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Encore Presentation: Dancing with the Stars

Aired November 12, 2006 - 21:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is "Dancing With the Stars."

LARRY KING, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight, the stars of "Dancing With the Stars" tell all and take you inside the biggest reality TV sensation since "American Idol."

With us the last two finalists left dancing, Latin heart throb Mario Lopez and NFL legend Emmitt Smith.

Plus, Jerry Springer, his two left feet took him from tabloid TV to America's unlikeliest sweetheart.

Joey Lawrence, he made it all the way to this week before getting voted off.

Monique Coleman, the last female star given the boot.

Judge Carrie Ann Inaba, and more, and it's all next dancing with me on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: Our panelists have been introduced. The big night is Tuesday night. That's the finals of another season of "Dancing With the Stars" on ABC and a tremendous hit show it has been.

Mario Lopez and Emmitt Smith will vie for the championship. Mario is in North Hollywood, Florida, which is about a mile and a half from here but he couldn't make it over because the man is really involved in rehearsing for this.

And, Emmitt Smith, the great football star is with us.

And there are others and we'll get to all of them.

Mario, what's it -- are you nervous?

MARIO LOPEZ, ACTOR, TV HOST, FINALIST: I've been nervous and feeling pressure since day one, Larry. I've just tried to take it dance by dance and week by week but I'm like fired up.

Now that it's this point in the competition you would figure that I'd be more nervous but I'm just really excited going up against Emmitt Smith and that's like super cool to me that I'm head-to-head with him because he was like a hero of mine. So, it's win-win for me any way you look at it.

KING: Why are you in this, Emmitt?


KING: There's no money. Even the trophy is kind of like a nothing little trophy, why?

SMITH: I'm in it for the competition and just the thrill of the opportunity to learn something that I've never had a chance to learn before. You know I've always been somewhat of a person that has watched some ballroom stuff on television and said, "Man, I wonder can I get that done?"

And here it presented an opportunity for me to do it and learn it. Like you said, it's not a lot of money involved but I'll tell you what I got a whole bunch of free lessons from a bunch of experts so I'm pretty thrilled.

KING: Can you apply running with a football to dancing?

SMITH: Somewhat you can. I mean running is kind of a flowing kind of a style. Dance has the same kind of a flow kind of style. But then in this particular dancing here you have technique stuff that you really have to nail down in order to get the scores from the judges.

KING: Jerry Springer, our friend in Chicago, has been eliminated. What was this like for you this whole run?

JERRY SPRINGER, TV HOST, ELIMINATED WEEK SEVEN: Actually, it turned out to be a lot of fun. I mean I honestly in fairness didn't belong on the show because it's about people who really can learn and know how to dance and you're talking to two guys who are just unbelievable. I mean Mario is so talented. He's going to be a superstar. And, Emmitt already is a superstar.

LOPEZ: Thank you, Jerry.

SPRINGER: I mean it's true and Emmitt is a superstar. When I grow up, I want to be Emmitt Smith. I mean those guys are great. And, it was a lot of fun to be around them, to see the competition, and I was just happy if I was vertical at the end of the dance.

KING: Do you describe your style as bizarre?

SPRINGER: I think my style is called survival. It's kind of like you watch an old person crossing the street when it's real icy and you kind of hold your breath. And then when they finally make it across you start clapping. That's what it was like every time in the studio.

KING: Monique Coleman is here with us, celebrity dance contestant. She was the last female star to be eliminated.

MONIQUE COLEMAN, ACTRESS, LAST FEMALE STAR ELIMINATED: Hi. KING: Was it hard to take when they said "Go?"

COLEMAN: Not at all. I felt so lucky to make it as far as I did that if anything I really -- everyone that was left standing was so incredible that I just -- I was really grateful for the opportunity to even be in a position to be eliminated.

KING: Your partner was Louis van Amstel, right?


KING: And you're an actress. How good was he?

COLEMAN: He was awesome. He really was. He was great, not only on the dance floor, but the way that he communicated with me as an actress and as an artist and really tapped into that and it was great.

KING: Did he tell you why you were eliminated?

COLEMAN: Did he tell me why?

KING: (INAUDIBLE) did he tell you why?

COLEMAN: Well I think it's a combination of things, you know, the voting and the judges' scores but I'm not sure.

KING: You mean no one said to you.

COLEMAN: That you suck?

KING: We didn't like the way you moved your left foot there in that pirouette?

COLEMAN: No, no it wasn't that specific.

KING: Joey, another actor, was one of season's three semi- finalist, eliminated just this week. He partners with Edyta Sliwinska, right?


KING: What was that like?

LAWRENCE: Oh, it was great, man. It was great. My wife is a huge fan of this show last year. We got totally into it the last half of last season. And the opportunity presented itself to me. She was like, "Honey, you have to do it." So, again...

KING: How do you enter? What do you do?

LAWRENCE: Well they have to call you. I mean, you know, this is not something you can kind of go after. I mean it's behind the scenes at ABC and they kind of pick and choose and put together kind of an interesting sort of eclectic cast that they think would be fun to watch grow and learn how to dance. And they asked me to do it. I jumped at it. And, you know, I mean I had two left feet at the very beginning of this whole thing, so I've come -- I've come a long way, you know.

KING: By the way, later in this program tonight I will do the cha-cha which will set the cha-cha back.

LAWRENCE: All right.

LOPEZ: All right.

LAWRENCE: Good for you, Larry.

COLEMAN: We can't wait.

SPRINGER: See, Larry, I think -- Larry, I think you and I ought to go on a senior tour like they have in golf. I mean why are they putting me on the floor with these guys? It's just they're unbelievable. They really are.

KING: That's a good point.

LOPEZ: You can do that, Jerry, pay-per-view.


LOPEZ: Yes, you got it, yes, pay-per-view.

KING: Jerry, "Dancing With the Stars." We do it in a wheelchair. I've got a clip here I want to look at. You guys, Mario and Joey, were two of the most popular stars on the show from the beginning. But, at one point, the judges gave you both some serious grief about breaking the rules. Let's take a look.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll tell you what. You're off your head. I would have given that a 10. Once you did that, you finished it for me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why are you fighting the rule? Why are you putting yourself in this situation?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would appreciate it if you would respect the rules.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You really put so much energy into this. It's quite incredible. But you're starting to do a Mario. What about the lifts? No lifts. No lifts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Besides, they're still booing. It's a rule. It's really simple.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This isn't Cirque du Soleil. It is terrible. Don't do it!


KING: What rule did you break? Where's Mario? Mario, what rule did you break?

LOPEZ: You know what, Larry, it was early in the competition and I thought the number one priority was to entertain and I didn't know they were going to be so meticulous about the rules. And, I figured to be honest, in my defense, I just misinterpreted the rules. I didn't really feel that I broke the rules.

KING: But what did you do?

LOPEZ: But then it was sold to me come week two. They said I broke the hold, very technical with the ballroom, I broke the tango hold, and I thought -- and you're allowed -- yes, you broke the hole and you're allowed to do it I believe it was 15 seconds in the beginning, 15 seconds in the end.

And I figured, all right, we only did it five seconds in the beginning, five seconds in the end, so if we do it in the middle, it's still within the time. Well they didn't go for it and I got reprimanded like I was being sent to the principal's office.

LAWRENCE: You're not allowed to do lifts, which is both feet.

KING: Hold it now.

LAWRENCE: Lifts, which is both feet off the -- off the ground. If you do a move that you couldn't do on your own, like you take your partner and you flip her over or you do something where your feet come off, it's a lift. And, in technical ballroom that's not allowed.

LOPEZ: I didn't know that.

KING: It sounds petty.

SPRINGER: I got to tell you, Larry. Larry, I loved when they came to me and explained the rules to me like, "Hey, Jerry, make sure you don't do any lifts and splits." And I'm thinking what are they talking about? The only split I had was in my pants when I bent down once. It was nuts.

KING: Emmitt Smith got 15 yards. Let me get a break and we'll come right back with "Dancing With the Stars," the finale, the finale is Tuesday night and the winners are announced Wednesday night.

LOPEZ: Exactly.

KING: It's called milking it. We'll be right back.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we've lost Jerry out of the race and we're down now to three great guys and one great girl. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's now the time for the competitors to show those extra special qualities that will get them into the final.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got Emmitt, the Big Easy; Monique, little miss dynamite. You've got Joey, the dependable; and Mario, the magnificent.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you watch Emmitt Smith dance, the word that comes into my head is funky. He is a true, cool dude.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What I love about Emmitt the most is the way he moves his head. It goes with his body. He's unafraid to look at you. You actually feel like he's bringing you into the dance and you get to celebrate with him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For Emmitt to move forward in this, he should work on the kind of precision of his move. Give it the edge. Give it the precision.


KING: What's the fun in it, Emmitt?

SMITH: The fun?

KING: What do you like about dancing?

SMITH: What I love about it is after working so hard for three or four days to learn all the steps and learn the routine, Tuesday becomes almost like game day for me. It's like my game day.

KING: Really?

SMITH: Yes, it's like I get a chance to go out here now and release all of the hard work that I've been working on for...

KING: The rest of it is the practice?

SMITH: The practice will be killing you. I mean practices are tough. I mean you spend eight hours in the studio trying to dance and learn these routines and (INAUDIBLE).

KING: But when you're doing it, it's fun?

SMITH: It's extremely fun because once you get out there on the stage the audience get behind you. It's like an extra charge. It's like being in a ballgame almost.

KING: What's it like for you, Monique, because you have to be led, right? The male leads. COLEMAN: I'd say that, yes, the man guides you in a way. But for me, you know, I did a lot of stunts and I did a lot of things that were extremely technically difficult that there was no way that someone could have supported me in doing that. I had to do it on my own.

And so, when I went out there, I was so excited, but it was, you know, it was a little nerve-racking just the whole experience was something like nothing I've ever done before.

KING: Why do you like dancing, Mario?

LOPEZ: I've always liked to kind of just groove up in the club and have fun and dance and this has been an incredible experience because I've always wanted to learn how to do proper technical dances like ballroom and these Latin dances. And, I got blessed with the most amazing partner, so it's been a lot of fun through this whole journey.

KING: And what do you do with it later just do it socially? Are you now a social dancer?

LOPEZ: Well now I can take my social dancing to another level, Larry, and it's something you can do with your family, with your parents, with your wife, your kids, not that I have any but my future kids. It's something you can do for the rest of your life. It's a great form of exercise and it's a beautiful thing and I think it will always have a special place in my heart now.

KING: Joey, why do you like it?

LAWRENCE: Well my wife can actually move great and she took dancing in college and on our wedding day we had to do something real easy, just kind of move around the floor and I was quite awkward.

So, she wanted me to do this so I could keep up with her and I can do that now. So, I can't wait for us to get remarried again in ten years and I'll really be able to dance with her right.

KING: Do you find you like it?

LAWRENCE: I do. I absolutely love it. And what's weird is that I'd be -- I sort of began and the Latin dances felt better to me because they're more similar to something that you do in a club or something, you know. They're not quite in a technical hold. You can kind of do your own thing, dance with your partner but you don't have to actually be touching them.

But by the end -- it ended up that the ballroom dancing is what I enjoyed more, was the Quick Step and the Foxtrot and those are the dances that we actually did way better with the judges. That was a very weird transition for me because I didn't think that kind of going into the competition.

KING: Jerry, when you got voted off the show there wasn't a dry eye in the house. It was an emotional goodbye. Let's watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On our seventh week of competition the couple with the lowest score and therefore leaving right now, Jerry and Kim.

SPRINGER: Thank you for having me and thank you for letting me go home.


KING: What did you get out of this, Jerry?

SPRINGER: Well, honestly everyone there, and it sounds corny, but everyone there was just so incredibly nice. And just at that moment, I was thinking how many people in life have these moments where just everyone, where millions of people are just being so nice to you?

I mean we don't stop a truck driver at a red light, run up to the truck and say, "Boy, I love the way you drive that. My kids, we watch you every week" and all this kind of stuff.

It was just like everyone should have a moment like that and I was really appreciative. And everyone was so nice to me. They didn't make fun of me. I mean it was great. You know I love those guys and the audience was so nice. And it was the most vulnerable time I've ever had on television because I'm never being me.

I'm always playing a role like a crazy talk show host or an anchor or whatever. So this was an opportunity just to be me and I really enjoyed it. You know it was sad to -- I mean it was right that I left. Good Lord, they would have ruined the show if I would have stayed. But I enjoyed being on it.

KING: Emmitt, what dance are you scheduled to do Tuesday?

SMITH: We're doing samba, mamba, and then we have our freestyle dance that we're going to do.

KING: Freestyle means you can do whatever you want?

SMITH: We can do whatever we want. Mario and I have to dance to the same song. No, actually that's our samba that we're going to do. But freestyle we can dance to whatever music we want to and have fun.

KING: Do you do the same dances, Mario, except for freestyle?

LOPEZ: Yes, we got -- I'm also doing the samba but I'm doing one different. I'm doing the Pasa Doble and then I'm going to also do our freestyle routine which I know Emmitt and I have different songs but we'll probably bring the same sort of flavor to the dance.

SPRINGER: Mario, you're probably going to watch my -- you want to watch my Pasa Doble. You can learn some things there.

LOPEZ: I'm going to learn some things there. Jerry, I've learned many a thing from you.

SPRINGER: Oh, great.

LOPEZ: And I'm sure the Pasa Doble is just going to add to the long list.

SPRINGER: That will do it, yes.

KING: Monique, who's going to win?

COLEMAN: Oh, I can't answer that. Wow, that was good (INAUDIBLE) quick.

KING: Joey.

SMITH: Trying to be slick with that one, huh?

COLEMAN: I know.

LAWRENCE: Trying to be slick with that one, huh?

LAWRENCE: I mean you know.

COLEMAN: I know.

LAWRENCE: It's tough. I mean this is Mr. Personality and, you know, and Mario has...

KING: Mario don't have a personality? He's (INAUDIBLE).

LOPEZ: Thanks a lot.

LAWRENCE: No, I think -- I think Mario is technically probably from day one shot out of the gate and was way ahead of everyone. And I think Emmitt, you know, has closed the gap and it's going to make for one heck of a final. I mean that's just -- that's just being honest.

KING: We'll be back with more "Dancing With the Stars." The big night is Tuesday and then Wednesday the winners. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On our seventh week of competition, the couple with the lowest score and therefore leaving right now, Jerry and Kim.

SPRINGER: I hope everyone has a moment in life where...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last week emotions were high as Jerry bid a fond farewell.

SPRINGER: Thank you for having me and thank you for letting me go home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With the joker leaving there's just four aces left in the pack, the hoofer, the heart throb, the starlet, and the legend.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got fantastic dancers competing against each other and the standard is so high whatever happens is going to be amazing.


KING: Jerry, is it true that you competed in the waltz because you wanted to dance at your daughter's wedding?

SPRINGER: Yes. Originally when the show called and asked me to be on it, to be honest I said no just because I don't know anything about dancing and I didn't think I'd fit in that.

Then they called back about two or three weeks later and said, "Come on. It would be OK. You'd add something different to the show." And so I talked it over with my daughter, Katie (ph), who is getting married in four weeks.

She says, "Dad, this will be great. You'll learn to, you know, you'll get out there and you'll learn to dance the waltz. And you're always telling me just, you know, deal with the hand that God's dealt you and get out there and do the best you can." So what was I going to say so I did that and it was fun, yes, and the waltz was the high moment for me, yes. That was great.

KING: Monique, where do you go from here?

COLEMAN: Well, I start immediately with the tour of "High School Musical." Our first city is in San Diego November 30th and then to a sequel.

KING: That's a new musical?

COLEMAN: Actually we're going on a live concert tour. It's a stadium tour.

KING: Oh, wow!

COLEMAN: Yes, I started rehearsals a couple days ago.

KING: Big troupe?

COLEMAN: It's going to be the six of us from the "High School Musical" movie and then, you know, a bunch of dancers and background singers and then the sequel and who knows what else?

KING: Where do you go, Joey?

LAWRENCE: Well, we're going to be doing the first national "Dancing With the Stars" tour nationwide for like eight weeks. We're going to be at Staples Center in Los Angeles on December 28th and it's practically sold out.

KING: Who's on it?

LAWRENCE: Willa (ph) and Max, Drew Lachey, the champion from last year, Joey McIntyre from season one, Lisa Renna, you know there's a bunch of great people. It's going to be like a -- Harry Hanlin (ph). It's going to be like a two-hour show and it's going to be a lot of fun. You know and I'm just getting back to work so this has been great.

KING: Now, Mario and Emmitt will be with us through the rest of the show. And, Jerry, Monique, and Joey will be leaving us. So, I know you won't -- you're not going to pick who's going to win? Maybe Jerry will. Jerry, who's going to win Mario or Emmitt?

SPRINGER: You know it's funny. It's going to be a dead tie. It's just going to be a tie.

KING: It could be.

SPRINGER: Yes. Yes, no they're both great. You know what, let's enjoy it. Let's enjoy it. There's no losers between the two of those, well the four, the four finalists, what's the loser? You could pick any one of them. They're great, all four of you. Good luck guys.

COLEMAN: Thank you, Jerry.

LAWRENCE: Thanks a lot, Jerry.


KING: Are you up for this, Mario?

LOPEZ: The thing is, is that just when you thought you can really enjoy going into this next week, it's gotten more intense. They threw yet another dance into the mix, so now we've got three dances to be concerned with. And, I always put a lot of pressure on myself, so I got that added pressure.

But, at the same time, I'm excited, so I'm definitely up for it. I haven't been sleeping too much because I've just been kind of thinking about everything and still honoring my other commitments. I was working a little earlier today so that's why I'm here and not there with Emmitt. But he's looking too sharp for me anyway. I don't know if I would -- I don't know if I'd fit in right there but I'm fired up.

SMITH: (INAUDIBLE) you're all right.

LOPEZ: And again it's -- it's an honor to be competing against Emmitt Smith so I'm all good.

KING: I know, Emmitt, you never went into a game thinking you're going to lose, right?

SMITH: Never.

KING: That's from high school, college.

SMITH: Right.

KING: So you have to feel the same here?

SMITH: Well, actually I don't think that we're going to lose because I have to believe that way. That's the way I've been trained. That's the way I've been taught. And I'm sure Mario don't believe that he's going to lose either because he's trained. He's been in the boxing gym and every time he steps into a ring he has to believe that he's going to win.

So, for me, you know, it's just now is about preparation and preparing and going in and executing the game plan that Cheryl (ph) has put together for us and we definitely have three dances, unlike they did last year.

They had two dances and one was a freestyle and another one was another dance that they chose to do. But, we have three different dances, which throws a little monkey wrench into the game plan but we both are probably preparing very hard for Tuesday.

KING: Any downside to this experience, Monique?

COLEMAN: I think for someone like me the scrutiny, you know, because coming into this I'm a role model especially for children and so it's really important for me to make sure that everything that is brought on the show is in line with what I believe in and who I am as a person.

And so I'm not willing to compromise anything for the sake of entertainment value. And so I think that for someone who's -- I'm obviously the newest celebrity and most people didn't know who I was coming into it. For myself, you know, and my integrity I have to be very careful about how it is that I'm portrayed and make sure that its who I am.

So that was really hard for me, you know, that kind of scrutiny, you know, the judges and everything and just being so public, all of a sudden people being interested in your life outside of your work. I was just there to do the work and that was, you know.

KING: Well good luck to all of you, Joey.


KING: Continued success.

LAWRENCE: Thank you very much, sir.

KING: Monique, nothing but the best. Jerry, we'll be seeing you everywhere, radio, television, just hanging in Jerry. COLEMAN: Yes, Jerry.

KING: Keep hanging in Jerry.

SPRINGER: Thanks. See you guys.



SMITH: Good luck.

LOPEZ: Take care, Jerry, miss you man.

COLEMAN: Love you.


LAWRENCE: See you buddy.

KING: All right, Mario and Emmitt remain. Carrie Ann Inaba and Tom Bergeron, the host of the dance phenomena that is this program, which on Tuesday night, by the way "Dancing With the Stars" will have its finale and then Wednesday we learn the winners. So, we thank the three who are leaving us. We welcome two more.

And in the next few segments I'm going to dance. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You need to learn it. Stop whining. Mario responds well to me (INAUDIBLE). If that's what I have to do to get him to the finals I'm willing to do that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't look good. Make sure you always look good. Every choice we make could be a difference between winning or losing. For Emmitt, we have to keep having fun or else he has no chance in making it to the finals.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mario without doubt is the most talented of all of our celebrities. He can do things that none of the other couples can do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Loads of charisma, incredible energy, a natural entertainer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a fine line between being confident and being cocky. If Mario thinks this competition is in the bag, somebody could sneak up on the rails and overtake him. He's got to keep focused. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back with more our "Dancing With the Stars" tribute. Remember Tuesday night is the finals. Wednesday they announce the winners. Mario Lopez remains with us. He's in North Hollywood, California, about a mile and a half from here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's in the same ZIP code as we are.

KING: Couldn't make it over.

LOPEZ: I was working, Larry.

KING: Most remote I've ever done. Mario's...

LOPEZ: Wait, there's a guy behind me.

KING: Couldn't make it to the elevator. Anyway, the only time I had something like this was George Burns when he was 100 years old. He was in the lobby and couldn't make it. And Emmitt Smith remains with us...

SMITH: George and I were in the same program.

KING: Joining me now is Tom Bergeron, host of "Dancing with the Stars." Also the host of "America's Funniest Videos". Got two great gigs going.


KING: And Carrie Ann Inaba, one of the judges of "Dancing with the Stars".

Tom, how do you explain the success of this really?

BERGERON: I have no explanation at all. I mean, we all try to dissect it and, you know, the -- I think it's a throwback to good old variety shows that I grew up watching. It's -- it's the elegance of dance. It's the live element.

I mean, when Samantha Harris is backstage talking to all of them when they've come off the dance floor, and you see live, raw emotion on display. And you see the work that they put into it, week in and week out, this is a -- we're coming up on week 10 but you started out, what, six weeks before we began on the air.

SMITH: Week 16 for me.

KING: It's very draining.

BERGERON: Yes. So it's, you know...

KING: For no money. For a little crummy little -- I can't believe it. These are big stars.

BERGERON: You can't put a dollar amount on the bragging rights, and the trophy, it's unique. That's a good way of putting it.

KING: How did you get to be a judge?


KING: How did you get to be a judge?

INABA: I went in and I auditioned. I went in to meet with the producers, and they sent me a tape of the show.

BERGERON: She had her own paddles.

INABA: Yes, I brought my own paddles.

KING: Are you a dancer?

INABA: Yes, I'm a dancer and choreographer. I've been dancing since I was 3 years old and choreographing.

KING: Is this tough to do?

INABA: Actually, it is. Because I relate so much to them when they're on the dance floor giving their heart and soul, and then they come for judgment. And I know how that feels like. Because as a dancer and a choreographer, you're always auditioning, as well. And so it's tough. Most of my comments are geared to help them get better.

KING: How much counts? People voting and judges?

BERGERON: Fifty-fifty, 50/50. And you know, some people...

KING: What if someone wins the people and someone wins the judges?

BERGERON: Well, then if it's -- well, that's how the show progresses from week to week. There are times, for example, their pick on a given week with their 50 percent of the vote wasn't sufficient to overcome the popular vote for another star.

KING: What, Carrie, makes Mario special?

INABA: Well, you know, I think Mario is a professional performer. He knows how to turn it on very quickly. Very sharp and succinct. His movement style is very quick, and it's exciting and energetic.

BERGERON: And his willingness to go anywhere to get the job done. With the exception of the today, to make the mile and a half trip.

INABA: He's a little bit lazy. But other than that, he's fantastic.

KING: Get back to that in a minute. What makes -- what makes Emmitt...

INABA: Wonderful?

KING: Yes.

INABA: What's great about Emmitt is I think from the beginning of the show he started out strong. There was a natural -- natural groove that happens with him. But I think he's -- every week he really lets us see more and more of his own personal style.

And he's got athleticism. He's got this suave kind of feeling, and his technique has improved miles from the beginning. He's great.

KING: Are you nervous, Mario, knowing that you're being judged?

LOPEZ: I -- I'm nervous that I'm being judged, but to tell you the truth I really don't think about it too much until I walk over to Mr. Bergeron and then I'm looking at the judges.

BERGERON: Mr. Bergeron.

LOPEZ: And, oh, my gosh, I'm about to get judged. Yes, all of a sudden, I'm being very polite on Larry King today.

KING: You don't think about it?

LOPEZ: I really don't think about it, to tell you the truth. Not until that time.

And then it's weird because they're -- they're giving you their scores and their critiques. And you forget that they're telling not just you but millions of people watching. So that's sort of a surreal feeling. It doesn't hit me until, like, later on.

I'm kind of caught up in the moment, and later on when I'm watching it on TV, it's like, oh, they really scolded me in front of everybody. Wow. You know, but I try to just take it like a man.

KING: It's like reading the press on a Monday morning.

SMITH: To me that's exactly what I equate it to. It's like reading the press every Monday morning. The armchair quarterbacks, the call in guys on the radio shows talking about: "He should have went left versus going right. Why did he balance it, versus going up in the middle?" All those kind of things.

So all my life I think I've been judged some way or another. So I'm kind of used to it.

KING: Do you learn from your critics?

SMITH: I love to learn from my critics, especially if they give me precise information that can only help me to improve where I need to be improved at.

If they just give me something, just general statement like, for example, "You broke the hold but everything else was OK," you know, then I understand I broke the hold. I won't break the hold again.

INABA: You're critiquing me, is that what's happening?


KING: What's the key to hosting?

BERGERON: Well, for me, I mean, I love it, as we talked about this before, live television. I love live television. There isn't nothing like it.

And it's that no net. It's that no second take. It's the -- what I love about it is constantly listening to everything that's going on, when Samantha's talking to them backstage to see if I want to riff off something.

Or the judges are being particularly -- you're not as cranky as them. For all the criticism you get sometimes. Len and Bruno, who have been flying to England every week to judge the British show that we're -- we're inspired by and coming back. So I thought they'd be...

INABA: Cranky.

BERGERON: ... crankier than they are. They're doing pretty well.

KING: British version. They started it?

INABA: They started it. They started it.

BERGERON: Taking note of us.

KING: We'll get a break. And when we come back, yours truly will dance.

Strap yourself in.

INABA: Where are my paddles?

KING: Those judges. Don't go away.


BERGERON: Last week Emmitt and Cheryl wowed the judges.

LEN GOODMAN, JUDGE, "DANCING WITH THE STARS": Of every dance I've seen this whole season, that was the best.




BERGERON: But Bruno's nine kept them one point short of perfection. CHERYL BURKE, PROFESSIONAL DANCER: Let's practice.


BURKE: You don't look good. Make sure you always look good.

Every choice we make could be a difference between winning or losing.



KING: In this segment, I am going to dance. I will dance with the lovely Cheryl Burke, who is a professional dance champion, star of the Latin style. She's been partnered with finalist Emmitt Smith this season. Last year her partner was Drew Lachey.

Emmitt is not here for my dance lesson. Be honest, what is he like to dance with?

BURKE: He's great. He's great to dance with. I mean, he has a great work ethic. And you know, he just wants to win this competition.

KING: Does that surprise you him, with him being a great football star, that he would be agile as a dancer?

BURKE: Totally surprised me. I mean, he learned steps so fast, and he's got natural body rhythm. And he's just great to work with. It's a pleasure.

KING: Now we also -- I know you danced with Drew Lachey last season. How does his style compare with Emmitt's?

BURKE: Well, Drew -- Drew was much smaller than Emmitt. So for him to move was much easier. With Emmitt, you know, he just goes into practice. It's all about business with him. He wants to practice eight hours a day. He's a hard worker. And you know, we just get on with it.

KING: Why do you enjoy this show so much?

BURKE: You know, dancing has a great exposure. And I've been dancing all my life since I was a little girl. And it's great to have, you know, America be able to see what great talent people can actually give.

KING: On the No. 1 show.

BURKE: On the No. 1 show.

KING: OK. My blue card is gone. We're about to dance. What kind of dance are we doing?

BURKE: We're going cha-cha. KING: Cha-cha. I lived in Miami for 20 years. I love the cha- cha. I don't know how to do the cha-cha, but I love the cha-cha.

BURKE: OK. So I'll teach you your steps first. Go forward on the left foot on two. Go back on right, three. And then you go side together, side with the left. Side together, side.

KING: Side together side. Forward on left, back with the right.

BURKE: And cha-cha cha. And then back on the right.

KING: Let's try it. If I can't, I'll fake it.

BURKE: OK, OK. Ready? I don't hear the music. When do we start?

BURKE: One, two, three. One, two, three, cha, cha, cha. One, two, three, cha, cha, cha.

KING: I didn't know this was a cha-cha song.

BURKE: Oh, yes.

KING: I like this one.

BURKE: Cha, cha, cha. One, two, three, cha, cha, cha. You do good.

KING: You swing your hips.

BURKE: Cha, cha, cha.

KING: This is magic. I should have entered. I should have entered.

BURKE: You can next year.

KING: Jerry Springer can do it, I can do it.

BURKE: Exactly. One, two, three, cha, cha, cha. One, two, three, cha, cha, cha.

KING: I didn't know this was a cha-cha song.

BURKE: Yes. That was pretty good.

KING: Is that allowed in cha-cha to twirl?

BURKE: Oh, yes, of course.

KING: I like this. How's that?

BURKE: Cha, cha, cha.

KING: I'm suddenly with it. And I have no idea what I'm doing.

BURKE: You have a lot of talent, Larry.

KING: I'm a broadcaster, we fake it. You are great.

BURKE: Thank you. Good job.

KING: OK. All right. Thank you. I'm humbled. All right, Carrie Ann, give it to me. Go ahead. Paddle it.

INABA: No, I liked it. What I liked about you, is you took lead right away. You took control of the situation. Cheryl's a pro, but you weren't intimidated by her. And I saw you twirling her. You opened up. You gave us a whole bunch of variety there. I was impressed.

KING: Except my feet didn't know what I was doing.

INABA: That's OK. But they did the close-up, I noticed, a lot, which helped you a great deal.

KING: Everybody stay off the feet.

BERGERON: Right. It's like when the Muppets dance. They always stay up here on Kermit, yes.

KING: Were you jealous, Mario?

LOPEZ: Yes, let me tell you something, Larry. If I had moves like that I wouldn't need my lovely partner here. You're a natural. You should consider next season.

INABA: Actually, would you consider next season?


INABA: Come on.

KING: I wouldn't -- it wouldn't be...

LOPEZ: Look at you, Larry. Look at the hips go.

KING: I wouldn't be foolish?


KING: Because I feel like I made a fool of myself.

INABA: Really?

LOPEZ: Only 40 seconds of invested time.

BERGERON: Look, at the very least we can work on your self- esteem.

KING: Interesting how -- interesting how you'll never be back.

BERGERON: Good night, everybody. Thanks so much. KING: By the way, my kids and "America's Funniest Video" run to the screen.

BERGERON: Thank you.

KING: Run to the screen.

BERGERON: Seventeen years. Who would have thought pinata injuries could be so entertaining?

INABA: This man is the glue to our show. He really pulls it together.

KING: He's the host. Emmitt, were you jealous I danced with your partner?

SMITH: No, you know, I got another partner back there, so I can't really get jealous about you dancing with Cheryl.

KING: You weren't nervous, right?

SMITH: No, I wasn't nervous. I've danced with her for almost 16 weeks now. So I don't mind sharing.

KING: She loves you. Do you dance?

BERGERON: I danced once last season in a results show. Ashley DelGrosso taught me how to do a quick step, because I wanted to know emotionally and physically what they go through. So how did I do? You tell me.

INABA: Oh, he did great. It was wonderful. It was so entertaining. He worked really hard. Do we have that on tape?

BERGERON: You can go on YouTube and get it.

KING: Yes, you can. So why, Tom, explain something. What happens on Tuesday night different from Wednesday night?

BERGERON: Well, Tuesday night is when they compete for the -- not only the judge's scores, but the votes of the viewers, as well.

KING: And then what?

BERGERON: And then on Wednesday, once all the votes have been tabulated then we -- in the case of this coming Wednesday, we announce who's the winner of season three.

KING: So the Wednesday show is four minutes?

BERGERON: No, no, the Wednesday show is very much an old style variety show.

KING: Hold on. We'll pick it up from there. Let me get a break. We'll be right back. "Dancing with the Stars." Don't go away. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BERGERON: It's actor and TV host Mario Lopez and his professional partner Karina Smirnoff.

Last Tuesday, blonde ambition led Mario and Karina to two nearly perfect performances, but the pace and the pressure are beginning to take their toll.


LOPEZ: I understand. I comprehend. Comprehending and executing are different.

SMIRNOFF: You're not trying. When you are trying it looks great.

LOPEZ: I'm not trying? You think I'm not trying?

SMIRNOFF: Not enough.




SARA EVANS, COUNTRY SINGER: I think right now I'm just in shock. If you had asked me when I was a little girl if I thought anything like this would happen in my life, no.

So I just needed to, you know, take care of my children and I knew that. And I knew that nothing in my career, no television show, nothing was more important than that.

But I'm -- I'm also very grateful for the outpouring of love and support that I've gotten from fans and friends and people in the industry and just people all over the world.


KING: We're back on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE, saluting "Dancing with the Stars". That was Sara Evans us asking the reasons she left the program after some very successful stints as a dancer.

We now meet the two partners of the two finalists. Mario Lopez's partner joining him in North Hollywood, California, is Karina Smirnoff, professional dance champion. There she is.

And joining Emmitt Smith here in Los Angeles is Cheryl Burke, who is so lucky enough to have danced with me.

Did you enjoy that?

BURKE: I loved it. Yes. I had a lot of fun.

KING: All right, what clicks between you and what works for the two of you?

SMITH: I think what works for the both of us is that we both have a work ethic that is -- that is pretty much driven from internal wheel (ph) to want to be successful. She believe in hard work. I believe in hard work. We have -- we share the same sign. And...

KING: What is that?

SMITH: Which is a Taurus. We both were born in May. So I think we have a lot of similarities there that gave us an opportunity to click right off the bat.

She's 22 years old. My football number was 22. So there was a lot of natural things there. And so...

KING: You like it right away working with him?

BURKE: I loved it right away. His work ethic is just amazing, and we just got along. You know, just straight work.

KING: All right. Now Karina Smirnoff is with Mario -- is with Mario Lopez in North Hollywood.

Karina, what worked for the two of you?

SMIRNOFF: Well, I think we're both very energetic and hyper people, and we love to, you know, take everything on very passionately, and that kind of brought us together and made the team work well.

LOPEZ: We hit it off like that, Larry. Like we make each other laugh. Half the time we're cracking each other up. And we're like, "Oh, my gosh, we've got to learn the dance." And then we forget that there's business to tend to.

But when she turns it on, it's -- she's the best teacher in the world and I think the best dancer in the world. And she's just unbelievable. I couldn't have asked for a more unbelievable partner.

KING: Is it important, Mario, and I mean this, that the two partners have to like each other?

LOPEZ: I think that there definitely has to be a respect, because -- it's a tough situation for Cheryl and Karina, because not only are they our partners. They're also our teachers. And they're obviously used to having world class dancers to work with. And they have to be extremely patient.

With myself, I know with Karina, my like ADD kick in, and I have the attention span of, like, a mosquito. So it's been such a struggle just to learn stuff. So I give her all credit in the world.

But they definitely have to respect each other, and I believe they do have to like each other. The chemistry is so important on the dance floor.

KING: Emmitt, the quarterback doesn't have to like the running back, does he?

SMITH: To some degree he does. I mean, the running back protects the quarterback's back side sometimes when the left tackle is not being able to do so. So there's a degree of trust that needs to -- definitely needs to happen.

KING: You have to like your partner?

SMITH: I definitely have to like my partner. I think by liking my partner it gives us the extra flare that we need and the freedom to really let yourself go. If you can't trust your partner or like your partner, then it's going to come across on the dance floor.

KING: Is it possible, Karina, that two great dancers, great dancers, might not be great as a team?

SMIRNOFF: Very easily because sometimes you both very, very great in performing, but then you're not really able to bring the package together. There has to be a certain chemistry between the partners to bring the couple and the partnership to a different level.

KING: Have you been dancing a long time, Karina?

SMIRNOFF: I've been dancing since I was 11 years old, yes. Too long.

LOPEZ: She just turned 18.

KING: How long have you been dancing, Cheryl?

BURKE: Since I was 11, as well.

KING: And Karina, are you related to the -- are you related at all to the vodka people?

SMIRNOFF: I would wish to be related to the vodka people, seriously.

KING: Just thought I'd ask.

LOPEZ: Glad you asked.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with the stars of "Dancing with the Stars". Don't go away.


BERGERON: Joey made quite a splash with last week's performances.

TONIOLO: Gene Kelly is smiling on you.


EDYTA SLIWINSKA, PROFESSIONAL DANCER: You're not going to be going up or down in tango. The tango is all flat. LAWRENCE: Tuesday morning you've got to wake up and just think about having fun performing this thing. And so I'm going try to have fun and perform the heck out of it. That's what you've got to do.




TONIOLO: Monique, you're bringing sexy back big time!

GOODMAN: Monique, little miss firecracker. She comes to the floor totally committed. Truly the wow factor personified.

TONIOLO: The most beautiful arms in the competition. She carries herself very well, and she's proved herself as good in ballroom and in Latin.

INABA: You are a strong dancer. You are a sharp dancer. And I think everybody needs to take note of you.

She's grown beyond any of our expectations.


KING: Mario, are you and Karina more than just -- just dance partners?

LOPEZ: No, no. It's funny that you're even asking that, Larry. No, it's -- I'm using amid speculation and all the drama that's kind of happened with the show and the fact that we're up in the mix is amusing. No, we -- I am blessed that we have great chemistry. Of course, people are going to assume the latter.

KING: Karina, would you like to be more than just dance partners?

SMIRNOFF: Well, that's kind of putting me on the spot. I think the world of him. I think he's a great guy. And you know, I would cherish our friendship for a long time. But I'll leave it at that.

KING: OK, well said. OK.

All right. We've asked others to make this comment. Let's ask them. Who's going to win, Emmitt?

SMITH: I would like to think that Cheryl and I will win. That's what I like to think. But as they say in the sports, the game must be played.

KING: We don't know...

SMITH: We don't know.

KING: ... until they go on the field. SMITH: Until they go on the field.

KING: Mario, are you going to win?

LOPEZ: I already feel like a winner, Larry, just being right here and not to sound too corny, but, you know, if it's Emmitt's day that day, then God bless him. I'm happy for him. And there's no shame in losing to Emmitt Smith.

KING: But do you think you'll win?

LOPEZ: Do I think I'll win? I'm going to try. I'm going to go out there and leave it all on the floor. I'm definitely going to try. That's my mentality.

KING: That's why you're in North Hollywood. You wouldn't come here a mile and a half, just to get an extra rehearsal in.

LOPEZ: I was working, Larry, for God's sakes.

KING: Will you work over the weekend?

SMITH: Yes, yes. Yes, we will.

KING: Friday and Sunday?

SMITH: We work every day up until the show.

BURKE: Every day.

KING: Big prize.

SMITH: Even the day of the prize.

BURKE: To win that trophy.

SMITH: To try and win that trophy.

KING: The experience has been totally worthwhile for you?

SMITH: Yes, I think it's been everything that -- as a matter of fact, it has exceeded my expectations. In terms of the work that's required to be on the show and to make it through every week has been unbelievably tough. And balancing schedules between real estate development with Smith/Cypress Partners and balancing the dance schedule and family and all, it's not an easy gig to do.

KING: Cheryl? Worthwhile?

BURKE: Oh, for sure. I mean, I feel so blessed to have been dancing with Emmitt for the last, what, four months and it's just been a great experience.

KING: Mario, for you?

LOPEZ: Yes, Emmitt hit the nail right on the head, because this has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life but at the same time I, too, have just been busy juggling with work and my other commitments and making it all work. It has been very taxing. But I wouldn't change it -- I wouldn't change it for the world. And made the time go by like that.

KING: Thank you all very much. Mario, Karina, Emmitt, Cheryl, all our guests earlier, on in this special edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

Before we go, one day after Ed Bradley's death, more sad news, that another great one has left us, Jack Palance. And unforgettable actor on the big screen over a long and distinguished career and a larger than life character off the screen, too. He passed away this afternoon of natural causes at the age of 87, surrounded by his family and home. They don't make them like Jack Palance any more. One in a million.

Tomorrow night by the way, remembering Ed Bradley with his "60 Minutes" colleagues. And Sunday night, another look at tonight's "Dancing with the Stars" extravaganza.


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