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'Dancing With the Stars' loses two contestants before premiere

March 5, 2009 |  3:50 pm

Ay, ay, ay,
what on earth are they doing to the contestants over at "Dancing With the Stars"?

It's been an unprecedented season of injuries, and the show has not even premiered yet!

Singer Jewel and "Access Hollywood" host Nancy O'Dell withdrew from the competition today because of serious injuries, and we're talking serious. O'Dell tore the meniscus in her knee in two places, which requires surgery to repair. Jewel has tibia fractures in both legs.

What were professional dancers/trainers Tony Dovolani and Dmitry Chaplin doing to these poor ladies?

Getprev_2 In a press release issued by ABC, O'Dell and Jewel expressed their disappointment with these turns of events.

“When the doctors told me my injuries were so severe that I couldn’t walk, let alone compete, I was devastated that I couldn’t continue the show,” Jewel said. “I have every intention of being at ‘Dancing With the Stars’ this season supporting my husband, Ty, and his partner, Chelsie [Hightower]. I hope to be back on the show in the future.”

“ 'Beyond disappointment' doesn't even begin to describe how I feel about not being able to continue on ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ ” said O’Dell. “It has been one of my favorite shows since Season 1! But I have torn the meniscus in my knee in two places, which requires surgery. ‘Dancing With the Stars’ was a great experience. I'll miss working with my partner, Tony Dovolani, and all the other wonderful people on the amazing production that is ‘Dancing With the Stars.’ ”

Last week, "Sex and the City" hunky neighbor Gilles Marini was diagnosed with tendonitis in his shoulder and groin, but the show goes on for him. At least, for now.

No word yet on who will replace O'Dell and Jewel. Jewel's husband, rodeo rider Ty Murray, is still in the race.

The season premieres on Monday at 8 p.m.

— Maria Elena Fernandez

Photos: Jewel, above (Getty Images), Nancy O'Dell (Liz O. Baylen/Los Angeles Times)