Say it ain't so! Now whose washboard abs are we going to spend two nights a week drooling over?
Hours before the winner is crowned on tonight's season finale of Dancing With the Stars, rumors are swirling that Maksim Chmerkovskiy (the only pro still in the running who hasn't yet won a mirror-ball trophy) that the competition-ender may also be the end of the ever-bickering charming pro.
Which would make this, his potentially final appearance on the ABC reality juggernaut, all the more bittersweet should he and partner Kirstie Alley not take first.
But is Maks really going the way of the Houghs? Will the pro be taking his final turn on the dance floor tonight? Will there really be a massive ego-sized hole in next fall's lineup? Get your innuendo-laced comebacks ready, because this rumor is…
So…possible. Much as it pains us to say.
ABC had no comment on the remarks and Chmerkovskiy's reps are keeping equally mum, but last night at least, Maks' words seemed to speak for themselves.
"I don't know," he told AOL TV after last night's show. "It takes a lot out of you. When you invest that much of you into something that's supposed to be just work, you [can] get misinterpreted. I don't know [if I'm coming back]. We'll see. Right now, I'm drained."
We can hear the choir of protesting housewives from here.
Of course, should he not return, that wouldn't mean he would be gone gone. In fact, back in 2008, Maks took a short break, sitting out the reality competition's sixth season, only to be back and raring to go for season seven.
While Kirstie has also not directly addressed her partner's comments from last night, she has talked up the fact that she believes Maks could make it as an actor and only this morning tweeted her appreciation for all the show's pros in general.
"You PROS have become STARS in your own RIGHT…U should be REVERED as such!!! In my book u are IRREPLACEABLE!!!!" she wrote.
Whatever the outcome—and bear in mind, this could all end up being a little last-minute fun with the press—in any case, he'll no doubt be fielding questions about his comments in the coming days.
As always, win or lose, the final three couples (Maks and Kirstie, Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas, who may have a hell of a birthday gift in store for him tonight, and Hines Ward and Kym Johnson) will take a red-eye out to New York immediately following tonight's show in order to appear bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (or, more likely, completely jetlagged) on tomorrow's Good Morning America.