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'Dancing with the Stars' Maksim: 'Melissa Gilbert is in great shape'

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Dancing with the Stars professional Maksim Chmerkovskiy has predicted that he and celebrity partner Melissa Gilbert will go far in the competition.

Chmerkovskiy told Access Hollywood that Gilbert measures up well to his previous partners Tia Carrere, Spice Girl Mel B, Brandy and Kirstie Alley.

Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Kirstie Alley on Dancing With The Stars

© ABC

Melissa Gilbert

© WENN



"[Melissa's] good. She's in great shape," the dance pro beamed. "She has gone through stuff in the last couple of years - physically - with surgery. I was worried about that, [but] knock on wood, things seem to be fine."

Gilbert has already received the support of Chmerkovskiy's previous partner Kirstie Alley, who finished as runner-up on Dancing with the Stars in 2011.

The Little House on the Prairie actress has now joked that Alley has advised her on how to deal with Chmerkovskiy's temper.

"[Alley's] happy for me. She said, 'Hold on to your crucifix, because it's going to be a bumpy ride'," Gilbert joked.

Gilbert will have to outlast Jaleel White, Katherine Jenkins, Gladys Knight, Maria Menounos and a host of other celebrities in order to win the coveted mirrorball trophy.

Dancing with the Stars premieres Monday, March 19 on ABC.

> Carrie Ann Inaba 'excited' for Gladys Knight on DWTS
> Sherri Shepherd on DWTS: 'I'll ask Clinton, Walters for votes'

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