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Sunday, March 08, 2009

It's Time to Return to the Dance Floor UPDATED

"Dancing With the Stars" begins its eighth season Monday, March 9th, but the show has already claimed two competitors…

Last week, ABC announced that Jewel and Nancy O’Dell have both withdrawn from the competition. Jewel fractured tibias in both legs, and O’Dell tore the meniscus in her knee and will require surgery. They will both appear on Monday’s premiere to discuss their injuries.

ABC has not named new partners for Dmitry Chaplin (first season) and Tony Dovolani (seventh season), but rumors are swirling that one of them will get Holly Madison of “The Girls Next Door.”

Here are the pairings we do know for Monday's show:

Belinda Carlisle and Jonathan Roberts (sixth season)

David Alan Grier and Kym Johnson (sixth season)

Shawn Johnson and Mark Ballas (fourth season)

Lil’ Kim and Derek Hough (fourth season)

Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke (seventh season)

Ty Murray and Chelsie Hightower (first season)

Steve-O and Lacey Schwimmer (second season)

Denise Richards and Maksim Chmerkovskiy (sixth season)

Lawrence Taylor and Edyta Sliwinska (eighth season)

Chuck Wicks and Julianne Hough (sixth season)

Steve Wozniak and Karina Smirnoff (sixth season)

So, who do I see doing well? Obviously, Shawn Johnson and Mark Ballas should do well since he knows how to work with Olympians (He won with Kristi Yamaguchi.), but I’m going to risk my excellent record of predictions and go with Lil’ Kim and Derek Hough. We know Kim has some hip-hop moves, but she’ll need to tone those down for the ballroom and I think Derek’s creative choreography can pull that off.

As for those who will struggle, I would look no further than poor Karina Smirnoff and her partner Steve Wozniak. Isn’t it about time to give Karina another decent partner? Woz is cool, but he’s going to have zero dance moves. I also think that Julianne might regret returning for her boyfriend, Chuck Wicks.

“Dancing With the Stars” premieres Monday, March 9th at 8 p.m. with a two-hour performance show. The results show premieres Tuesday, March 17th at 9 p.m., during which the bottom two couples will dance off to determine who will go home…

UPDATE: is reporting that Melissa Rycroft is replacing Nancy O'Dell. She is the woman that Jason Mesnick picked then dumped on "The Bachelor."

Photos Credit: Scott Garfield/ABC (Rehearsals) and Craig Sjodin/ABC