The battle for the disco ball is almost over.

Kristi Yamaguchi, Jason Taylor and Cristian de la Fuente are competing for the twinkling trophy on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”

The finale, which concludes Tuesday, could be a close race because of Kristi’s perfection, Jason’s charisma and Cristian’s dramatic comeback from an arm injury.

But no matter who wins, 20 million viewers are likely to tune in both nights. And why not? The “Dancing” season has provided an escape from gas prices, the slumping economy and presidential campaign squabbles.

Doesn’t everyone deserve a few hours of bare skin and sequins a week?

Monday night, the three finalists and their pro ballroom partners were expected to do the cha-cha to a new format, a consecutive dance-off to an extended version of the same song and a freestyle routine.

On Tuesday, after the third-place couple is revealed, the remaining two couples will duke it out with one more dance – one of their favorite routines from the season. The judges’ scores from both nights, plus Monday night’s viewer votes, will determine the winner.

The special guests for Tuesday include Grammy winner Usher and the nine previously eliminated contestants from this season.

Who’s going to become the disco king or queen? Here’s a look at their pros and cons.

Kristi Yamaguchi

Also known as: The ice princess

Best dances: Her peppy jive; her romantic Viennese waltz with an umbrella prop

Pros: The Olympic champion skater is as graceful off the ice as on. Her precision made her the early favorite. But the judges have been tough on her recently.

Cons: If she wants to win, Kristi needs to thaw out and show more emotion.

Costumes: She’s usually modest and always elegant, except when they stick her in something like that Chicken Little fringed mini.

Secret weapon: She can handle more complicated choreography than her rivals.

Pro partner: Mark Ballas, who’s linked romantically to last season’s contestant Sabrina Bryan.

Jason Taylor

Also known as: The gridiron god.

Best dances: His scores were better for the waltz and quickstep, but you gotta love his paso doble to the “Monday Night Football” theme.

Pros: The Miami Dolphins defensive end cuts a dashing figure with his majestic lines. If he wasn’t so busy with football, he could have a career in ballet. Plus, he’s so handsome.

Cons: Now that his poise is predictable, he needs to step up his game on his other moves.

Costumes: Jason likes to keep it simple. He doesn’t need glitz because nobody looks better on the floor in a dark suit.

Secret weapon: His height gives his performances extra oomph.

Pro partner: Edyta Sliwinska, who stands out for her skimpy costumes and daring lifts.

Cristian de la Fuente

Also known as: The one-armed bandit.

Best dances: Any of the numbers he’s done since rupturing a tendon in his left bicep.

Pros: The charismatic actor from Chile has become a fan favorite since being injured on the show. He’s done so well with a bum arm he could steal the top spot.

Cons: Can he keep finding ways to draw attention away from his limitations?

Costumes: Thank goodness he’s still able to unbutton those brightly colored shirts that show off his abs.

Secret weapon: A very good sense of humor.

Pro partner: Cheryl Burke, a two-time “Dancing” winner and a whiz at choreography. (She figured out a way for Cristian to lift her.)


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