By Lynette Rice
Updated March 30, 2009 at 12:00 PM EDT

Dancing With the Stars‘ judge (and EW celebrity blogger) Carrie Ann Inaba thinks she may know what — or who — is behind all the crazy injuries on the show this season. From Nancy O’Dell’s torn meniscus to Steve Wozniak’s pulled hamstring, Inaba believes the ouchies may be due to the dancing partners who “have gotten more competitive as the seasons have gone on.” So are Derek Hough, Cheryl Burke, and the impossibly gorgeous Edyta Sliwinska attempting the impossible with their klutzy C-listers? “The professional dancers are getting more and more competitive amongst themselves, and they are pushing their celebrities very hard,” Inaba admitted to EW while walking the red carpet for Nickelodeon’s Kids Choice Awards on March 28. “The professionals’ reputations are at stake, and they want to win the title just as bad if not worse than the celebs because that is what they do for a living. I also think that the celebrities are pushing themselves harder.

“The first season, no one really knew what to expect or what it would take or how hard we would judge them,” Inaba added. “They know that if they do well on the show their careers can take off. It can really help on a business level. Look at Mario Lopez — and he didn’t even win. It is a great stage for America to get to know them for who they are now, and it can be rejuvenating. Plus, they get bragging rights if they win. And a lot of them use it to get in shape. Anyway, I think they start to put in more energy, practice longer, and take bigger risks in the routines, so someone is bound to get hurt. Or a few people as the case has been. But I think they see it as worth it. Big rewards.” (Reporting by Carrie Bell)