Credit: WENN.com Photo: Brandy & Maks Get Close on Week 9
SWEET

Week 4: Brandy tells Maks she hasn't been with a man in six years and she doesn't feel sexy. So Maks decides they should practice being romantic by having dinner at a bar. They both look gorgeous and he sets flowers, chocolates, and wine for her on the table; for some reason she decides to tell him that's not how you introduce flowers to a girl. Brandy: "You have to act like you like me." He takes this rather rude instruction in stride, showing the softer side of Maks, and she likes this side of him. They end up looking beautiful together in their Rumba. As Carrie Ann puts it, "Brandy, there you are! I've been waiting for the real Brandy to show herself. It's like your comeback night." Agreed — and Maks' attitude adjustment has a lot to do with it.

SWEET

Week 6: Not only do Brandy & Maks get along on Rock and Roll Week, even Len gets along with Maks, calling the pro "my hero" for his Tango choreography to "Holding Out for a Hero." This week Maks & Brandy hold onto their place at the top of the judges' leader board and also win the dance marathon. It's a great week of victory and bonding for the roller coaster couple. And Maks' tush looks especially sweet in his tight pleather pants. Just sayin'...

SWEET

Week 7: This actually could've been much worse. At the end of his Foxtrot with Brandy, Maks goes into the Celebriquarium to talk to Brooke. Brooke says Maks has been in the finals twice, does he think Brandy has what it takes to go all the way? Maks: "Actually I've been in the finals three times, thank you, Brooke." He then immediately talks about how Brandy has what it takes, blah blah blah. He doesn't scoff at her or milk the moment; he just corrects her and moves on.

OBNOXIOUS

Week 8: Unfortunately, no one moves on quickly from the moment Tom describes as "The Ballroom Smackdown!" The problem starts when Carrie Ann mentions she would've liked Brandy & Maks' Insta-Cha-Cha-Cha to have a faster start. Maks' reaction? "Relax, don't worry about it." That casual dismissal launches a sensitivity battle between the two. Carrie Ann starts saying Kurt did more dancing than Brandy. Maks talks over her by saying she should just give them a score of "7" — one point lower than Kurt. It ends on a very chilly note. Len seems to soften the blow with a compliment to Maks & Brandy, but then Tom plays instigator and asks for Len's opinion of Carrie Ann. Len backs his fellow judge. Cue Maks' second round of talking over a judge to make his case. After that, in the Celebriquarium, Brooke asks Maks what was making him so emotionally invested. He launches into a spiel about how the pros work so hard and their work is often overlooked. Then he talks over Brooke, who was trying to get him some votes, by adding that Carrie Ann is welcome to come watch Brandy rehearse. This Ballroom Smackdown takes on Spankgate proportions.

SWEET

Week 8: This very same week, on the Results Show, we hear what Maks said to Brandy right before their controversial Insta-Cha-Cha-Cha. Maks: "It's not about them, it's about us. Don't try to please anybody. Do it for you." According to Maks' Season 10 partner, Erin Andrews, that's the kind of sweet, protective thing Maks often says. Brandy appreciates how Maks stands up for her in front of the judges; he says she was unfairly penalized by having the attention focus on him and his choreography instead of her dancing.

SWEET

Week 9: In an interesting bit of karma, Maks & Brandy dedicate their Semifinals Paso Doble to victims of bullying (like Brandy in Week 3?). And right after that they are eliminated. We know Maks is very frustrated with the outcome of the Week 9 Results Show, but he never shows it on air. When Brooke and Tom ask him how he feels, Ukrainian Maks says his family came to this country because people vote and their voices count. He loves that the show represents that. He doesn't regret a moment from his past seasons on the show or this season. It's a very professional exit that shows Maks can keep his emotions in check when he wants to. It's a good note to end on...even if he kind of negates it by bashing the season in subsequent media interviews.

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Credit: WENN.com Photo: Brandy & Maks Week 9 Dance
The story of Maksim Chmerkovskiy can be filed under "passionate." He's passionate about dancing. Passionate about his partners. Passionate about being completely blunt about how he's feeling at any given moment. We applaud Maks' honesty but shake our heads over his occasional diva outbursts. Now that we've been denied his presence for the Dancing with the Stars finale (sniff!), let's take a look back at his nicest and nastiest moments from Season 11.

OBNOXIOUS

Week 2: Maks & Brandy are already "butting heads like crazy" only two weeks into the season. Brandy says his teaching approach sometimes is "a**holey." He says that kind of comment is not necessary. He adds, when he's being an a**hole, we'll know. (True.) She counters that he's passive-aggressive. He calls it passionate. (See!) After their not-so-great Jive, Len says he didn't like her solo. Brandy immediately pipes up with, "His fault, not mine." Maks nods his agreement, but as Tom notes, "I love the way you're abandoning each other."

OBNOXIOUS

Week 3: Week 2 was bad for Brandy & Maks, but it was just the warm up. What Maks had last season with partner Erin Andrews was playful bickering, but this week he gets dangerously  close to bullying Brandy. She didn't like how last week it seemed like she was throwing Maks under the bus, so this week she decided to bring some tape with the words "I Love Maks" and put it across her mouth. Brandy tells us "Maks's teaching style is 'My way or the highway'" and Maks counters with "Brandy's one of those people that needs somebody tough, somebody who gets her to do things." He says that's what he needed and — the key phrase — how he became how he is. So we have a cycle of behavior. Brandy says her sensitive side feels like Maks bullies her, but she is not going to break down. When he asks, at the end of their rehearsal tape, if she is crashing, she says "I'm sensitive but I'm not weak, Maks, come on."

OBNOXIOUS

Week 3: Len starts the drama at the end of Brandy & Maks's Bodyguard-inspired Samba. At this point we've just seen the video package where Maks verbally pushes and physically spanks Brandy. [See above] Len: "I thought, Maks, that a bodyguard would be protective and I didn't feel in that VT [video tape] or in that dance that you were protective toward your partner." Maks seems to shrug this off with a funny look and "I don't know what that means." Instead of moving on, Len just raises his voice: "I'll tell you what it means! Slapping her on the ass, giving it all this. It's not the way to train, in my opinion." Maks: "You been to Rio?" Len: "Well, you go your way, I'll go mine." Maks: "You been to Rio? That's where Samba comes from." Len: "I did like it. But I didn't like that whole VT of you training." These guys will never stop speaking past each other. Carrie Ann tries to get in on Spank-gate by spanking Maks, but he scuttles away, saying something about how only Brandy can do that. Then he spanks Tom on his way to the Celebriquarium. Do the rules apply to everyone but Maks?