In general I'm always surprised of how many diverse rythms and music here are referred as mambo or cha cha cha, without having the slightest resemblance or even without using the real music at all. Mambo music and rythm, as invented and developed in Havana by Damaso Perez Prado in the 40's, is a very specific, different animal from what we see in DWTS. "The Mambo dance that was invented by Perez Prado and was popular in the 1940s and 50s Cuba, Mexico City, and New York is completely different to the modern dance that New Yorkers now call 'Mambo', which is also known as Salsa "on 2". The original mambo dance contains no breaking steps or basic steps at all. The Cuban dance wasn't accepted by many professional dance teachers. Cuban dancers would describe mambo as "feeling the music" in which sound and movement were merged through the body. Professional dance teachers in the US saw this approach to dancing as "extreme," "undisciplined," and thus, deemed it necessary to standardize the dance to present it as a sell-able commodity for the social or ballroom market. The modern dance from New York was popularized in the 70s by Eddie Torres and his contemporaries who were 1st or 2nd generation Puerto Rican immigrants. This style is not danced to Mambo music, for which it is poorly suited, but instead to Salsa music."
A good friend of mine who is a professional dancer moved to New York from Texas, and I'm afraid when he first hit the floor with the mambo that he was used to, folks snickered at him for looking like "a Puerto Rican hillbilly." New Yorkers like their mambo fast and aggressive, and competition mambo reflects that. Here is a good example from Mambo World Championships: