watching ‘GH,’” he said. “I had a blast doing that show. (That) relationships is not over.”