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Dancing with Mario, Week 3

Dancing with the Stars ABC/KELSEY McNEAL

Mario is going to be working overtime on his footwork this week.

The R&B singer admits he didn’t dance the best tango with Karina Smirnoff on last night’s Dancing with the Stars because he didn’t practice as much as he probably should have.

“I underestimated the choreography,” Mario told me today as he was fitted for next week’s wardrobe. “I underestimated the time it takes to really get these dances perfected. But this week, I am going to definitely make this the number one priority.”

That’s not all Mario had to say in our exclusive weekly postperformance chat. Read on to hear what he thinks about a sleeveless Cristián de la Fuente, his supertight cummerbund and what happens when even his mother starts believing the romance rumors about him and Smirnoff.

Christian went sleeveless like you did last week. What’s up with him copying you?
I told him I had bigger guns than him, and he tried to prove me wrong. We’ll let the fans say who won.

OK, let’s talk about the leather cummerbund you wore. Were you into it when they first asked you to try it on?
I wear a leather cummerbund around the house all the time. [Laughs.] A lot of times with leather cummerbunds, it makes you look like you have a belly. So we had to make it extratight...I had to sacrifice breathing normally for that whole dance.

Did you think the judges were so critical last night because you’re expected to be one of the better contestants?
It’s the nature of the show. It’s the nature of being young and people expecting you to be perfect every time or the best. Honestly, I could care less what the judges say. I go out there and do it for the fans.

You’ve had to deal with some pretty crazy rumors about you and Karina. But what did you tell your mom? Did she call and ask you, “What is going on?”
Yeah. She’s like, “You know, you’ve got to keep it professional.” And I’m like, “Mom! It’s nothing but professional. We have fun with what we do, but it’s nothing but professional. Come on!” It’s been horrible. Karina and I are both surprised by all the press making up these lies. We’re just friends. We get along great, but then people think we’re making out! I’m like, Wow, that’s crazy!

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