Dancing With The Stars is a very popular show. It averages more votes in one season than a Presidential Election. The popularity of Dancing With The Stars is based on watching well liked actors and actresses, singers, sports personalities, magicians and talk show hosts strut their stuff on stage with professional dancers.
America loves watching their favorite television personalities struggle to do something that is different – sometimes making complete idiots out of themselves. This just proves that television personalities are human. We love seeing this human side of them, not to mention watching as they begin to develop throughout the season – that is, if they last long enough to prove themselves. Being able to vote for our favorite dances or dancers is an added plus and makes us feel as though we have a say in who wins and who does not – which we do.
As Season 8 is preparing to launch, I began to wonder who everyone would vote as their most favorite dancer. As for myself, there is no contest. Even though I have had a favorite dancer in each and every season of Dancing With the Stars, the one that I would choose as the best, most accomplished and entertaining dancer would have to be Mario Lopez.
Okay, as a woman, I would have to admit that Mario’s good looks and charm were at least 20% of the reason that I feel he has been the best contestant so far. However, that is not the only reason. Mario also turned out to be a great dancer who proved that with each and every dance he performed – from start to finish.
Mario Lopez was paired with Karina Smirnoff, a lady he actually hooked up with during the season and stayed with for some time after appearing on Dancing With The Stars. Their chemistry was breathtaking to watch. Their dance moves were very well choreographed and Mario proved that he could keep up with professional dancer, Karina every step of the way. And who could resist that adorable dimple Mario would flash after each dance? Not many, it would seem, since Mario Lopez was voted People’s Hottest Bachelor for 2008.
Eye candy issues aside, Mario Lopez was clearly the best dancer in Season 3 of Dancing With The Stars. From the moment he hit the starting gate until the end of the show, Mario proved that in so many ways. Unfortunately, he came in second to Emmitt Smith, who pulled in not only the sports fans votes but Cheryl Burke’s fans as well. And while not downplaying Emmitt’s dancing, which clearly got better week after week and was very entertaining to watch, when it came down to being an excellent dancer, Mario clearly was the better of the two. So why didn’t Mario Lopez win? I have my theories.
As I said earlier, Mario showed his excellence in dancing from Day 1. You would think that this would help, but it seemed to hinder him. People began to believe that Mario Lopez had formal dance lessons. It was later revealed that yes, Mario had taken tap dancing lessons when he was little. Mario had also been a dancer on “Kids Incorporated” and had also danced on “Saved By The Bell.” To that, I say “so what?”
The Ballroom dancing that the stars are expected to do on Dancing With The Stars is totally different than tap dancing. If his tap dancing lessons, or dancing on television shows, should have disqualified Mario Lopez, then many other contestants throughout the years should have also been disqualified. Instead, many of these people have ranked in the top three or have even won the overall competition for their year.
Joey McIntyre (New Kids On The Block) participated in Season One. He came in second overall. Drew Lachey (98 Degrees) won the entire competition in the second season of Dancing With The Stars. Joey Fatone, who finished 2nd in season 4 and Lance Bass, who finished 3rd this past year, were both members of the former boy band known as N’Sync. Boy bands who sang and yes, danced. Not only danced, but had choreographed dance steps. Is this any different?
Joey Lawrence, who finished 3rd in the same season as Mario Lopez, had also taken tap dancing lessons when he was young. Proof? They showed clips of him at a very young age tap dancing on The Johnny Carson Show. And what about Kristi Yamaguchi, who placed first in her season? We all know that figure skaters have to take ballet lessons in order to be able to dance/skate. So if all these people were experienced in dancing or had taken lessons in some form of dance like Mario, why was he held accountable for this while the others were not?
Many people began writing articles on the internet, bringing up Mario Lopez’s two week marriage to Ali Landry. They called him a “gigalo” and said that the marriage did not last long due to Mario’s supposed infedelity. Whether Mario is misunderstood, or is in fact a player, that should not have counted against him on this show. After all, it is called Dancing With The Stars not “America’s Most Faithful Husbands.”
And of course there was a big uproar when Eva Longoria, star of “Desperate Housewives” and a friend of Mario’s, was seen sitting in the audience wearing a “Vote For Mario” t-shirt. So what? Is a famous friend wearing a t-shirt asking for people to vote for Mario Lopez any worse than Emmitt and Cheryl standing in front of a bunch of football fans at a game (think how large a football stadium is) asking the fans to vote for them? I do not think so. Again, Mario was called out for this while all the others who were bucking for votes were not.
The judges were also harder on Mario than they were the other contestants. They felt that since he was such a great dancer at the start, that he should be judged as a professional. Carrie Ann even stated this on the show. How is this fair? These television stars, sports people or singers are not professional dancers and should not be judged as such. To do so is to put a much heavier burden on someone. And Mario is not the only one who has been judged this way. There have been several outstanding dancers over the seasons who have been treated the same way – like Kristi. This is not right, no matter who the contestant may be.
Still, even though the judges were harsh with Mario, who at times deserved it (like when he did things in the dance that were not allowed), it was clear that they felt Mario should have won the contest. Yes, Emmitt had greatly improved and deserved to be in the finals. Yes, he was very entertaining and pleasantly surprised me with his agility. However, when it came to the technical things, Mario Lopez was the best. The judges knew this. When Mario and Karina earned their first 30’s in the semi-finals, it was apparent. When they danced in the finals, the comments matched the 30’s they received for their free-style dance.
“You are a true dance idol.” Len told Mario.
“If that dance was a film, you’d win an Oscar.” Bruno praised.
“Best dance I’ve seen all season. The break dancing, everything was perfect. That’s how you win.” Carrie Ann.
Unfortunately, despite the perfect scores and the wonderful free-style dance, Mario Lopez lost out to Emmitt Smith. Still, my memories of watching Mario and Karina on the dance floor make Mario my choice for best contestant ever on “Dancing With The Stars”. Do you agree? Who would you vote for as your favorite dancer on “Dancing With The Stars?” I would love to hear from you.