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'Dancing With the Stars' twirls to a close

Nicole Scherzinger and her partner, Derek Hough, have impressed this season on Dancing With the Stars. The season finale is at 9 p.m. Tuesday on ABC.

ABC

Nicole Scherzinger and her partner, Derek Hough, have impressed this season on Dancing With the Stars. The season finale is at 9 p.m. Tuesday on ABC.

The hideous costumes. The suggestive poses. The spray-on tans. Is it any wonder we love Dancing With the Stars — the cheesiest show on television?

But now we're getting down to serious business. All the pretenders are gone (How we miss you, Pamela Anderson) and the three prime contenders are ready to go toe-to-toe for the title.

By the end of Tuesday night's excruciatingly bloated finale (9 p.m., ABC) one lucky pair of happy hoofers will hoist that clunky glitter ball trophy, treating it like the crown jewels instead of the flea-market reject it appears to be.

With that in mind, it's time to size up the remaining contestants:

Nicole Scherzinger (with Derek Hough)

Season highlight: The "sexylicious" Pussycat Doll's 1950s-style paso doble was a thing of perfection.

Why she will win: Scherzinger is this season's dancing queen — the most polished contestant in the field and arguably the best the show has produced in its 10 seasons. Last week, her performance turned judge Carrie Ann Inaba into a blubbering wreck.

Why she won't: The best dancers don't always prevail (See: Donny Osmond's victory over Mya last season). Some viewers might hold Scherzinger's prolike skills against her.

Evan Lysacek (with Anna Trebunskaya)

Season highlight: The Olympic figure-skating champ produced a paso doble that was a potent blend of power and artistry.

Why he will win: Lysacek has proven he can be just as graceful on the hardwood as he is on the ice. Also, voters love their Olympians. Every time an Olympian (Kristi Yamaguchi, Apolo Ohno, Shawn Johnson) has made it to the finals, he or she has won.

Why he won't: Those hips don't lie and there are times when the lanky Lysacek has trouble corralling his.

Erin Andrews (with Maksim Chmerkovskiy)

Season highlight: The ESPN reporter hit a home run with her Argentine tango, despite her partner's lame striptease.

Why she will win: Bolstered by an incredible competitive drive, Andrews has improved by leaps and bounds since the season started. Voters appreciate a good comeback story.

Why she won't: Andrews' nerves sometimes get the best of her. Moreover, she has waged a season-long power struggle with the control freak Chmerkovskiy. Can they keep it together as the pressure builds?

The season finale airs at 8 p.m. today and 9 p.m. Tuesday on ABC.

'Dancing With the Stars' twirls to a close 05/23/10 [Last modified: Sunday, May 23, 2010 9:56pm]

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