On the set of ''Dancing With the Stars.'' ABC's mad hot ballroom showdown is back (and front... and turn...)
Credit: Dancing with the Stars: Adam Larkey

After becoming a national addiction last summer, Dancing With the Stars has returned (ABC, Thursdays and Fridays, 8 p.m.) with 10 new toe-tapping couples. We spent a day in rehearsal with five duos as they busted their moves — and occasionally their egos.

1 George Hamilton & Edyta Sliwinska

Rather than rehearsing, Hamilton is busy rambling about his recent boat trip to the Bahamas while partner Sliwinska feigns interest, having heard the story already. ”…So I’m stepping off the dock…I fell backward 12 feet…” Suffice it to say the 66-year-old former Dynasty star is attempting to waltz with four broken ribs and a busted knee. ”I see myself like Seabiscuit. At first I couldn’t move very much. But it’s gotten better every day. My charm should carry me into week 2.”

2 stacy keibler & tony dovolani

Once a wrestler, always a wrestler. ”Do I get to whip my body around?” WWE star Keibler asks Dovolani while doing a rumba. ”Not yet,” he replies. ”We have work to do.” There probably isn’t much fan overlap between wrestling and ballroom dancing, so Keibler knows she’ll have to hoof it doubly hard to win. ”[When someone]] says, How are you?’ I immediately go, I’m on Dancing With the Stars. It’s on at this time. Don’t forget to vote!”’

3 lisa rinna & louis van amstel

After a mid-waltz laugh attack (”Could you tell we f—ed up?”), Rinna sits down to explain her initial dance-partner issues. ”My Pilates teacher told me, Whatever you do, don’t get the guy with the ponytail or you’re out the first week,”’ says the Melrose Place star. ”So who shows up at my door? Friggin’ Fabio here.” Still, van Amstel (who has since trimmed his ‘do) is looking happier than he did last season. ”I was afraid I’d have somebody unpopular again,” he says of his season 1 partner, Bachelorette Trista Sutter. Adds Rinna: ”Trista wouldn’t do anything. I, on the other hand, will do anything.”

4 Drew Lachey & Cheryl Burke

”For Latin dancing,” the former 98 Degree-er says between his cha-cha practices, ”you need arrogance to be a little more commanding. I have to work on it.” As his pregnant wife, Lea, bursts out laughing (”He’s fine with arrogance”), mom Cate Reinert and brother Nick look on. ”Which dance was that?” Nick calls out, after bobbing in and out of the studio to answer his cell. ”For Drew, moving always came naturally,” Mom explains. ”Nick? It was never natural.” Hey, Drew, at least you’ve got one vote.

5 Tia Carrere & Max ChmerkovskIy

”We better hurry, because she has to milk in 45 minutes,” Chmerkovskiy says of his partner, who gave birth to daughter Bianca just three months ago. ”Milk? I’m not a cow!” laughs the actress. ”See what I have to deal with? We’re like the Bickersons.” Looking impossibly svelte for a new mom in a skintight black turtleneck and flowy black skirt, Carrere says she’s taking a no-pain, no-gain approach. ”I figured doing this show would be a good way to lose baby weight, but I’m so sleep deprived it’s not even funny.”

Episode Recaps

Dancing With the Stars
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