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Rumba will slow him down

The Baltimore Sun

Mario is exhausted.

Juggling his R&B; career and intense rehearsals for ABC's hit show Dancing With the Stars has left the Baltimore native drained, he said.

This past week, he has only been able to practice his dancing routine with partner Karina Smirnoff six hours a day instead of his regular eight to 12 hours. And the pressure is on.

"It's starting to get down to the wire," he said. "You've got the last couple of people about to get to the finals pretty soon. This is where I want to be at my best."

On last week's show, Mario re-established himself as a contender with a captivating samba that earned him a score of 27 out of 30 from the judges.

"Coming back was one of my main concerns, and for the past two weeks, I've been getting pretty good scores," he said. "I'd love to see three 10s on my board" tonight.

If that happens, Mario might break down and cry.

"I might just tear up -- absolutely," he said.

Tonight, Mario will dance the rumba -- his first slow dance, he said.

"I get a chance to tone it down a little bit," he said. "I'm having a little difficulty turning my wild side into a more sensitive side sometimes in rehearsals. But it's coming along great."

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