Maksim Chmerkovskiy Talks ‘Dancing’ Competition & Why He’s Glad He Wasn’t Paired With Joanna Krupa

The Season 9 premiere of “Dancing With the Stars” is still weeks away, but professional dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy says there are already competitors to look out for.

“Donny Osmond — he has a fan base that’s so massive that he doesn’t even need to dance, period. I think he’ll do great. He’s a great entertainer,” Maks, who is partnered up this season with Debi Mazar, told TV Guide.

Maks added that singing star Mya, who is paired with Dmitry Chaplin, is expected to do well, as is Lacey Schwimmer’s new dance floor partner.

“I think Mark Dacascos, on paper, is great. I remember watching him doing his thing with Jet Li,” Maks said of the “Cradle 2 The Grave” star. “He could be one of the dark horses people don’t think about. I think Debi will be great. [She could be] a dark horse too.”

One star heading into competition Maks is taking no notice of, however, is model Joanna Krupa.

His fellow cast member from ABC’s summer reality show, “The Superstars,” previously told TV Guide Maks is “a little impatient,” something that seemed to set Maks off.

“She doesn’t even know me. I’m very happy we’re not partners,” Maks told the mag. “If she wants to jump on the bandwagon of thinking I’m impatient, that’s fine by me. My focus is Debi. It’s silly of [Joanna] to say that since she’s never said a word to me.”

Maks added he’s not the bad guy people make him out to be.

“People always think, ‘Wow, Maks is so mean.’ I’m not mean. Yes, I’ll be frustrated, but I know what to get out of this person so we’ll be there Thursday. If I was always nice, pleasant and not educating my partner, then they won’t get out of this show what they themselves want,” he said. “What happens is people sign up not knowing what exactly they’re signing up for. When they’re freaking out, I go, ‘Listen, if you do exactly what I say, you’ll be fine.’ Sometimes we need to push our partners because that’s what they want us to do.”

As for his current partner Debi, Maks said things are going well.

“She’s doing great. We’re having fun. Well, we’re having a lot of fun. She’s really funny. She talks a lot,” he noted. “The energy’s great. I think 50 percent of the accomplishment is how you can get along because it’s a really long season and you want to spend it with somebody you’re cool with. From the past seasons, we know the audience also likes the banter, the personalities who get along and show fun and excitement.”

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