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EXCLUSIVE: Final Preps for 'Dancing With the Stars' Season Premiere -- Go Behind the Scenes!

by Raphael Chestang 2:42 PM PDT, September 12, 2016
Playing EXCLUSIVE: Final Preps for 'Dancing With the Stars' Season Premiere -- Go Behind the Scenes!

Only ET was allowed to bring its cameras inside the ballroom for the final preps of Monday's Dancing With the Stars season premiere.

As a result, we got an exclusive sneak peek of Derek Hough lifting Marilu Henner, Maureen McCormick spinning with Artem Chigvintsev, gold medalist Laurie Hernandez and Valentin Chmerkovskiy dancing to Bonnie McKee's "American Girl" and Vanilla Ice performing to his hit, "Ice Ice Baby."

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The DWTS partners arrived at the studio for rehearsal, where they will continue to make tweaks up until the premiere. Pro dancer Sasha Farber gave ET a rundown of his schedule with partner Terra Jole.

"We're going to go rehearse and [Terra] is going to go to bed, then she's going to wake up, then she's going to come back here, get her makeup done, rehearse again, dress rehearsal, showtime, get the judges' scores, go home," Farber shared.

Along with their dances, some of the couples have actually choreographed secret handshakes as well. Jole and Farber gave us a peek at their elaborate greeting, but the only thing the judges will be watching are their dance moves.

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"I refer to this kind of like the Hunger Games," Farber said. "Nobody wants to see the other go, but at the same time, it's a competition."

Competition is something that former Texas governor Rick Perry and former Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson know all too well.

Johnson retired from the NFL at the end of last season, but he still has football on his mind. In 2012, Johnson broke the NFL's single-season record for receiving yards, besting fellow wide receiver and DWTS season two runner-up, Jerry Rice.

"Jerry Rice, he did very well in the show. He was a great football player, we all know that," Johnson told ET. "We're trying to take, you know, take out another record, do better than him in this aspect on the dance floor as well and we can do it."

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And if you're wondering how difficult it really is to compete on DWTS, Perry told ET it's harder than running for President of the United States, which he attempted twice.

"Running for president, I'd been involved in this business for a long time. Thirty years of my life was in that type of public service. I was a pilot in the United States Air Force before that," Perry explained. "Hardest thing I ever did in my life prior to [Dancing With the Stars] was learning to fly."

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