Exclusive: Mario Lopez, "Don't Call Me the Mexican Ryan Seacrest"

Extra host Mario Lopez has hosted every kind of show under the Red, White and Blue sun (dog shows, even), which is why he reminds me so much of a certain American Idol host extraordinaire. But when I told Mario that Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas called him the "Mexican Ryan Seacrest"—out of admiration and respect, of course—he wasn’t feeling the comparison: “Well, Taboo is a very talented, great guy, so thanks for the compliment. But I’m looking to be the first Mario Lopez. I don’t follow in anybody’s footsteps.”

Lopez, who lived in the same California apartment complex as the AI host before either of them became celebrities, went on to clarify the difference between them. “Ryan is a friend of mine and I like all of the stuff he’s doing. But I host, I produce, I act, I dance, I’ve done Broadway, and I’m an author! There’s a lot more going on in different areas of my repertoire.”

Read on to find out what else Lopez had to say about hosting Extra, the new contestants on Dancing with the Stars, and the one job he'd never take...

As the host of Extra, you get to interview A-list celebs like Julia Roberts and Reese Witherspoon every week. Who is your dream interview?

I’ve gotten to interview the President [Barack Obama], Tom Cruise and Will Smith. I love it and I enjoy everything. My “one” dream interview? Gosh darn...I mean, after the President? There’s nobody in a better position than that. I’d like to keep interviewing him because I love politics.

Now that you have to ask stars about their private lives, do you have more sympathy for reporters when they ask you about yours?

Well, when I’m asking them, they’re pretty cool with me because I’m one of them. It’s all about how you ask the questions and the tone you use. Nothing fazes me. I know people are doing their jobs, so I answer it—unless someone is being really rude.

Do you still plan to host the next season of America’s Best Dance Crew?

Why? Am I getting fired? [laughs] Of course! I’ve done it for three seasons and will keep doing it. It keeps getting better and better. I’m always asking about certain moves. Those kids keep me young and hip.

Have you had the chance to size up the contestants on this season of Dancing with the Stars?

Not so much. I didn’t watch the show before I was on it, or after I was on it, or even while I was on it. But I was honored to do it. After the first 100 episodes, they said I was the #1 performer of all-time and that is kind of cool, that a Latino was #1.

Can you tell Vivo Por TiVo anything about your hush-hush reprised role as Dr. Mike Hamoui on Nip Tuck later this year?

No, I can’t. They are very strict about that, so I can’t. But I can tell you it’s going to be really racy.

You're also doing a TV show called I Get that A Lot, where you work a random job and try to conceal your celebrity status. Have you already filmed your episode?

Yeah, I did. It’s coming out on April Fool's Day, which is really appropriate. I play a hot dog vendor [laughs]. And people come up to me and say: “Hey, aren’t you Mario Lopez?” And I say, “I get that a lot.” Jessica Simpson and Heidi Klum are also in it.

While we’re on the subject of everyday occupations, what’s the one job you could never imagine yourself doing?

I can do anything! I am a hustler. There are a lot of jobs I would rather not do, though. What do you call those people who…telemarketing, that’s it. I couldn’t do that. I can’t have people hanging up on me all day. That’s not cool, because I like to talk.

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