Derek, Mark and Julianne are the future of DWTS and I like that, but Louis is the best dancer and choreographer on the show. I am sure Mark would agree as well. As for pieces to show case himself, I do not see Cheryl or Derek doing that in their first season and Derek had Jennie, a weaker dancer. Fan base wise, I think it has nothing to do with how long you last on the show. Maks built quite a fan base after his first season and Tia left before the two dances too.
Of course Mark gives Kristi more difficult choreography, no other female celeb besides maybe Stacey was been as talented as her. If he did not, the judges wil call him out on it. I agreed with the judges this past week on the choreography. Tricks, props and even hip hop moves work if you want to deflect from the celeb's weakness. Instead, Mark should have Kristi do more dancing. Again, no more Kristi standing there while he does leaps in the air. Kym did not do that for Joey Fatone, who was also a good dancer or Julianne for Apolo who was not a dancer or performer. If Mark's partner was like Monica, I understand but it is Kristi.
I guess she is so good that I am analyzing the choreography and dancing more intently. I am such a Kristi fan I want her to get the absolute best choreography for her. I will be bummed if she loses. In the end, as long as more showcasing of Kristi's dancing and having her dance (no more spins and knee drop Mark, we see it every dance as well as the spinning Kristi and drop to Mark's knees...redundant).
I loved their foxtrot, jive and rumba. I hope Mark takes more of that approach because those were great dances.