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

In this candid TV Guide Q&A, Super Mario Dancing with the Stars stud Mario Lopez, that is sounds off about the judges, his "relationship" with Desperate Housewife Eva Longoria, and... Oprah? (ABC's Dancing with the Stars airs Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 8 pm/ET.)

TV Guide: You turned down the show last season. What changed your mind?
Lopez:
My mom kept bugging me to do it, and I wanted to make her happy. When she found out that I was going to be on, she freaked out. And when I found out what it entailed, I freaked out! [Laughs]

TV Guide: You make it look easy. Do you think you could dance professionally?
Lopez:
The other day [my dance partner] Karina [Smirnoff] said that if she worked with me every day for a year like, 12 hours a day then maybe I could go pro.

TV Guide: Would you go pro?
Lopez:
No! [Laughs] To me, they're incredible athletes, and now I realize all the hard work and dedication they put into it. It's a very interesting world; I'm intrigued by it.

TV Guide: What are you practicing this week?
Lopez:
Rumba. I'm finding it a little difficult. It's a little slower, and you can't really cheat as much or fake it like you can in the other dances.

TV Guide: Speaking of cheating, how'd it feel when you got called out for breaking the rules?
Lopez:
I think it got a little blown out of proportion. I think everybody bent or broke the rules a little bit. But they treated me like I was breaking the law, not breaking the rules.

TV Guide: And what about judge Len Goodman's comment that he wanted to "put you over the podium and give you a spanking"?
Lopez:
I thought, "I'm a 32-year-old man. What are you thinking, buddy?"

TV Guide: How tough has it been on your body?
Lopez:
I'm sore. Karina's sore. We feel like a couple of football players after NFL Sunday all beat up. This show doesn't give you much time to recuperate.

TV Guide: Has the dancing changed your body?
Lopez:
Yeah, I've lost about 10 pounds not that I was chubby. I weigh 170 pounds now. I'm a little more sleek.

TV Guide: Eva Longoria was cheering you on one night. What's up with that?
Lopez:
She's been a friend of mine for a long time. She's a great supporter.

TV Guide: You were married briefly [to actress Ali Landry] in 2004. Were you too young?
Lopez:
No, but I think sometimes people are better off being friends as opposed to more. As you get older, you recognize those things quicker.

TV Guide: Acting, dancing what would you like to do next?
Lopez:
I'd like to be like Kelly Ripa, who's done a sitcom and a talk show. Or the ultimate one, Oprah, who's a hero of mine. I love talk shows. I love talking and the daytime audience. I want to do all kinds of stuff.

Send your comments on this Q&A to letters@tvguide.com.