Although 2020 has been a rough year for many, Artem Chigvintsev couldn’t be happier! The Russia native, 38, welcomed his first child, Matteo Artemovich Chigvintsev, with fiancée Nikki Bella in July. A month later, he was asked to return to Dancing With the Stars!
Since he was cut from season 28 of the ABC reality series, Chigvintsev was “very emotional” when producers called to ask him to return for season 29.
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“Long story short, I [originally] contacted the producers saying, ‘Hey, I’m open to coming back to the show.’ There had been a few conversations back and forth but nothing was guaranteed and then it happened,” the Burn the Floor alum told Entertainment Tonight. “When they said the line, ‘We want to have you back,’ I teared up.”
He noted that he was “speechless” at first — then just wanted to celebrate with his family.
“All I wanted to do was be done with the phone call, go downstairs, tell Nicole and just squeeze my whole little family, and be like, ‘Oh my God, the most amazing thing happened,’” Chigvintsev said. “So, I’m dedicating this season to my baby boy.”
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The dancer also teased a bit about what to expect from the upcoming season, which will look a bit different amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s a new stage — very bright, very fancy, a lot of LED screens and there’s definitely going to be a different feel, for sure,” he shared. “We kind of have to co-exist with what’s happening in the world so they have to restructure the stage to make it top-notch. So it’s gonna be a whole new stage, a very surprising stage.”
Chigvintsev added that he thinks the set up “will surprise a lot of people” with the changes and new protocols in place.
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“I heard in the rehearsal room there’s going to be pre-set cameras,” the former Strictly Come Dancing star shared. “It’s going to be, like, no people besides the dancer and the celebrity.”
Chigvintsev has competed on eight seasons of Dancing With the Stars — including season 25 when he met his now soon-to-be wife.
Dancing With the Stars season 29 premieres on ABC Monday, September 14, at 8 p.m. ET.