Three women will make a bid for the "Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars" mirror ball trophy tonight, a first in the dancing competition's 15-season history.
Olympian Shawn Johnson, TV personality Melissa Rycroft and soap opera star Kelly Monaco will make their bid for the championship tonight. They are among the show's first-ever cast of celebrity dancers who appeared previously on regular seasons of "Dancing With the Stars."
"It's going to be a battle," Rycroft told "Good Morning America" Sunday night as she rehearsed for her final performances.
She is the only one of the three who has not won a mirror ball trophy before. Johnson took the mirror ball in season 8 while Monaco won the show's inaugural season, but not without some controversy.
Even though she was declared the winner, many thought the runner-up celebrity dancer, John O'Hurley, deserved the win, as he had been a favorite during the season. The show staged a rematch dance between Monaco and O'Hurley to benefit charity, and he won narrowly.
Monaco and her professional dance partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, have grown extremely close during the season. Their apparent romantic chemistry and affection for each other have sparked speculation among fans.
Asked to set the record straight, the two admit to being in a relationship but won't go as far as to define what kind.
"We spend every day together …," Monaco said, while Chmerkovskiy adds: "Of course we're exclusive. This is the only person I've seen, literally, in the last four months, honestly. I eat, breathe, sleep, poop, "Dancing with the Stars," every, any, that's everything I've known … when we first met, I, that was the first thing I said. I said, 'We're going to be married for the next four months. You are my number one priority, and, and I hope to be yours, as well, and that's the only way we're going to be successful in this competition … '"
He added that their closeness was genuine and carried off-screen. He believes they connected because they understood how it felt to be underappreciated. He said he just felt like Maksim Chmerkovskiy's "little brother," and had not lived up to his own expectations. He thinks Monaco understood how that felt because of her experience in season one.
Rycroft, whose pro partner is Tony Dovolani, said Johnson is "programmed to win," but added that Monaco has been "the the biggest surprise of the season … I'm nervous because I don't know what to expect from them in the finale but it's going to be a hard battle and I think Tony and I, you know, we're going to give the girls and their trophies a run for their money."
"They both have trophies to lose … We have a trophy to win," Dovolani added.
Johnson's pro partner, Derek Hough, is a three-time winner of the mirror ball trophy.
Johnson believes the competition will be tough, saying: "I feel like it's more intense than it's ever been because people - I think like when you have some guys and some girls … guys take it easy on the girls and the girls just give the guys a hard time. But now it's like three girls who are really intense and really competitive and - "
"Cat fight," Hough chimed in jokingly.
Tonight's show will feature two performances from each finalist. Johnson will do a quickstep, Monaco will do a paso doble and Rycroft will perform a samba. All three will also dance a freestyle.
They will do another routine Tuesday, after which the winner will be announced.