Exclusive Access: 'Dancing With the Stars' Behind the Scenes!

Go behind the scenes for a sneak peek with former finalist Melissa Rycroft.

ByABC News via logo
September 21, 2009, 8:03 AM

Sept. 21, 2009— -- Tonight "Dancing With the Stars" kicks off its latest season with a live three-night event. The ninth season of the hit show promises more cha-cha, more salsa, more waltzing … and more star power.

It's the largest "Dancing With the Stars" cast ever this season -- with 16 celebrities -- and "GMA" special contributor and former "Dancing With the Stars" finalist Melissa Rycroft went behind the scenes to bring "GMA" an exclusive, all-access preview.

Once again, there's the wild variety of celebrities on the show, from star Dallas Cowboy Michael Irvin to a veteran cowboy from Congress: former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

"What was your first impression when you heard I was your partner?" DeLay asked two-time champion Cheryl Burke, who returns for her eighth season as "The Hammer's" partner.

"I had to Google you," she said.

"Makeup says they could put abs on me," DeLay joked.

"Their makeup department is amazing. That's how I had abs from last season!" Rycroft joked. "They were all spray-painted on."

"It smells so good to be back here," Rycroft said. "It smells the same, although I don't smell the fear that I had the last time I was on this stage, so it's a good feeling."

Rycroft said it was fun to return to his dancing roots from a year ago, where an old friend and colleague stood behind every door. She ran into former dancing partner Tony Dovolani, who's paired with actress Kathy Ireland this year.

"It's fun to be back and not have to go out and dance with Tony," she said.

Dancing is a family affair this year, with George Hamilton's son Ashley and Marie Osmond's brother Donny.

"Want to see a preview?" Osmond asked.