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Dancing With The Stars

Dancing With the Stars 2013: Derek Hough Beats and Bruises Kellie Pickler Up! (PHOTO)

While the Dancing With the Stars 2013 competition is fierce, we never expected to see Derek Hough to take his need to win this far.

After a particularly grueling rehearsal, the blond pro Instagrammed the above picture of partner Kellie Pickler’s bruised legs, writing, “Why do I insist on beating my partners up? Sorry @kelliepickler.” What the what?

Have no fear, Derek fans — the Season 16 pair was just being playful. Though Kellie’s bruises are definitely real, she looked to be recovered in a later picture featuring her gorgeous white prom dress! And of course, she also replied to her partner with a silly threat, writing, “@derekhough I'm gonna let it slide this time but if it happens again you're getting Pickler punched (insert evil laugh & scary fist)!! Ha!”

Aww. We adore them. Considering that they’ve been in the Top 3 for the past two weeks, these bruises are likely well worth it. They’re pegged as one of the pairs who can win it all, and for good reason — they’ve impressed with intricate, jaw-dropping routines that clearly require intense rehearsing!

Do you think Kellie and Derek could take home the Mirror Ball trophy this year? Sound off below!