The battle for the mirror ball trophy is on, and with 13 standouts slated to return to Dancing With the Stars, we have a feeling the competition could really heat up. We sat down with the all-star contestants to talk about their new competitors and possible partners as they prepared to get back into the swing of things. (Oh, dance puns, how we love thee.)
With a busy soap schedule on top of rehearsals, season-one winner Kelly Monaco hasn't had time to consider the competition just yet. "I really haven't sized them up. I'm going to have to do some homework when I get home," she tells us.
On the flip side is veteran winner Drew Lachey, who's worried about previous contestants eager to right past wrongs. "I think the runner-ups are definitely going to come in with a chip on their shoulder," he says. "They didn't win the first time so they feel, 'I came this close and I wanted that mirror ball trophy!' So I think Gilles and Joey are probably going to come with a little bit of an edge in that department."
Melissa Bycroft seemed most concerned about a possible repeat from past winners. "The ones I'm most anxious to see [are] Kelly Monaco and Drew Lachey. I'll bet you anything that they're in the best shape of their lives and they're going to come out and wipe the floor with us!"
Besides worrying about each other, all the contests were eager to find out who their partners would be this time around. With the producers holding out, Helio Castroneves reached out to his previous professional counterparts. "I did send [Julianne Hough] a message, but obviously Apolo also won with her and I'm like, 'if you choose, you better choose me!'"
Bristol Palin also expressed a desire to work with her old partner, Mark Ballas. "It's going to be weird if I'm not partnered with him because he has been like my older brother," she tells us. "He totally just put me under his wing and now it's like, who's going to be my partner?"
Unfortunately, we won't find out the answer to that question for another couple of weeks. And for those already keeping score at home, oddmakers have put Apolo Ohno, Helio Castroneves and Shawn Johnson at the top of their list of most likely to win this season.
To hear more from the all-stars about their stiffest competition, check out our interviews with the cast below!
Do you agree with those predictions? And who do you think should be partnered together?
—Reporting by Tierney Bricker