Derek Hough Talks Maksim's 'DWTS' Exit


ET caught up with the brand-new cast of Dancing with the Stars season 16 after their big Good Morning America announcement Tuesday morning, where one looming question couldn't be ignored -- can the show survive without popular pro dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy?

"It's the nature of the show, you know. People aren't asked back certain seasons and come back later," pro dancer Derek Hough says. "It'll be a different dynamic but that's what it's about I suppose. I'm excited for the new pros."

Pics: The Complete List of 'Dancing with the Stars' Winners

However, he did share that the producers of the ABC hit are trying to bring back a more "positive" vibe to the show -- and it's no secret that Maksim was a controversial figure in seasons past.

"We had a meeting with the producers, and like, we really want to bring the innocence back to the show and the positivity and the fun and not -- [yes] be competitive -- but we don't want to make it a negative competitiveness," Derek shares.

Derek, already a three-time winner of the coveted mirror ball trophy, is paired up with country star Kellie Pickler this season, who just happens to be the first crossover contestant from American Idol!

"It's exciting to kind of get the whole 'pick Pickler' thing going again and I don't know, it's great to step outside your comfort zone and try something new and I think it's when you do things like that you grow," an excited Kellie tells ET.

Related: 'DWTS' Season 16 Cast Revealed!

Check out the video to hear thoughts from brand-new DWTS contestants like Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, D.L. Hughley, Andy Dick, NFL wide receiver Jacoby Jones, Wynonna Judd and Real Housewives' Lisa Vanderpump.

Dancing with the Stars premieres March 26 on ABC.