Credit: Jana Cruder/ ABC

The 16 contestants for Dancing With the Stars‘ ninth season have all survived their first two weeks of rehearsal (despite this photo of Donny Osmond on the ground and Mark Dacascos’ much-publicized bruised sole). The celebs, who had various start dates from August 17 through August 21, were given training guidelines for the first time in the show’s history. Why? “When they do the show in the UK, people take it much more like it’s a bit of fun, but Americans are so competitive,” exec producer Conrad Green told us when the cast was first announced. “Everyone comes into it, ‘Oh, this is a bit of fun, it’s a bit of fun… Ohmygosh, look at his quickstep, it’s incredible! I’ve got to do better!’ We do spend most of our time encouraging people to just relax a little.”

After injuries hit an all-time high last season, producers consulted experts who recommended training limitations for the first two weeks of rehearsal to give the contestants’ bodies time to adjust. They were only allowed to train five hours a day, and they couldn’t go for longer than two hours without a half hour break. They also had to take at least one day entirely off each week. “Once the first two weeks are out of the way, there should be sufficient muscle development and muscle memory to help cope with the trauma of training,” Green said. Which means: Game on! The contestants are now on their own. It would probably be crass to do a poll asking who you think will train to the point of serious injury first… so we’ll just suggest you answer the question in the comments section. (Stay healthy, Donny. And remember: You can actually dance. Don’t sell yourself short and go for an “entertaining” number.)

Photo Credit: Jana Cruder/ABC

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Dancing With the Stars

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