From left: Shawn Johnson, Kelly Monaco and Melissa Rycroft
Craig Sjodin/ABC (3)
11/21/2012 at 12:00 PM EST
Let's hear it for the girls!
For the first time, Dancing with the Stars
will showcase an all-female finale, with Shawn Johnson, Melissa Rycroft and Kelly Monaco competing for the mirror-ball trophy on Monday to complete the all-star season.
"Unbelievable," says Rycroft, who finished third on season 8. "The three of us are standing up on that stage going: 'We beat all the boys!' How really does that happen?"
And while the spotlight will be on the women, for one man – her pro partner Tony Dovolani – the finals are particularly important. In 14 seasons, he's only made it twice, getting no higher than third, first in season 2 with Stacy Keibler in 2006, then with Rycroft in 2009.
"For me, winning the trophy would be everything," he says.
The women, who reached the finals
last Tuesday after Apolo Ohno and Emmitt Smith were sent home, are vying in a race that features two former champs.
Johnson, who won in season 8, says she's "so excited" to go for the trophy again, while Monaco, the show's first winner back in 2005, is ready for battle. She notes she's one of five girls in her family and "can step in the ring" with anyone.
"I embrace girl power!" she says. "So I think it's awesome. I'm honored to be up there with two amazing women."