Mario "so surprised" by his 'Dancing with the Stars' ouster
By Christopher Rocchio, 05/07/2008
Karina Smirnoff tried to prepare Mario for their elimination during last night's live Dancing with Stars sixth-season results show, but it apparently still took the R&B singer by surprise when it actually happened.
"She's gotten eliminated before, so she knows how that feels. She was actually getting me ready. She's like, 'Get ready. Have your speech ready.' I was like, 'I don't think we're going home.' I was so surprised," said Mario during a Tuesday night Jimmy Kimmel Live appearance that followed his ouster from Dancing with the Stars' sixth season.
"It's tough. Don't let the happiness fool you. I'm really messed up inside."
Mario and Smirnoff always seemed to be in the middle of the pack when it came to the weekly judges leaderboard and even found themselves in the bottom two the week they achieved their highest score -- meaning there was a lack of home viewers who voted for them.
Regardless, Mario said he enjoyed his time two-stepping with Smirnoff.
"Karina's a great partner," he told Kimmel. "I don't think there would have been a better partner for me on the show. Our personalities matched well."
Mario also took the opportunity to deny rumors that he and Smirnoff had become romantically involved when, according to The New York Post, the two had been spotted "making out by the valet with their hands all over each other" while attending the Mercedes-Benz Oscar viewing party at Los Angeles' Four Seasons hotel in February.
Smirnoff and Mario both subsequently stated they have a "professional relationship" and Smirnoff's boyfriend Mario Lopez agreed, stating he had no qualms with his girlfriend dancing with the R&B star.
"I think that those rumors, they were good rumors," explained Mario to Kimmel. "It showed that we had good chemistry out there on the dance floor because there was nothing else going on between me and her. It was the chemistry on the dance floor that I think everyone saw and kind of honed into. They wanted to see that every week."
Someone Mario didn't enjoy the same chemistry with was Dancing with the Stars judge Len Goodman, who was constantly one of his harshest critics.
"In one ear and out the other," said Mario of Goodman's critiques. "I had to focus on the dance. That's what I tried to do every week. I think that Len has a personality that people look for to hear what he say every week."
Still, Mario added he was thankful for Goodman's input.
"I felt like he kept me on my toes," he explained. "Every week I felt like, 'Out of all the judges, I have to make sure I do this dance perfect because I don't want Len to have anything to say about my routine.'"
Now that he's done with Dancing with the Stars, Mario is ready to return to the R&B world. Kimmel asked if Mario was worried that appearing on the reality show would "damage" his "credibility" in the R&B world.
"Not at all," he answered. "If anything, I think that people will respect me for going out and trying something new and not staying in a box. I think sometimes, especially being a young man, I felt like this was a great opportunity for me to share my gift with the world. My love for entertainment, my music. Hopefully I'll gain new fans. I had a great time on the show."