Maksim Chmerkovskiy by John Sciulli/WireImage.com, Cristian de la Fuente by Bob D'Amico/ABC, Cheryl Burke by Craig Sjodin/ABC
He may be sitting on the sidelines this time around, but Maksim Chmerkovskiy hasn't removed himself entirely from the sixth season of Dancing with the Stars. Shortly after the new celebrity-pro pairings were revealed, the handsome hoofer shared with us his more-than-qualified take on some of the contenders. - Deborah Starr Seibel

Cristián de la Fuente and Cheryl Burke
Will things look pretty for the Ugly Betty star? "He's a good-looking dude, and Latin, and has that swagger," says Maksim. "And [two-time champion] Cheryl knows how to do her thing, getting people to the finals."

Jason Taylor and Edyta Sliwinska
Tackling the ballroom floor is nothing new for a Dancing star (see: Rice, Jerry and Smith, Emmett). "I really like Jason," says Maksim. "He and Edyta are going to do great together and make a beautiful couple."

Kristi Yamaguchi and Mark Ballas
The Olympic gold-medalist very well could have the mettle to go far in the competition. "This pairing is one of the better ones," Maksim opines, "because they're alike. Kristi's quick and Mark is quick."

Marissa Jaret Winokur and Tony Dovolani
The matchup of the diminutive Hairspray star and Dovolani makes Maks more than skeptical. "She's like five feet [tall] and she's with a [six-foot] guy! In ballroom, we like the couple to be more the same height," he points out.

Monica Seles and Jonathan Roberts
On that same note, Maksim says the leggy tennis pro should ace the early rounds in the company of Roberts. "Monica is a proven athlete, trained and physically able. I like her pairing with Jonathan because she's tall and he's tall. They're a good match."

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