Let’s hear it for the girls! For the first time in Dancing With the Stars history, all three finalists are ladies. Granted, they all have hot men on their arms, but the women are the stars.

The three couples entering next week’s All-Stars Week 10 Finals are Shawn Johnson (Season 8 winner) and Derek Hough; Melissa Rycroft (Season 8 third-placer) and Tony Dovolani; and Kelly Monaco (Season 1 winner) and Val Chmerkovskiy. We’ll get to see their special “Super-Sized Freestyles” on Monday, and one of them will win the Mirror Ball trophy on Tuesday. So … so much for a relaxing Thanksgiving! It’s back to work for these teams.

But that also means we had to say goodbye to two couples: Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff, and Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke. Why them? Apolo and Karina ended up in the middle of the score pack. Their first dance, the Big Top Jazz was OK but not really a wowzer. Their Rumba got a perfect score from the judges, but they didn’t end the night with big buzz. They weren’t top of the leaderboard like Shawn, and there was no “I’m the only one who has yet to win” story, like Melissa’s.

Why did Emmitt and Cheryl leave? They had the lowest scores, along with Kelly and Val, but only five points separated the top and bottom of the judges’ leaderboard, so the scores probably weren’t as big an issue as they were last week. Team Vally fans were furious at what they felt were unfair scores, especially that 8 from Carrie Ann Inaba and still no 10s even entering the Finals. Emmitt’s dances didn’t have that kind of polarizing passion. They were both OK but not that memorable, comparatively. Besides, Emmitt and Cheryl have already won — they are the only All-Stars couple who previously won together — and a lot of fans have taken to the new, sexy chemistry between Kelly and Val. They are very watchable.

Who is your pick to win next week: Shawn, Melissa or Kelly?

APOLO’S PARTING WORDS
The first boot came down to Melissa vs. Apolo, and the Season 4 champion was eliminated. How difficult is it going home tonight, just a week shy of the finals? “This competition was hard from the beginning,” Apolo said. “Karina’s a champion. I’ve learned so much about her. She’s taught me so much about myself. This show is amazing for far beyond what the Mirror Ball trophy has in store for people. Every single person who does this show is a champion. It forces you to become a champion in your own right. It forces you to become more confident, stronger, and it’s been a blessing. Every single week the fans have been so amazing.”

EMMITT’S PARTING WORDS
The second boot came down to Kelly vs. Emmitt, and the Season 3 champ was eliminated. What has the second time around meant to him? “It’s been a tremendous experience, it’s been a great ride. Cheryl’s been a tremendous partner. She’s pushed me to another level. Season 3 was something else, but this right here takes it over the top. All these contestants here they have pushed me to another level. I’m serious. I have great appreciation for the show.”

Emmitt & Cheryl talk to On the Red Carpet about their elimination:

Credit: OTRC Photo: Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke Say Goodbye to DWTS All-Stars (VIDEO)

Apolo & Karina talk to On the Red Carpet about their elimination:

Credit: OTRC Photo: Apolo Ohno and Karina Smirnoff Say Goodbye to DWTS All-Stars (VIDEO)

Dancing With the Stars airs Mondays and Tuesdays on ABC.

Gina Carbone is a contributing writer at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @ginacarbone.

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