Craig Sjodin/ABC
Annie Barrett
September 22, 2009 AT 04:00 PM EDT

It’s season 9 (yes, really) of Dancing With the Stars, and the boys are back in town! I’ll get to last night’s competing men in a moment; first we need to focus on the eight swashbuckling stallions who have returned to Crazytown, U.S.A. Our beautiful male pros were back and ready to make loving eye contact with the camera in a rousing opening number. Maks even did a seductive eyebrow check for our viewing pleasure. They were both still there, as were all 500 billion hairs in Derek’s mop when he checked on its existence after the dance’s final flourish. Such fun! Excuse me, though: Who is this tall blonde lady who got to be the melted cheese in a Tony/Maks flatbread sandwich? I had no idea the season 9 premiere would feature the winner of a contest based on my ultimate fantasy. Just kidding. It was Tony’s wife.

Is everyone ready to run down the first performances of the season 9 men? I feel like we should all submit photos of ourselves in mid-air, while attempting to execute fabulously contorted leaps, as a sign of solidarity before we proceed in this season’s DWTS recap journey together. Oh, well. Too much work. Here we go…

Aaron Carter and Karina Smirnoff: 22/30; 1st in waltz relay (32 total points) Karina is clearly on a mission to rock the infamous fringed pants on prime time television once per night this week — Sunday night’s Emmys exhibition, last night’s cha cha cha…I won’t be surprised if tonight’s female pros opening number doubles as a dramatic one-act play during which seven stepsisters beg Karina, violently, with their twirls, to finally take the pants off. But this is supposed to be about Aaron. He’s good! So good, he can already spin around twice without losing his balance. It’s almost like he’s danced before or something. Aaron flares his nostrils a lot in what seems like an effort to suggest ”severe exertion.” DANCMSTR called some of his cha cha movements stiff, but he may have been referring to Aaron’s ridiculously spiked hair. Similarly, all of the judges said Aaron had potential, but they may have been referring to the chances of Karina’s white feather boa one day blossoming into a real shirt.

Donny Osmond and Kym Johnson: 20/30; 1st in salsa relay (30) The Won-dah from Down Un-dah has a real gem in her showbiz legend partner — the entire crowd was on its feet for their foxtrot before Donny had even cheekily tossed away his hat! Dancing-wise, he wasn’t terrific, and the judges were quick to remind Donny that it was his theatricality, not his technique, that had women and possibly Tom DeLay swinging from the rafters for a better angle from which to view his ballroom-ready facial expressions. It could be fun, or it could get old, to watch Donny struggle with the intimacy factor involved in 95 percent of rehearsal time in a given season. Kym just wanted him to pretend there was a boob on her back. ”Normally that works with men,” she explained. Not if they’re afraid of being banned from Utah! Donny’s mission for season 9: ”I’d like to prove that Marie isn’t the only dancer in the family.” The part about ”Marie” being a ”dancer” confuses me.

NEXT: Macho macho man Chuck Liddell

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