'Dancing With The Stars' finale: Last 3 couples wow judges, crowd


See a full dance-by-dance recap of this week's 'Dancing With The Stars: All Stars'

Two former champions are in the final battle to win the title and that stunning mirror ball trophy for a second time. But the front-runner on Monday night -- at least with the judges -- is the one star who only made it to third place the first time around.

Performing their favorite dance of the season first, Melissa Rycroft and her partner, Tony Dovolani, Sambaed to the beat of 10-10-10. They returned with a freestyle routine one judge called a "freestyle jackpot," and they got 10-10-10 again.

"We wanted to come out and do the unexpected and take a risk, because finale's the time to do it, and it paid off to me," said Rycroft.

Her partner agreed.

"This has been the most amazing ride of my life," said Dovolani. "The reason why we're here is because of the audience believing in us. We brought everything we could. We left our heart on the dance floor, and I hope they saw that."

In second place, Kelly Monaco and her partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, revisited their Paso Doble to near perfection with 29.5 out of 30. They got the same score for their freestyle, performing to a song from "Dirty Dancing."

"I would say she was definitely put in a corner in the beginning of the season," Chmerkovskiy said of his partner. "Kind of got her out of it, and then next thing you know, she's in the finals. We wanted to celebrate that."

Shawn Johnson and her partner, Derek Hough, wanted to celebrate their crowd-pleasing, but rule-breaking Quickstep again. And the judges acknowledged it was a fantastic routine, but they still had to dock their score.

"I thought that was the best thing we'd ever done, so getting to live that again was worth it," said Johnson.

See a full dance-by-dance recap of this week's 'Dancing With The Stars: All-Stars'

That meant third place for the night, even with a freestyle routine that earned them a perfect score and had Johnson on the dance floor with the Olympic gymnasts known as the Fierce Five.

"For them to take time to come here and still support me was the best way to end this journey, the best comeback that I never got and the best moment to end it all," said Johnson.

There's one dance left Tuesday night for judges' scores only, and then we'll find out who wins.

See photos of the dances Monday in the finals of "Dancing With The Stars: All-Stars"

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