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First All-Female 'DWTS' Finalists Talk Strategy

by Robert Pace 3:30 AM PST, November 21, 2012
Playing First All-Female 'DWTS' Finalists Talk Strategy

After a string of unanticipated eliminations on Dancing with the Stars sent Emmitt Smith and Apolo Ohno home, the show's first All-Stars season has its finalists set in place. Following Tuesday's show, the three lucky ladies reacted to the exciting news and talked strategy for the finals.

Melissa Rycroft, Shawn Johnson, and Kelly Monaco became not only the first All-Stars finalists yesterday but also became the first all-female finalists in Dancing's fifteen seasons, which marks only the second timeĀ for a gender dominated the finals.

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As ecstatic as the women were to have made the finals after the long and laborious journey of Dancing with the Stars, their excitement was short-lived. With the finals less than a week away and three dances lined up for each dancing couple, there is plenty of work left to be done.

"I'm not quite celebrating," Shawn Johnson clarified upon her partner Derek Hough's provocation. "I'm kind of like, 'It's time to get in the rehearsal studio...I think honestly it's not about thinking about winning...it's just about living up to the standard that we've put out so far."

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Melissa Rycroft, who finished third on her initial season on Dancing (Season 8) and witnessed Johnson win the Mirrorball Trophy, was overjoyed to have made it to the finals once again. As she and partner Tony Dovolani reflected, their initial goal was merely to have fun. Looking forward to the finals, their motto remains the same.

"Now that we're in the finals, we're going to continue that trend," Dovolani said. "Melissa's been my rock; she's been amazing to work with. She's by far the best student I've ever had...We're going to combine our brains and try to come up with the best freestyle possible, and just hopefully wow the audience once more."

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Rycroft is up against stiff competition for her second finals, as fellow finalist Kelly Monaco also won her first season on Dancing on its premiere season. Situated at the bottom of the leader board heading in to the elimination, she and parter Val Chmerkovskiy were shocked that they advanced to the finals.

"[I'm] very surprised....You're standing there against Emmitt," Chmerkovskiy said. "Emmitt Smith is probably the...biggest sweetheart of 'Dancing with the Stars' history. That gentleman on a show [that's] predominantly watched by women--who would not vote for Emmitt?"

Watch the finalists' as well as the eliminated contestants' reactions in the video above. Dancing with the Stars continues on Monday at 8 p.m. on ABC.

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