When Dancing with the Stars returns for its all-athlete season, there will be one very big omission. For only the third time in 26 seasons, and the first since season 6, there will not be a Chmerkovskiy brother in the ballroom.

Meet the Cast of DWTS: Athletes>>>

Maksim and Val Chmerkovskiy have become staples of DWTS. Maks first joined the show as a pro partner in season 2. He quickly became a mainstay of the series, and, with the exception of season 6, remained a pro until season 16. After that, he’s returned a few times. His brother Val joined DWTS as a pro partner in season 13 and has competed in every season since then, with DWTS: Athletes being the first one he’ll miss.

Not only have they been consistently appearing on the show, but they’ve also been strong competitors. In 10 out of the last 16 seasons, the Final 3 has featured a Chmerkovskiy brother. It’s almost impossible to imagine what a season without them will look like.

How Will Voting Work for DWTS: Athletes?>>>

Adding to the mystery of DWTS: Athletes is the fact that Mark Ballas and Derek Hough are also not a part of the season. Since season 3, there has only been one time that the Final 3 did not feature Hough, Ballas or a Chmerkovskiy. That was season 9, with the biggest cast ever at 16 couples, where Maks went out in 12th place with Debi Mazar, Mark was out in 9th place with Melissa Joan Hart and Derek came up just short in fourth place with Joanna Krupa.

Dancing with the Stars
without the Chmerkovskiys is like American Idol without Simon Cowell. Sure, it can go on, but it won’t be the same. Will any of the other male pros get a chance to shine, seeing as none of the five competing on DWTS: Athletes have ever finished in the Final 3? Who will Len Goodman butt heads with now that he doesn’t have the Chmerkovskiys to criticize for their choreography?

DWTS: Athletes will certainly be an interesting test to see how the show works without its standard male pros. Will Alan Bersten step into Val’s shoes? Will Sasha and Emma take over as the new Maks and Peta, the ballroom’s ultimate couple? Or will the show still find a way to cram the Chmerkovskiys back into the show, either with a guest performance or as a guest judge?

In some ways, DWTS: Athletes may be a test balloon for the show’s future. If it works, then Dancing with the Stars may have a long life with a new, younger crop of pro partners like Alan and Jenna. If it doesn’t, then perhaps the Chmerkovskiys, Derek and Mark were the real stars and everything falls apart without them.

How do you feel about DWTS without a Chmerkovskiy? Dancing with the Stars: Athletes premieres Monday, April 30 at 8/7c on ABC. For more updates, like BuddyTV’s DWTS Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of ABC)

John Kubicek

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

John watches nearly every show on TV, but he specializes in sci-fi/fantasy like The Vampire DiariesSupernatural and True Blood. However, he can also be found writing about everything from Survivor and Glee to One Tree Hill and Smallville.