Jennifer Lopez, <EM>Dancing with the Stars</EM> Jennifer Lopez, Dancing with the Stars

Nothing, it seems, is calm this season on Dancing with the Stars (airs Mondays at 8 pm/ET and Tuesdays at 9 pm/ET on ABC). It isn't just the stars who are having trouble (Marie Osmond fainting, Jennie Garth crashing, Jane Seymour losing her mother). The guest stars are in the weeds, too. Last week Gloria Estefan had to bow out of performing on results night when her mother became seriously ill. And this week Jennifer Lopez had to tape her two segments on Sunday night — instead of performing live on Tuesday — due to her own family emergency, the passing of her grandmother.  

But even during the special Sunday-night taping, there was drama. Lopez had to retape her rousing dance hit "Let's Get Loud" for two reasons: First, pro Julianne Hough fell on the dance floor. "It looked like she hit a slippery spot and she went flying," reports one woman who was in the audience. Then, according to pro Edyta Sliwinska, Lopez was unhappy because too much camera time was being devoted to the pro dancers. "I guess she wanted to be shown a lot more than was originally planned," says Sliwinska. So when the number was reshot, she says, "They cut away from us a lot more." 

The pros have to take valuable time away from their celebrity partners to rehearse for the Tuesday-night show, and this number was the longest and most complicated they've ever attempted, according to executive producer Conrad Green. So when much of the routine didn't end up on camera, "We weren't too happy about that," says Sliwinska. But she understands why. "It's J.Lo."

When Mark Cuban was finally shown the door, he couldn't have been less diva-like. Cuban made it a lot further in the competition than anyone would have guessed, and took with him the sincere friendship of the entire cast. "When I first met Mark Cuban," says Sabrina Bryan, "my partner had to tell me that it was him because I was like, 'No. That guy's way too sweet.' I know it's bad to generalize, but when you think about billionaires, you just think this guy is going to walk into a room and just demand things to be a certain way. And he's not like that at all."

"He's such a nice guy and such a hard worker," says pro Tony Dovolani. And Cameron Mathison says he's in Cuban's debt. "When I injured myself last week doing the paso doble, he went out of his way and got his trainer from the Dallas Mavericks on the phone with me to put me through some exercises to try to diagnose what I did to my hip. I didn't ask him to do that, I didn't even know he was doing it. But he stayed with me until I knew what was going on."            

"Everybody thinks because I yell at the refs in basketball — my one release — that I can give it but I can't take it," says Cuban, who loved his Dancing experience. Everyone assumed that Cuban would take on the judges, which would have made good television, but never happened. "Look, put aside the show," says Cuban. "You've got to learn to improve and get better at anything you do, every day of your life. I can take the criticism. My wife reminds me that I can take criticism every day."

Cuban, who became this season's Incredible Shrinking Celebrity, will walk away 34 pounds lighter and proud of his new physique. "I actually have abs now," he says. "Feel them." He's not kidding. The six-pack is there, under his shirt. He laughs. "No, really feel them, because they may not be there forever."

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