Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy did not have their best night last night on Dancing With the Stars Season 18, Week 8, but … in some ways, maybe they did.

Guest judge Abby Lee Miller was extra tough on them, helping to push them to bottom of the leaderboard going into the Semifinals. But Maks stood up to her, Meryl said their Rumba was actually one of her favorite dances, and fans supported them vocally online. Team M&M has never looked stronger, even if they may also be vulnerable going into Week 9.

Before the Week 8 show, host Tom Bergeron had a great interview with Annie Barrett, who is now with The Hollywood Reporter. They talked about Maks’s psychological change this season, thanks in large part to his Olympic partner. “This is such a great relationship that he has with Meryl,” Tom said. “I had a friend the other day who wanted to know, ‘Are they getting romantic?’ I said no I honestly think from everything I've seen that it's a very sweet, almost big brother-little sister kind of thing.” That’s not quite what we’re seeing, but OK!

“I think this is his best season, I really do,” Tom added. “I think in a lot of ways, you're getting to see the Maks that I've always been very fond of. Bruno [Tonioli] just said to me during one of the breaks, ‘What's Maks on this season?’ I said it's really not that, it's just the right chemistry. Plus, he's a little older, he's at a different point with his life and career, and as I think he's even said on the air, he's learning to enjoy the journey of it more. I don't wanna jinx anything, but boy, I don't think he's ever been closer to the mirrorball.”

Very sweet. And hopefully it wasn’t a jinx, although more of Maks’ “bad boy” side did show up on Week 8. He’s still passionate Maks, but that’s not a bad thing. And maybe this is his season. “You want to see your friends succeed, and other people have won multiple times,” Tom added. “I would love to see Maks win. By the way, I agree with what Bruno said about their Salsa. You look at Meryl out there with six pros behind her, and she was the one you were looking at. He's got the gold mine with her.”

There’s no question Meryl is amazing, whether the judges always appreciate it or not (8s for “sickled feet”?!). Do you agree that this is Maks’s best season yet?

DWTS Season 18 airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

SourceThe Hollywood Reporter