‘Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars’ Premiere: What the Contestants Are Already Saying About Their Competition (VIDEOS)

By: Gabrielle Chung / September 24, 2012

Maks to Leave 'DWTS'
Maksim Chmerkovskiy will have three more seasons.
DWTS Dancers in Bikinis
Cheryl Burke and Kelly Monaco Bikini in Malibu
The wait is over: Dancing With the Stars’ all-star season kicks off Monday night and the series’ most memorable alums are heading back to the dance floor.

Tension is undoubtedly high this season as former DWTS contestants get another shot at the famed mirror ball trophy, and the star-studded cast is working harder than ever to outdo themselves.

Judge Carrie Ann Inaba told Celebuzz that this season will be the toughest yet, saying, “I intend to go in and judge with way higher standards because now they know what they’re doing.”

How are the contestants preparing themselves for the grueling season?

Celebuzz recently caught up with many of this year’s returning contestants to dish about the season’s toughest competitors.

Gilles Marini, who lost the title by less than one percent on Season 8, told us that he’s working overtime to ensure that he’s crowned champion this season.

“I’m going to work until the last minute to make it so beautiful that every dance (performance) people will be mesmerized,” he said, adding that he’s been the one cracking the whip during rehearsals with partner Peta Murgatroyd.

“I go until she says stop which means she usually says stop before I say stop. She was like, ‘I’m tired, I can’t breathe anymore,’ and I’m like ‘let’s do more.”


Meanwhile, Shawn Johnson — the woman who beat Marini in Season 8 — tells us that the Brothers & Sisters actor will be her toughest competitor.

“He’s out with a vengeance and he’s got something to prove,” she said to Celebuzz, adding, “But the whole cast is going to be hard this year. There’s so many great people and it’s very challenging.”


Likewise, dance pro Cheryl Burke — who is partnered with former winner Emmett Smith — has her eye on everyone in the cast.

“Everyone is really good. I’m just happy Emmitt is the only football player on the show,” Burke revealed. “You have Apolo [Ohno], who is loved by everybody, Shawn [Johnson], and you have other sports players on the show, so I think it’s going to be between them.”


Fellow ballroom dancer Kym Johnson also echoes Burke’s sentiments, telling Celebuzz, “I know everyone is going to be so good.”

“We haven’t seen anyone else’s routines. Everyone is being very secretive in the studios,” she added.

Who are you rooting for this season? Launch the gallery above to see this year’s all-stars line-up, then sound off below.