updated 11/20/2012 AT 9:00 AM ET
•originally published 11/20/2012 AT 6:10 PM ET
Been there, done that? Actually, it’s quite the opposite.
With the all-star season of Dancing with the Stars now in its home stretch, the five celebrities still standing tell PEOPLE they’re older, wiser and more competitive than ever – and that returning to the ballroom has been more exciting and rewarding than their first time on the show.
“You can’t even compare them,” says Apolo Ohno. “Karina [Smirnoff] has shown me so much about dancing on a different level now, because I think can accept it now. I’m able to express that stuff.”