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Men take the floor during 'Dancing With the Stars' premiere

Eight celebrity malecontestants took the floor Monday on the premiere of the ninth seasonof ABC's “Dancing With the Stars.”

LOS ANGELES - So much for ladies first.

Eight celebrity male
contestants took the floor Monday on the premiere of the ninth season
of ABC's “Dancing With the Stars.” The women make their debuts Tuesday.

“I'm
a little intimidated actually,” said pop star Mya after watching the
men perform. “I'm glad that we sat this one out, but it's very
informative how the process works. ... The judges are very hard.”

Aaron
Carter came out on top, earning 32 points out of 40 for his two dances.
The 21-year-old singer credited his professional partner, Karina
Smirnoff, with keeping him calm before their opening performance.

“She took the pressure off of me completely for this,” he said. “She was holding it all in and keeping it from me.”

“I was freaking out,” Smirnoff said later.

Ashley
Hamilton (son of George Hamilton), who tied NFL star Michael Irvin for
the night's lowest score of 19, said focusing on Irvin's nerves
distracted him from his own.

“I had to talk him off the ledge,” Hamilton said. “He was more scared than I was, and he helped me not be so nervous.”

The
football star said preparing to dance in front of a national audience
was “a million times worse” than taking the field for the Super Bowl.

“I've
always said I would never sing and dance in front of anybody, so
overcoming those fears and coming out here, I consider that to be a
successful night,” Irvin said.

Donny Osmond, who finished in
second place with 30 points, earned rousing applause, but head judge
Len Goodman criticized the entertainer for being “too theatrical.”

Osmond's professional partner, Kym Johnson, said she's tried to tone down the fun during rehearsals by wielding a cane.

“I have duct tape, as well,” she said.

“It's like I'm getting lessons from Tony Soprano,” Osmond quipped.

Mixed
martial artist Chuck Liddell impressed the judges - and the audience -
with his dance moves. He made his way through the fox trot, keeping a
(sometimes forced) smile on his face.

“I'm known for not getting
nervous, but I haven't had that much adrenaline running through me for
something in a long, long time. I don't have that much adrenaline
before I go fight,” he said.

He acknowledged that ballroom
dancing is “something I'm not real comfortable doing,” but said he
wanted to prove that “just 'cause we're fighters, we're not
Neanderthals.”

“I have a college degree. I have a family. I'm a
normal person and we do normal things,” he said, adding, “hopefully we
can get more fans for our sport.”

Liddell finished with 22 points.

Former
House Republican Whip Tom DeLay also surprised the crowd. The
62-year-old politician performed a cha-cha to the 1960s hit “Wild
Thing.”

“Parts were magic, parts were tragic,” judge Goodman said.

DeLay even wowed his professional partner, Cheryl Burke.

“I
just busted out laughing because I was, like, I can't believe this old
man is here on his one knee playing the guitar and doing exactly what I
told him to do, no questions asked,” she said after the show.

“I
have to say I nailed it,” said DeLay, wearing orthopedic shoes to help
alleviate the bruising and near stress-fractures on his feet after
weeks of rehearsals. “I felt good. My hips were working. Cheryl held me
up and I really, I did it. I nailed it.”

DeLay finished with 20 points.

“Iron
Chef America” host Marc Dacascos earned 29 points. Professional
snowboarder Louie Vito, who did a flip as part of his cha-cha, finished
with 27.

Next, it's the ladies' turn, and the pressure's on.

“When
you hear the crowd and there's an orchestra behind you and you just
want to be fabulous and you only have one take, so I'm nervous,” said
actress Debi Mazar. “It's a natural feeling to have. I'm first up.”

Two contestants - one male, one female - will be eliminated during Wednesday's episode.

 
 
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