Maks is back, and not as a judge. On Thursday it was confirmed that Maksim Chmerkovskiy will make his triumphant return to Dancing with the Stars as one of the professional partners on season 23.

Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Emma Slater Return as Pros for 'Dancing with the Stars' Season 23

This will be his return as a pro since he hasn’t competed on the show since season 18 when he won his first and only Mirror Ball with Meryl Davis. Since then he has returned a few times to DWTS, but usually as a guest judge.

Maks is stepping in as his fiancee, defending champion Peta Murgatroyd, is taking the season off due to expecting their first child. Once again he will be competing against his brother, Val, who has also won a Mirror Ball since his brother left the show.

Another returning pro is Emma Slater. The British dancer made it all the way to the finale in her first season with Bill Engvall, but she was absent from last season. She joins Witney Carson, Lindsay Arnold, Allison Holker, and Sharna Burgess on the female pro side.

As for the male pros, Maks is actually the fifth one e born in Russia (or the USSR), joining his brother Val plus Artem Chigvintsev, Gleb Savchenko, and Sasha Farber. That means DWTS is bringing back at least four pros who did not compete last season (Maks, Gleb, Emma, and Allison).

UPDATE: Troupe member Jenna Johnson has tweeted that she will be a pro partner for season 23 for the first time. She joins Witney, Lindsay, Allison, and Artem as the fifth former So You Think You Can Dance contestant to be a pro this season. This will be the first time DWTS has a brand-new pro since season 19, when Keo, Artem, and Allison joined the roster.

Also, Tony Dovolani, who has competed every single year since season 2, tweeted that he will NOT be a part of season 23. With Mark Ballas rumored to return, that leaves us with six male pros and six female pros. Odds are there will be one more to join that list.

The full cast for Dancing with the Stars season 23 will be revealed Tuesday, August 30 on Good Morning America. The competition begins Monday, September 12 at 8 pm on ABC.

(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.