November 20, 2012 6:08pm PT by Michael O'Connell
'Dancing With the Stars' Names Final 3 All-Stars
Dancing With the Stars crowns its ultimate All-Star next Tuesday, but before fans get the chance to vote for the most-distinguished alum, two more couples had to go.
The series' third double elimination this season quickly spared its top scorers, Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough. The duo got the green light at the top of the hour. That left the first of two tense showdowns to Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani and Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff.
PHOTOS: The Cast of 'Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars'
Each ended Monday night with relatively even scores -- they were only separated by half a point -- but Rycroft suffered the possible disadvantage of being the only remaining All-Star who didn't win her season.
Fortunately for her, it didn't hurt her at all. This season's "underdog" joins Johnson in the finale.
After the Paula Abdul medley, featuring the promised MC Skat Kat cameo and a lot of lying on the floor, the final two couples walked down the steps to find out who secured the last available spot in the finale.
Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke had the advantage of being one of the All-Star season's few reunited original pairings, while Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy boasted the distinction of having the series' first-ever winner and Monaco's much-praised improvement.
So after some tense filler, Smith, one of the series' most favored champs, went home. That paves the way for an exclusively female finale that puts two former winners against a second runner-up.