'Dancing With the Stars' pro Hough says twist will either be 'a train wreck' or 'fantastic'

Image: Derek Hough Jason Merritt / Getty Images for Audi
“I suggested (the switch up) a couple of years ago,” revealed Derek Hough.

"Dancing With the Stars" has instituted more than a new host (Erin Andrews) and band leader (Ray Chew) this season — a new twist will have the contestants trade dance pros at some point in the competition. It's a tweak that some of the professional dancers aren't quite sure about.

According to ABC, viewers "will be given the power to vote and change" the pairings, and "all couples will be required to switch partners" at some point during the season. (Partner swaps have never occurred on the show before.) 

An ABC rep told us that more details of the switch up will be revealed on-air and that the partner-switching could come at any point in the competition.

But until then, there's confusion surrounding the twist.

“I don’t know how it’s going to be,” Maksim Chmerkovskiy, who’s returning to the show after a two-season break from the competition, told TODAY. “They’ve tried explaining it to us four times. There was a lot of confusion. It’ll be a little awkward if I get paired up with someone who loves me, but (my partner) Meryl (Davis, the Olympic ice skating champ) wants to stay with me, too.”

“Normally, I don’t mind change,” said Tony Dovolani, who’s paired with "Real Housewives of Atlanta" star NeNe Leakes. “But changing partners is raising my eyebrows. I don’t like sharing my women! I grow them into the partners that I want them to be, and ... halfway through the season there will be a switcheroo? You can feel cheated.”

Changing partners can also potentially affect the progress that stars make under their assigned pro.

“You build a relationship with your partner,” offered Sharna Burgess, who’s paired with Davis’ Olympic partner, Charlie White. “You develop your own language, and you learn how to work with each other. The odds of someone moving to another person with (equal success) are unlikely.”

Two champions of the “switch up” are longtime pros and multiple mirror-ball winners Derek Hough and Cheryl Burke.

“It’ll be interesting to see if the celebrity improves with the new dance pro,” mused Burke. “It’ll say a lot about the pro’s ability to teach. The star could come back to their pro and say, ‘I really did miss you.’”

  • Slideshow Photos

    'Dancing With the Stars' season 18 cast

    The show goes retro this season with contestants including Danica McKellar, Billy Dee Williams and Candace Cameron Bure.

  • 'Dancing With the Stars' season 18 cast


    Sean Avery -

    Sean Avery played professional hockey for teams including the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings. He retired from the sport in 2012. His partner is Karina Smirnoff.

    Ilya S. Savenok / Getty Images
  • 'Dancing With the Stars' season 18 cast


    Candace Cameron Bure -

    Candace Cameron Bure starred as DJ Tanner on sitcom "Full House." She's paired with pro Mark Ballas.

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    Drew Carey -

    Drew Carey is an actor and host of "The Price Is Right." He's partnered with Cheryl Burke.

    Araya Diaz / Getty Images for Mercy for Anima
  • 'Dancing With the Stars' season 18 cast


    Meryl Davis, Charlie White -

    Olympic ice dancing pair Charlie White and Meryl Davis won gold at the Sochi Games. Charlie's partner is Sharna Burgess, and Meryl's is Maksim Chmerkovskiy.

    Michael Kovac / Getty Images Contributor
  • 'Dancing With the Stars' season 18 cast


    NeNe Leakes -

    NeNe Leakes is a TV personality who has starred on "Real Housewives of Atlanta," "Apprentice," "Glee," "The New Normal" and more. She's partnered with Tony Dovolani.

    Frazer Harrison / Getty Images
  • 'Dancing With the Stars' season 18 cast


    James Maslow -

    James Maslow stars on Nickelodeon's "Big Time Rush," and is also in a boy band of the same name. He's partnered with Peta Murgatroyd.

    Michael Buckner
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    Danica McKellar -

    Danica McKellar played Winnie Cooper on "The Wonder Years." She's partnered with Valentin Chmerkovskiy.

    Jason Kempin / Getty Images
  • 'Dancing With the Stars' season 18 cast


    Diana Nyad -

    Diana Nyad, 64, successfully swam from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage in 2013. She's partnered with Henry Byalikov.

    John M. Heller / Getty Images Contributor
  • 'Dancing With the Stars' season 18 cast


    Amy Purdy -

    Amy Purdy, a member of the US Paralympic Snowboard Team and co-founder of Adaptive Action Sports, has two prosthetic legs. Her pro partner is Derek Hough.

    Doug Pensinger / Getty Images
  • 'Dancing With the Stars' season 18 cast


    Cody Simpson -

    Cody Simpson is a 17-year-old pop singer from Australia. His partner is Whitney Carson.

    Venturelli / Getty Images Contributor
  • 'Dancing With the Stars' season 18 cast


    Billy Dee Williams -

    Actor Billy Dee Williams played Lando Calrissian in the "Star Wars" movies and has also voiced the same character for other "Star Wars" projects. He's partnered with Emma Slater.

    Angela Weiss / Getty Images

It might also quell any feelings of envy that some pros may have over who their fellow dancers receive as partners.

“I suggested (the switch up) a couple of years ago,” Hough, who’s paired with Paralympian snowboarderAmy Purdy, revealed to TODAY. “It’ll be either a train wreck, or it’ll be fantastic. Some (pros) will complain, perhaps, ‘Well, if I had this partner, I could do that.’”

That said, none of the pro dancers are going to let go of their celebs lightly. And that's just fine with the stars.

“This all works in my favor,” quipped James Maslow, the actor-musician who’s paired with past mirror-ball champ Peta Murgatroyd. “It means she has to be extra nice to me.”

Added first-time pro Henry Byalikov, “We don’t want to start something we can’t finish.”