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That's Mario, the R&B singer who uses only his first name (real name Mario Dewar Barrett), and not Mario Lopez, former Saved By the Bell Star.

Karina Smirnoff is partnering with the former on Dancing With the Stars this season. Three seasons ago, she partnered with Mario Lopez.

Mario Lopez and Karina Smirnoff fell in love and are still dating as a result of that season of Dancing With the Stars. All caught up?

The DWTS pro and certified cutie responded this week to rumors that she is hooking up with her current partner, the R&B singer Mario.

"We have a completely professional relationship," Karina Smirnoff said. "I have a lot of respect for Mario. He is a great person."

Mario and Karina Again!

Mario and Karina: The 2008 Dancing With the Stars edition.

The New York Post reported this week that the current DWTS iteration of Mario and Karina were "making out by the valet with their hands all over each other" at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles. Juicy gossip!

Mario's rep denies the claim, saying "this did not happen."

But a source close to the talented singer insists "there is definitely chemistry and a flirtation between the two." Then again, it is dancing.

Ah, what would Dancing With the Stars be without constant hookup rumors? Or the incredibly attractive and somehow still chaste Julianne Hough?

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by Mischalova at

Karina Smirnoff now has something in common with Jennifer Aniston and Cameron Diaz.

No, those actresses haven't seen Mario Lopez naked.

JR Martinez and Karina Smirnoff Pic

But all three celebrities have undergone plastic surgery on their nose, as Smirnoff underwent the procedure for medical reasons on November 2.

According to People magazine, a doctor performed the routine procedure to repair the nasal passageway and reshape Smirnoff's nose, which she's broken twice in accidents in the past six years.

The professional dancer is expected to make a full recovery in time to appear on the November 27 Dancing with the Stars finale, when all of the season five couples will reunite on the ballroom floor.

"She can breathe easier," the surgeon, Dr. Nicholas Nicolov said. "She may find being a little less tired, a little less winded."

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by Mischalova at

 
Joey Fatone
and Kym Johnson have nothing on these two!

Mario Lopez and girlfriend Karina Smirnoff, his partner on last season's Dancing with the Stars, recently took their relationship to the next level: They're cohabiting.

Situation and Karina Smirnoff

"They recently moved in together," a source close to the couple tells People magazine. "It was a big step to take, especially for Mario, but they both think this could be it. Things are going really well right and they're loving being together all the time."

Just like Nick Lachey and Vanessa Minnillo.

The 33-year-old Lopez and the Ukrainian-born Smirnoff have always been coy about their romance since coming in second on Dancing with the Stars in November, but were spotted vacationing together in Mexico later that month.

Lopez, who will co-host the Miss Universe 2007 pageant on NBC live from Mexico City on May 28, told People at the time that he and Smirnoff had "a very special relationship" and said: "We're great friends and very supportive of each other."

Reps for both had no comment. But The Hollywood Gossip has a lot to say: Way to go, Slater! You beat out Dancing hottie Maksim Chmerkovskiy for this female's heart.

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During a weekend of relaxation and gratitude, Mario Lopez was glad he had a break.

It didn't hurt that he spent a few days at his sister's home in Houston and then Mexico with a certain dancing star.

Karina Smirnoff of DWTS

"We're definitely overdue for a break," Lopez told People magazine about himself and possible girlfriend, Karina Smirnoff. "I want to take a little time off, go to Mexico."

By Sunday, the pair were there, taking south of the border by beautiful storm. And while Mario wouldn't confirm the dating rumors with Smirnoff, he did refer to their bond as "a very special relationship."

Awww.

"It's very flattering when people want to see us together and like to see us be together," he said about the romantic sparks that viewers saw as the two twisted their way to a second-place finish this month on Dancing with the Stars. "We're great friends and very supportive of each other."

Channeling their inner Brangelina, Lopez and Smirnoff arrived in San Antonio on Friday night on behalf of the charity Any Baby Can, a non-profit organization that benefits severely disabled children.

For the record, we love this couple. The Hollywood Gossip would like to encourage Lopez to remain loyal to Smirnoff and avoid any more late nights with Britney Spears in Las Vegas.

Trust us, Mario, the former Mrs. Federline will play with your heart and get lost in the game.

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Evidently, three Super Bowl titles were not enough for Emmitt Smith. The NFL all-time rushing yards leader ran away with the fan vote on last night's Dancing with the Stars finale, as well.

Chaz Waves

Smith and Mario Lopez received identical scores on Tuesday night's show, but supporters pushed the running back over the top in the end, as he celebrated with professional dance partner Cheryl Burke.

"I am so proud of this trophy and I am proud to share it with Cheryl," Smith said. "We worked our tails off."

"Emmitt embodied what this competition is all about," season 3 contestant and Paris Hilton-hater Shanna Moakler said. "He deserved to win. Absolutely."

Other participants that had been kicked off earlier also weighed in.

"I don't think you could go wrong with either of these guys," Jerry Springer said. "They both had identical scores so it was who had the more compelling story and Emmitt's was the great American story. You saw his growth throughout the process and that's the great American story. That's the magic of this show."

For Karina Smirnoff, sadly, the magic felt like pure, unadulterated sadness. Tears streamed down her face as she reluctantly talked to reporters and the usually jovial Lopez tried to console her.

"Apparently world-class dancing wasn't enough. That wasn't the criteria it was based on," Lopez said to People magazine. "I don't really care about the trophy. I just wanted to win for Karina. She is honestly the best dancer in the world. No disrespect to the other girls on this show, but they don't hold a candle to her."

And with that, Slater and his date went to watch the Screech sex tape in order to feel better about themselves.

Meanwhile, Sara Evans attended the finale. For those somehow unaware, Evans withdrew from the competition after filing for divorce from political consultant Craig Schleske, her husband of 13 years.

"She was very relaxed, very happy to be here. Her kids are here and they are having a lot of fun. Her son Avery was doing some moves on the dance floor during rehearsals yesterday." dancer Louis Van Amstel said.

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Dancing with the Stars has seen Sara Evans drop out and Jerry Springer almost drop his pants.

Tonight, however, it will finally show fans a winner. The finals pit possible couple Mario Lopez and Karina Smirnoff against Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke.

Ricki Lake, Derek Hough Pic

Let's see who various celebrities support ...

Mario & Karina

Ryan Seacrest - "Mario Lopez ... he will take it and then the world will wait for him to announce his passionate romance with Karina ... They have to be hookin' up!"

Judge Marilyn Milian, People's Court - "I think Mario Lopez because that Latino is so hot to trot that I could watch him trot all night long."

Dayna Devon, Extra - "I think Mario will win because he works at 'Extra' and I am required to say that. Not to mention he is the best dancer!"

Howard Stern - Mario Lopez will win because he's had professional dance training, but Stern wonders if he "might reveal that he's gay, afterwards."

Emmitt & Cheryl

Rachael Ray - "I am rooting for three-time Super Bowl champ Emmitt Smith. When Emmitt came on my show he taught me how to cha cha, and when he wins I hope he comes back and teaches me all the dances he learned."

Alex Trebek, Jeopardy! - "Although I think Mario is excellent, I have a feeling that America will vote for Emmitt Smith because for him to be doing what he's doing as a dancer, after all the bumps and knocks he endured in his Hall of Fame football career, is truly remarkable."

Undecided Vote

Jerry Springer - "I can't imagine rooting for one over the other. I think Mario is an incredible talent. Emmitt is already a superstar and, when I grow up, I want to be just like him."

Jimmy Kimmel - "Emmitt Smith or Mario Lopez? I should point out there are absentee ballots that have not been counted and Joey Lawrence is extremely popular with our troops overseas."

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by Mischalova at

The camera doesn't lie. That's how we know for sure that Paris Hilton and Travis Barker did, indeed, swap spit at least once on the dance floor.

So, what do Mario Lopez and Karina Smirnoff have to say about their off-the-dance-floor moves now? The pair has been claiming everything is friendly and above the belt. But these two seem like more than dancing partners in this picture, don't they?

Situation and Karina Smirnoff

We just hope Sara Evans isn't looking at this at the moment. The former Dancing with the Stars contestant doesn't need to be reminded of how exciting a new love can be right now.

Tony Parker, however, can finally relax. Even if Eva Longoria was saving Lopez's bell (if you know what we mean!) before, Mario appears to have settled on Karina in the end.

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Is this Dancing with the Stars or Dating with the Stars?

It's hard to say. Just about every possible rumor is swirling around Karina Smirnoff and her partner on the ABC smash hit. Here's all we do know for sure:

Brooke and Tom

She is NOT one of the women in the Dustin Diamond sex tape. We assume.

But here is Karina, seen outside the studios with possible boyfriend, Mario Lopez. She doesn't seem very shy about their cavorting, does she?

We don't know what's going on with this pair, but gossip mills are churning out statements that Lopez has another hot female caller in newly single Eva Longoria.

This comes as no surprise to A.C. Slater followers, however. Those wrestling tights, that jeri curl, that playful banter with Jesse Spano. The high schooler always knew how to work it.

He was the Nick Lachey of Bayside High.

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by Mischalova at

Enough about the Dustin Diamond sex tape already!

What about the performance of his formed Saved by the Bell co-star, Mario Lopez?

Ricki Lake and Derek Hough

A.C. Slater and his Dancing with the Stars partner, Karina Smirnoff, did their best on last night's episode, despite the latter having pinched a nerve in her back only hours before the show began.

"We were kind of rushing to do the dress rehearsal and during the pull-out, a part of my rib twisted in and pinched a nerve," Karina said. "I don't even know what that means - I just know it hurt like crazy! But the doctor cracked me and said I should be fine in three to four days."

Based on this Ashlee Simpson picture, looks like she's been cracked out a few times herself.

Lopez added: "She's a trooper and so tough, but I was worried."

The dancing duo, however, did not receive the highest score of the evening. That honor went to Vivica Fox and someone named Monique Coleman.

But who cares? Let's get to the important dirt: Are Lopez and Smirnoff dating?

Mario denied rumors.

"We get along so well and we do love to make each other laugh, but truthfully, we can't entertain messing around because there's only so much time and you really need to focus," he said.

Wow. That's dedication, folks. Passing up a pretty lady to focus on your job? Patrick Dempsey should mention that concept to his alter ego on Grey's Anatomy.

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by Mischalova at

What would Jesse Spano say?

Mario Lopez may be considered the favorite to win this season's Dancing with the Stars, but in other ways, he's already come out on top. Or maybe his partner, Karina Smirnoff has.

Maks and Kirstie Pic

Lewd comments aside, however, a source told Us Weekly that the couple has been dating since August, saying "it's serious." Perhaps jealously over seeing a happy twosome is what caused Shanna Moakler to purposely have herself eliminated this week. You never know.

"They do look good together, don't they?" said Lisa Rinna, this season's co-host.

They sure do. Not as good as this Jessica Alba picture. But still pretty good.

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