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Did Dancing With the Stars Season 18 almost have four permanent judges, or was one longtime judge almost sitting out?

Maksim Chmerkovskiy was a guest judge for one week on last fall’s Season 17, and now he’s back as a competing pro — partnered with Olympian Meryl Davis, who was given Vegas’s best odds to win. But Maks told TODAY he almost returned to the spring season as a judge.

“I had that option,” Maks said. “I can’t reveal a lot, but I was offered a judge's position on the show. This was my decision [to return as a pro].”

He didn’t say if he would’ve been judge #4, as he was during his guest stint, or a replacement as Julianne Hough was when she filled in for Len Goodman during one of his weeks off. There were rumors that Len might want to retire from the U.S. version of DWTS, to save himself the long commute, but that doesn’t seem to be the case this season, since all three original judges are reportedly returning.

Maks said he asked himself why he was returning for another demanding pro season when he just about swore off the show, and the answer is now standing next to him. “I got [Meryl] and said, ‘OK! That’s why!’ We’ll see what happens," Maks said. “I’m very grateful to the show."

Do you think Maks made the right choice to return to DWTS as a pro instead of a judge? Would he have done so if the show had given him any other partner? DWTS Season 18 premieres Monday, March 17 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Source: TODAY