Maks and KirstieCourtesy of ABC

How does Dancing With the Stars professional dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy describe the chemistry between him and his partner Kirstie Alley? “Amazing!” he told InStyle when we caught up with him in Los Angeles recently. Surely, the Chmerkovskiy and Alley duo is one of the most anticipated couples to watch during the premiere of the 12th season on ABC tonight, and Chmerkovskiy is going to play to the crowd. “The season’s going amazing, rehearsals are phenomenal,” he continued. “The strength for her is that she wants to do it, she wants to dance. She just loves the idea of it, she loves the movement, shedding off weight.” And she has—costume designer Randall Christensen told us Alley lost at least 16 pounds so far. “She’s the easiest person to change,” Chmerkovskiy said. “People with stuff on them that shouldn’t have been there to begin with are the easiest to change. It just requires their will and my will, and we’ve both have that.” So what dance will they blow you away with? “The cha-cha!” he said. “And she’s miles beyond what I expected.” We can’t wait!

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Sharon Clott, with reporting by Erica Helwick