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Maksim Chmerkovskiy returns to 'Dancing With the Stars': 'He never said he wouldn't come back'

Craig Sjodin / ABC / Today
Maksim Chmerkovskiy.

As if the "Dancing With the Stars" celebrities needed more reason to feel insecure.

While ejected duo Lisa Vanderpump and her pro partner Gleb Savchenko did their closing credits farewell twirl on the dance floor Tuesday, host Tom Bergeron announced that fan-favorite pros -- including Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Chelsie Hightower and Tony Dovolani -- would be returning to the show next week.

In what Bergeron called "Len (Goodman)'s Side-by-Side Challenge," the pro dancers will be paired with each other and dance alongside stars and pro dancers who are competing in the current season.

How exactly will it work?

Val Chmerkovskiy, who's partnered with Disney star Zendaya, explained: "The number will begin with another pro couple (dancing) for about 30 seconds, then we'll dance together for about 20 seconds. Then we finish the dance off for another minute and a half."

"Maks and Anna Trebunskaya are coming in to help me out," continued Val. "Maks is not only dancing with me, but also Jacoby Jones."

Jones' partner is Maks' former fiancée, Karina Smirnoff, but Val says it won't be an issue when the formerly engaged duo shares the dance floor.

"It was a terrible breakup, but that's water under the bridge," says the younger Chmerkovskiy of the couple's 2009 split. "That was a long time ago."

Val also dismissed the rumors of bad blood between his big brother and the show's producers.

"This show is not about Maks and the producers or whatever people think," he said. "It's about Maks' relationship with the fans. He never said he wouldn't come back."

What's the purpose of adding pro couples to competitors' performances?

"Len wants to see how we look next to a pro couple," mused Val. "This is going to be for the fans, too, so they can see some of their favorite dancers."

Val learned he was one of the show's favorite dancers after he and Smirnoff were chosen by fans (via Twitter) to perform a special dance last night.

"I don't think it's fair to single out any one pro," Valentin offered. That said, he gratefully added, "I'm thankful to all the fans who voted. I trended on Twitter. That was pretty exciting, but I don't want anyone to have bad feelings."

What do you think of the new side-by-side twist? Are you excited to see Maks again? Tell us on our Facebook page!

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