'Dancing with the Stars' eliminates Mario and Karina Smirnoff
By Christopher Rocchio, 05/07/2008
R&B singer Mario and his professional partner Karina Smirnoff were revealed to be the eighth couple eliminated from Dancing with the Stars' sixth season during last night's live results show broadcast on ABC.
The couple was booted from the competition based on a combination of the judges' scores from Monday night's performance episode and home viewer votes cast immediately following the broadcast.
"I've had a great time performing on the show," said Mario after his ouster was revealed. "I've had a great partner. We've had some great competition. We've had a lot of fun on the show."
Mario and Karina's first routine during Monday night's performance episode was a Viennese waltz, which the judges scored a 27 out of 30 possible points.
"The Chronicles of Dancing with the Stars has a new prince -- Prince Mario," judge Bruno Tonioli had commented after the routine. "Polish and distinction, poise, restraint, romantic, elegant. Everything we've asked you to do, you've done it."
Fellow judge Carrie Ann Inaba thought it was "nice and stiff."
"Definitely the way I like it," she added, which brought a laugh. from the everyone "Let's start again. It was much more elegant. Your posture was the best I've seen it this far."
"Mario, normally your ballroom dancing reminds me a bit of Britney Spears getting out of a car -- not very elegant. You sometimes see odd things you'd rather not," commented Len Goodman after the performance on Monday night. "But tonight I thought that was the most elegant I've seen you dance. I thought it had a romance, gorgeous and floating movement. Good job."
Mario and Karina then performed the jive for their second Monday night routine, and it was pretty much on par with their Viennese waltz -- scoring a 26 from the judges, although Len wasn't as kind with his words.
"It's just the whole thing had a roughness about it for me," he commented on Monday night. "It was alright. I've just got to say, your feet are bloody, big ugly ones. There was no technique in the footwork."
Bruno characterized Len's comment as "harsh" and added the couple's jive embodied the "spirit of rock n' roll."
"That's what the jive should be -- fast, energetic, youthful," said Bruno.
"This is the one dance where that sort of wildness that you bring to the dancefloor each week works," Carrie Ann had told Mario. "It brought a certain flavor. You brought a whole new flavor to the jive. I thought it completely worked. Yes, your feet were a little flexed. But I thought it was great."
While Mario and Karina's combined score of 53 out of 60 possible points placed them directly in the middle of the pack on the judges leaderboard following Monday night's episode, home viewer votes weren't enough to keep them around until next week's semifinal round.
"Len, thank you for all the comments," said Mario last night after his elimination. "Ultimately, you helped me become a better ballroom dancer."
Only one week after suffering a ruptured tendon in his left arm, telenovela star Cristian de la Fuente found himself atop the judges leaderboard for the first time in the competition along with his partner Cheryl Burke.
The couple received a combined score of 57 -- a 28 for their tango (which included their first 10 of the season, awarded by Carrie Ann) and a 29 for their mambo, which included 10's from both Carrie Ann and Bruno.
In second place on the judges leaderboard after Monday night was Olympic gold medalist figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi and her partner Mark Ballas with a combined score of 55 -- a 29 for their quickstep and a 26 for their samba.
Coming in just below Mario and Karina were NFL star Jason Taylor and his partner Edyta Sliwinska with a combined score of 52, a 29 for their tango and a 23 -- the lowest score on Monday night -- for their samba.
Rounding out the judges leaderboard were Tony Award-winning actress Marissa Jaret Winokur and her partner Tony Dovolani with a combined score of 50 -- a 25 for both their foxtrot and mambo.
While host Tom Bergeron did not reveal the second couple in the bottom two with Mario and Karina based on a combination of the judges' scores from Monday night's performance episode and home viewer votes cast immediately following the broadcast, Len commented during last night's broadcast that he thought the three couples with the lowest judges scores were all in trouble of being booted.
"Mario, he's been great entertainment but he's a bit vulnerable," said Len. "Jason, he's been right up there but he's certainly in the bottom two [this week]. He needs to worry. And of course Marissa, who was in the bottom two last week and is down at the bottom again tonight."
"Well I'm all in favor for a woman to win," answered Kelly, still the only female celebrity participant to take home the mirror ball trophy. "So I think I'm rooting for Kristi."
Samantha then asked Apolo which sixth-season celebrity still in the competition was the frontrunner.
"Obviously, I'm biased towards the two athletes," said the Olympic speedskater. "So I'm hoping either Jason or Kristi. But we'll see."
Drew said he thought all of the couples have the "skill to win," but also had a favorite.
"I think after [Monday night's] display and his charisma, my money's on Cristian," he said.
Dancing with the Stars' sixth-season semifinal performance episode -- in which all the remaining couples will once again each perform two routines -- will air Monday, May 13 at 8PM ET/PT.
Then on Tuesday night beginning at 9PM ET/PT, one couple will be eliminated based on a combination of the judges scores from Monday night and home viewer votes cast immediately following the broadcast.