Gilles Marini felt the burn to return to 'Dancing with the Stars'

Peta Murgatroyd teaches Gilles Marini a step or two for "Dancing with the Stars: All-Star Edition," airing tonight.

Photo by Todd Wawrychuk, © 2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

Peta Murgatroyd teaches Gilles Marini a step or two for "Dancing with the Stars: All-Star Edition," airing tonight.

BEVERLY HILLS — Gilles Marini didn't want to go back to "Dancing with the Stars."

"It was a very long back-and-forth (process)," says the 36-year-old model/ actor of the negotiations that ultimately got him back on the dance floor.

"I am working every day as an actor, and I really wanted to do that.

"I'm not a dancer."

But, others would say he is.

Marini built a loyal fan base after ranking second place in season eight of the hit competition. Because of that, he decided he should go back for "Dancing with the Stars: All-Star Edition" (airing 8 p.m. Monday, WATE, Channel 6), which has gathered past favorites for another go at the mirror ball trophy.

Besides it being ABC's top-rated weekly series, "Dancing" is the most-watched network program in the Knoxville market and almost always dominates the local ratings on Monday nights.

Marini says he had something to prove by returning. "I needed to show I could do this again," says the French-born performer, whose credits include "Sex and the City" and "Brothers and Sisters."

"I love to compete when I do mixed martial arts. I love to compete when I play soccer. On 'Dancing with the Stars,' I don't want to take down my opponent.

"People feel like they are getting something from me when I am in the moment. I feel alive."

He's sure his fellow dancers don't feel the same. "Other people feel like they need to compete against me," Marini says.

"I am loving every aspect of this game. I am going to work my (backside) off, and I know they are going to do the same."

Between doing the show in 2009 and now, Marini hasn't danced much. "I dance with my daughter every day," he says. That's about it."

© 2012 Knoxville.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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