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The 9th season of Dancing With The Stars premiers tonight on ABC and the stars may be feeling the pressure of a new scoring and elimination process. The premier week will feature three consecutive nights of dancing with the 16 couples performing two dance routines.

“We like to mix things up every now and again to keep the audience on their toes,” Dancing’s executive producer Conrad Green says.

As usual, the judges will score each celebrity’s first dance of the night out of a possible 30 points. The second dance will be a relay in which each couple will dance for 30 seconds of a song. The couple with the lowest result will automatically go home, then the couple with the next two lowest results will dance off.

TMZ also reported some DWTS backstage gossip. Several sources have reported that Macy Gray is the most difficult star to work with on the show. As one source put it, “She doesn’t want to be there” and she has “regrets” she signed on. Another source says, she gets so frustrated and leaves rehearsal early. On another occasion, she refused to show up.

On the other hand, the worst dancer is said to be Ashley Hamilton, and is described as being very “painful to watch.”

According to TMZ, there are several contenders for best dancer. Donny Osmond, Aaron Carter, Chuck Liddell and Mya are all described as being very competitive and can bring it on the dance floor. And lastly, the most fun to watch is said to be the “Iron Chef” host Mark Dacascos by a mile. Not only is he entertaining to watch but he seems to be having a blast.

Maksim-Chmerkovskiy

Karina Smirnoff and Maksim Chmerkovskiy have called of their engagement. The Dancing With The Stars couple announced their split today.  Karina’s rep also confirms the split to USMagazine.

Maksim, 29, posted on his Twitter Monday: “What was meant to be a ‘life long book’, turned into a ‘chapter’…….and now that ‘chapter’ is finished…… Se la vie…”  The twitter status has been deleted as of Tuesday.

The professional dancing duo got engaged on New Year’s Eve 2008 — just six months after Karina, 31, split from Mario Lopez. They had planned on getting married in June 2010, but prolonged their engagement in July because of their busy Broadway schedules.

They will both be returning to DWTS when the new season returns to ABC Sept. 21.  Maksim is paired with Entourage star Debi Mazar, and Karina with Aaron Carter.

This split seems rather sudden considering the couple was photographed holding hands a little over a week ago, on August 30th. The photo is below -

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ABC has released the photos of the 16 contestants that will appear on this season’s Dancing With The Stars along their partners. The show, which premiers Monday, September 21 at 8/7c on ABC, will also have a few twists, including a double elimination on Sept. 23. We will definitely be watching.

Photos of the stars and their partners are below-

Dancing With The Stars Joanna Krupa and Derek Hough

Joanna Krupa and Derek Hough

Dancing With The Stars Louie Vito and Chesie Hightower

Louie Vito and Chesie Hightower

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The dancing partners for the 16 celebrity contestants on Dancing With The Stars were announced on Good Morning America on Monday.

The show, which premiers Monday, September 21 at 8/7c on ABC, will also have a few twists, including a double elimination on Sept. 23.

The full list of the celebrities and their partners is below -

Mya, singer, and Dmitri Chaplin
Melissa Joan Hart, actress, and reigning DWTS champ Mark Ballas
Michael Irvin, former Dallas Cowboy, and Anna Demidova
Ashley Hamilton, actor, comedian, singer-songwriter, and Edyta Sliwinska
Aaron Carter, singer, and Karina Smirnoff
Kathy Ireland, former supermodel-turned-businesswoman, and Tony Dovolani
Debi Mazar, actress, and Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Natalie Coughlin, U.S. Olympic swimmer, and season 1 champ Alec Mazo
Louie Vito, snowboarder, and Chesie Hightower
Chuck Liddell, ultimate fighting champ, and Anna Trebunskaya
Donny Osmond, singer, and Kym Johnson
Tom DeLay, former congressman, and two-time Dancing champ Cheryl Burke
Macy Gray, singer, and Jonathan Roberts
Joanna Krupa, model and actress, and season 7 champ Derek Hough
Mark Dacascos, Iron Chef personality, and Lacey Schwimmer
Kelly Osbourne, reality star, and Louis Van Amstel

DWTS-9-Cast

ABC has announced the 16 newest stars set to appear on Dancing With The Stars’ ninth season which premieres Sept 21. Sixteen celebrities — including Donny Osmond, Melissa Joan Hart and Aaron Carter — have signed on.

DWTS executive producer Conrad Green tells PEOPLE about the cast increase, “It was about trying to make it as big as possible and try to get that sense of fun and excitement and real character come through on the show.”

The new lineup also includes former Dallas Cowboy Michael Irvin, reality star Kelly Osbourne and supermodel-turned-billionaire businesswoman Kathy Ireland. Lesser-known celebrities, such as snowboarder Louie Vito, Iron Chef’s Mark Dacascos and model Joanna Krupa join the cast as well. The most surprising contestant by far is former House of Representatives Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

Below are the 16 stars:

  1. Chuck Liddell: The Ultimate Fighting Championship member .
  2. Louie Vito: A professional snowboarder who has participated in the Winter X Games.
  3. Natalie Coughlin: The swimmer earned six gold medals at the 2008 Olympics.
  4. Michael Irvin: A former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver who was inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame.
  5. Mya: A Grammy-winning R&B singer and former star of Broadway’s Chicago.
  6. Kelly Osbourne: The London-born daughter of Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne.
  7. Macy Gray: She won one Grammy and was nominated for four more.
  8. Debi Mazar: Stars on Entourage and has also appeared in four Madonna videos.
  9. Ashley Hamilton: The son of George Hamilton and Alana Stewart (and stepson of Rod Stewart).04.
  10. Kathy Ireland: The former model (who appeared in Sports Illustrated for 13 consecutive years) .
  11. Joanna Krupa: Maxim named her the sexiest swimsuit model in the world.
  12. Aaron Carter: A pop singer (and little brother to the Backstreet Boys’ Nick Carter) .
  13. Donny Osmond: The one-time teen idol used to perform with his brothers as a kid in the Osmond Brothers.
  14. Melissa Joan Hart: A mother of two boys, she is most known for starring in Sabrina the Teenage Witch from 1996 to 2003.
  15. Tom DeLay: A former Republican House Majority Leader who resigned after being indicted on campaign finance violations.
  16. Mark Dacascos: The chairman of Kitchen Stadium on Iron Chef America since 20.
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