Pop Culture

'Dancing With the Stars' bad boy Maksim Chmerkovskiy plays good-guy judge

Maksim Chmerkovskiy was back on "Dancing With the Stars," but the bad boy was nowhere to be found.

Maksim Chmerkovskiy, the "Dancing With the Stars" pro who earned a reputation as the bad boy of the ballroom, came back from his two-season break to act as guest judge in Monday's semifinals. But if fans were expecting him to bring his old intensity and often-argumentative attitude with him, then they were no doubt disappointed.

Sporting a squeaky-clean look — complete with a Bill Nye-worthy bow tie — Maks squeezed in between the regular panelists and played nice. Really nice.

When he wasn't politely smiling at a hands-on and admittedly "hot and bothered" Bruno Tonioli, he found himself agreeing with former foil Carrie Ann Inaba several times — an unexpected turn of events he jokingly referred to as "disturbing." As for Len Goodman, Maks got along with the head judge better than ever before.

When dealing with the stars, the returning pro offered mostly positive critiques, and he had even higher praise for their pros, including his former fiancée, Karina Smirnoff.

"I think you have a huge advantage in this competition," Maks told Karina's partner, Corbin Bleu. "You have what I consider to be (one of the) top five best female dancers of all time."

Karina was so touched, she ran over to give her ex a kiss. Other "Dancing" regulars likely felt like doing the same thing after hearing what Maks had to say about all of them.

"You guys are amazing. I love you all," he told the hoofers. "The show would not be the same without the group of amazing dancers that we have."

But of course, the show would have to go on without one amateur dancer. At the end of the night, Leah Remini and low-scorer Bill Engvall were at risk, and it was Leah who was sent home.

"Dancing" fans can see more from Bill, Corbin, Amber Riley and Jack Osbourne as the finalists face off in the show's two-night season finale, Nov. 25 and 26 on ABC. As for whether or not they'll get to see more Maks on "Dancing" in the future, that remains to be seen.