Mischa Barton's 'DWTS' Partner Has High Hopes

He may have sat out Season 21, but Mischa Barton's Dancing With The Stars partner Artem Chigvintsev is back for Season 22 and he’s ready to win, with the former O.C. star at his side. As a veteran of basically every dance show on television, he knows what takes to make it to the top (he’s appeared on So You Think You Can Dance, Britain’s Strictly Come Dancing, and Dancing With The Stars) and Chigvintsev spoke with Bustle how he plans to take the Mirror Ball trophy in Season 22.

For those who missed Chigvintsev in previous seasons, he showed up on that beloved soundstage first as a member of the Dance Troupe in Season 18; made his debut as a professional dancer in Season 19 with Lea Thompson (they finished in sixth place); in Season 20, he danced with Patti LaBelle (they finished in eighth place); and finally, Chigvintsev was a ballroom pro in Season 21 before triumphantly returning this season. And with all that experience, he's got good reason to feel confident about rehearsals, and of course, his song choices for Barton.

“Rehearsal has been very good so far,” Chigvintsev says. “We’ve been working really hard to make the first performance very memorable.” Just how memorable? Well, Chigvintsev couldn’t go into that much detail, but he did drop a few hints. “I can’t reveal what songs we’re going to be using,” he says, “but we’re definitely using some current music. I don’t know if I’m allowed to say what, but one of them is a very current song, and it’s one of my favorites. We literally just know the songs for week one and week two and the rest is still up in the air.”

When pressed about his and Barton's biggest competition on Dancing With The Stars, Chigvintsev plays a little coy. “Honestly, I haven’t seen anyone, but I heard that everyone is really good in rehearsals,” he says. “When the first show is over I’ll be better able to say, ‘Oh, we have to watch out for that one or that one,’ but at this moment, I have no idea. Not everyone is in L.A. — some are in New York, Vegas, Atlanta, shuttling back and forth.”

And while the shuttling can make things difficult, Chigvintsev seems to be pretty invested in his DWTS success. "[With] shows like Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing With The Stars, you’re trying to find the strength of your partner and you’re trying to make them the best they can be. It’s not as difficult, dancing wise — it’s more about your creativity. I love both shows, [but] Dancing With The Stars is where my passion lays," he says.

But passion or not, Chigvintsev still has to face his greatest fear this season: Choreographing his contemporary number with Barton. “[Contemporary] is so not me. I’ve never been trained in modern dance like I’ve been trained in ballroom and Latin dance,” he says. “My favorite is the Argentine tango.”

Tango or two-step, I know I’m looking forward to seeing what Chigvintsev and Barton can do on this season on Dancing With The Stars.