Erin Andrews, Evan Lysacek, Nicole Scherzinger
Is the Dancing with the Stars title Nicole Scherzinger's for the taking? The Pussycat Doll has been the odds-on favorite since the beginning of the season, and the odds continue to be on her side as 54 percent of TVGuide.com users tip her to win the Season 10 crown. But a front-runner status doesn't always result in a win (see: Mya, Mel. B), and you can't count out her rivals: Evan Lysacek, who's hot on her heels, and dark horse Erin Andrews.
The final three will face off Monday (8/7c on ABC) with two dances: the freestyle and a judge's choice dance, which must be a new routine. Scherzinger and Derek Hough received the rumba; Lysacek and Anna Trebunskaya, the Viennese waltz; and Andrews and Maksim Chmerkovksiy, the samba.
Read Maks' Dancing blog
On Tuesday, the pairs will perform their favorite dances of the season before one couple is eliminated. The final two duke it out in a dance-off after that for Dancing
So how will the final three fare? Let's size them up.NICOLE SCHERZINGER
Natural performer; dance background; knows how to put on a show; she's an artist
Needs to work on:
Keeping it together. The singer has a tendency to stress out and break down during rehearsals and after performances when things get too tough and/or she's not pleased with herself. "I think Nicole is a perfectionist too, but she's a girl and girl perfectionists are a little different," Trebunskaya tells TVGuide.com. "Besides being one and putting pressure on ourselves, we're also emotional, so that becomes a real powerful concoction. Blame it on hormones! But it's true. ... Nicole cares so much about the end product that sometimes she puts too much pressure on herself. Hopefully she can relax and take it one step at a time."Why she might win:
Scherzinger is arguably the best dancer left — her scores speak for themselves — and she has a solid Pussycat Dolls following. But can she overcome the "ringer" talk?Keep an eye out for:
A comeback rumba. Lest we forget, their first, nerve-ridden rumba was the source of the singer's tear-filled meltdown. "I probably put the most pressure on myself. I wanted that [rumba] to be perfect and it wasn't," Scherzinger says. "It's hard because I do get really hard on myself and I care so much, but I can't forget to just enjoy this too ... so that's what I've learned and you have to come back stronger and move forward and improve."
Dancing's Anna Trebunskaya: Evan's WALL-E voice may get us into final
For: Top-notch technician; perfect blend of athleticism and elegance; can perform under pressure; impeccable WALL-E impression
Needs to work on: Unlike reigning champ, Donny Osmond, Lysacek is not exactly Mr. Personality — that's not to say he doesn't have one, just that he doesn't show it, especially in his routines. But he made major strides the past week with his fun-loving foxtrot and intense paso doble (which snagged a 30). "The performance level that is expected out of everyone now is very high, so we have to find things that bring the personality out of Evan," Trebunskaya says. "It's a departure for him because in skating, he doesn't have to show so many ranges of emotions and be so many characters, but it's really kind of the last piece of the puzzle for us now because I know he can master the technique."
Why he might win: History's on his side: Olympic gold medalists are undefeated in Dancing finals (3-0). "I like pressure," Lysacek says. "I'm not really thinking about [the Olympic streak] that much. I'm just working hard and [am] trying to do my best. That's always my philosophy: 'I may not be the best, but I'll work the hardest.'"
Keep an eye out for: An appearance by Lysacek's baby nephew Mason perhaps? Just watching a video of the little guy helped the Olympic champ get into his routine characters last week. Imagine what having him there in person would do.
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For: Underdog status; best "improved" arc; killer legs
Needs to work on: More refined routines. The ESPN reporter has come a long way from the gangly, awkward dancer she was at the beginning, but nerves still mar Andrews' routines, and she is the only finalist who has yet to earn a perfect score.
Why she might win: Who doesn't like an underdog? "We are still a dark horse," Chmerkovksiy writes in his TVGuide.com blog. "Results-wise, Nicole and Evan are both ahead of us if you combine points for the season or average them out. Evan has a humongous fan base and Nicole has an amazing following as well. We're not counting ourselves out, but we're probably the ones who will have the most fun out there because we have no pressure."
Keep an eye out for: A different type of freestyle. Chmerkovskiy cryptically writes that the pair's freestyle will be distinct from the other couples'. "They're going for something fast, and we're not — but that doesn't meant we're going slow either," he teases. "Just tune in and watch."
Who do you think will win Dancing?