Chris Polk
Chris Polk
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Congratulations to Kellie Pickler, whose long-standing wish to appear on Dancing With The Stars has come true in season 16, which begins March 18.

Bonus: She’ll be partnered with my fave, Derek Hough!

"It’s going to be a lot of fun,” the American Idol finalist, 26, tells me today. “It feels great to be associated with such a talented group of artists and athletes who are willing to challenge themselves in this new way in front of a national audience.”

She adds, “But, ask me again after rehearsals and let's see how my feet feel — that'll be the real test!" 

OK! GALLERY: SEE KELLIE PICKLER, JULIANNE HOUGH, CARRIE UNDERWOOD, BROOKE BURKE, KIM KARDASHIAN, JEWEL AND MORE IN THE VALERIE GALLERY

For years, the country star has told me of her desire to be on the show. How did it finally work out?

"I have wanted to be on the show for a while now, but we didn't have to lobby,” Kellie explains. “I’ve been asked to be a contestant for the past few seasons. This year was just the first time I was able to compete while still touring and recording.”

She adds, “I'm fortunate that Derek can join me in Nashville and on the road for some of the rehearsals, so I can accomplish it all.”

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Flashback time! Kellie was swooning about joining the show in 2008.

“I would love to do Dancing With The Stars,” she gushed to me. “Wouldn’t that be fun? Oh yeah! That would be so fun. It’s only a couple months. It’s not like you’re signing on for the rest of your life. It’ll be fun. I used to do gymnastics for a while, and you know Julianne [Hough] is on Dancing With The Stars and very successful. She’s a great dancer. I think I told her I thought it would be fun.”

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Hm, why DWTS?

"I’m a dancer as far as I can go to the clubs and shake it, but I don’t know all the technical things,” she said at the time. “It would be fun just for the challenge of it, because it would be a challenge for me to get to learn the technical things in dance, and really learn the technique of it.”

She continued, “I think it would be fun to wear all the pretty clothes and twirl around. I think it would be fun!”

We can’t wait to watch Kellie on Dancing With The Stars, which debuts Mon., March 18 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Who are you rooting for this season on Dancing With The Stars? Tweet us @okmagazine.

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