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Derek Hough, Shannon Elizabeth

Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Is every last contestant on Dancing with the Stars doomed? We ran into dancing cutie Derek Hough at a recent H'wood shindig and were super concerned about last year's record-breaking injuries—Steve Wozniak's hurt foot, Gilles Marini's separated shoulder, Steve-O's busted back, just to name a few of the ballroom-related ailments.

Is this curse far from over?

Says Derek: "I think everybody is taking care a little more this year, and they're pacing themselves a little more."

Uh, is Hough speaking too soon? Or is he just not paying attention?

The season has barely begun and already Tom DeLay fractured his foot, Kathy Ireland and Mya have had to get stitches, and Debi Mazer's neck is in a brace. Everyone's dropping like flies! How the hell does Hough get through it?

"I'm always injured," Der tells us. "I throw my neck out all the time. It's an ongoing thing, I just dance through it. So it's fine."

Yeah, for you, maybe! You're a professional dancer, not some C-List politician or actor wearing yourself out. We have a feeling this is gonna keep the real A-listers away from the dancing competish—who wants to sacrifice their movie-making million-dollar insured bod by slumming it on a reality show for a disco ball trophy?

We're also wondering about what's going on with Derek and his former gf and dance partner Shannon Elizabeth—they back on or what? Shannon tells us about their relaysh status herself:

"We are friends we're hanging out. He's one of my best friends and we have fun hanging out together, so there's no reason to stop that."

The beautiful babe was Derek's date for the evening at this par-tick H'wood fete—in a completely platonic way, that is. "It's great to still be friends with someone you dated."

We agree, Shan, but showing up with your recent ex to a party as one another's plus ones? That's a little too friendly, we think—that's almost reaching sorta-creepy Bruce and Demi territory.


Catch all the new moves in our Dancing With the Stars Season Nine gallery