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Bring on the parade of former child stars (I'm not complaining–The Wonder Years is my Netflix go-to!) and a loud housewife as we prepare for an eighteenth season of Dancing with the Stars. While all of the original judges will be returning, host Brooke Burke has been replaced with sports commentator Erin Andrews. Also returning? Dance pro (and eye candy) Maksim Chmerkovskiy! He reveals that he was actually invited back in a different capacity.

Also, Lisa Vanderpump paved the way for Bravo housewives on the dance competition, and she has some sound advice for competitor NeNe Leakes of Real Housewives of Atlanta. She knows that it takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to make it on the show, but Lisa promises NeNe that it's worth every minute!

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Sharing with the Today Show that he was initially asked to return to DWTS as a paddle wielding panelist, Maks explains, “I had that option. 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).”

Being paired with ice dancer Meryl Davis is icing on the cake for Maks when it comes down to a chance at the mirror ball trophy. He jokes, “There was a moment when I asked myself, ‘Why? Why? Why? You’ve done enough! Another 10 weeks of routines and stress and pressure?’” Adding, “I got (Meryl Davis) and said, ‘OK! That’s why!’ We’ll see what happens."

Maks states, "I’m very grateful to the show. As Matthew McConaughey — who’s now my new favorite person — says, ‘Gratitude gets reciprocated.'" Maks, he's my favorite person as well!

While Maks gets ready for his partnership with Meryl, Lisa is hoping to help her fellow housewife go far in the competition. She wrote the following open letter to NeNe courtesy of Bravo

First off, I have to offer my congratulations, NeNe! The upside of doing Dancing With the Stars: Oh, what an incredible eight weeks of panting, gyrating and legitimately being unfaithful with one of the cutest guys on the planet! Living a dream as you float around the dance floor, camaraderie with a group of people as you fight for survival.

Downside? It's seven hours a day, you can't even stand up for seven hours let alone dance. You're absolutely frozen with fear as you peek outside the curtain, knowing that 20 million people might see you land on your arse. You're sore in places you didn't know you had!

But all in all, it's the most fantastic experience of a lifetime. You join a family with DWTS that stays with you. I will be there sending you love and cheering you on. Bring the glitter ball home to Bravo! You go girl, get your jive on!

Love,
Lisa Vanderpump

I can't wait to see if the Neenster and Candace Cameron Bure become fast friends. There is something about this cast of competitors that is very intriguing to me!

TELL US-WHAT DO YOU THINK OF LISA'S ADVICE TO NENE? WOULD MAKS HAVE MADE A GOOD JUDGE?

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