Mark Ballas Says Dancing With The Stars Return “Felt Great”

Dancing with the Stars is back for Season 31. The show has a new home on Disney+ and a new co-host. Former contestant and mirror ball champion Alfonso Ribeiro is joining Tyra Banks as a co-host this season. Having Alfonso conducting interviews in the sky box just feels right.

And pro Mark Ballas, who had been absent from the DWTS ballroom for five years, is back, baby! Mark is dancing with TikTok sensation Charli D’Amelio. Charli is competing against her mother, Heidi D’Amelio, who is partnered with Artem Chigvintsev. A mother-daughter duo competing for the mirror ball is a first for DWTS.

Mark shared his feelings about returning to the show with US Weekly and other reporters after the season premiere. “It felt great. It felt the same but new, fresh [and] nostalgic. … It was a good time,” Mark stated. “It felt really good tonight.”

Charli and Mark nabbed a judges’ score of 32/40 for their sizzling cha-cha. That put them at the top of the leaderboard. Their routine impressed all the judges, including Mark’s good friend, Derek Hough. Derek and Mark competed on the show for years before Derek took a seat at the judges’ table for Season 29.

“You know, Derek and I have been friends since we were 10. Like, we’ve lived together, we went to school together every day,” Mark shared. “Dude used to steal my clothes. Like, we’re friends, you know what I mean? Brothers even.” The dance pro continued, “So it was really cool to be out here and … it was funny seeing him on the judges’ table ’cause I haven’t been here since he’s done that.”

Mark couldn’t help but praise Charli after their first performance. “It’s great to be in the top spot. We weren’t anticipating that,” Mark said. “The only thing we wanted to do was work super hard [and] maximize our rehearsal time and just do the best that we possibly could. And we had a good night tonight.” He added, “So I’m proud of [Charli].”

Charli “can’t wait to see” what her mother and her partner Artem have planned for the upcoming weeks. “I’m really excited. We all talked a little bit during rehearsal, the four of us, [and] it was a great time,” Charli remarked.

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“I have the best partner that I could have asked for, and I’m really proud of what we did today. … I’m excited to see what everyone else does,” she commented.

Mark, who starred in Jersey Boys on Broadway, made his debut on DWTS during Season 5 with partner Sabrina Bryan. He appeared as a pro for 19 seasons. Mark has danced with celebrity partners Kristin Cavallari of The Hills, Kim Kardashian of Keeping up with The Kardashians fame, Olympian Aly Raisman, and actress Candace Cameron Bure.

He went on to achieve mirror ball glory in Season 6 with Kristi Yamaguchi and in Season 8 with Shawn Johnson. Mark, who is from Texas, left DWTS after Season 25 wrapped. I’ve missed Derek and Mark’s bromance. I also love Mark’s creative choreography, so I’m happy to see him back in the ballroom!

TELL US- ARE YOU GLAD THAT MARK IS BACK? WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE DANCE PRO?

[Photo Credit: Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic]