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DWTS' Karina Smirnoff gives us the 411 on tonight's finale

A native of the storied coastal city of Charleston, South Carolina, Julie Sprankles has been a lover of words her entire life. As a Southerner, she certainly has what her mama calls “the gift of gab.” When she’s not writing, Julie can be...

The battle for the mirror ball is on!

After 10 long weeks of duking it out on the dance floor, the last four contestants of Dancing with the Stars are poised to compete in tonight's finale for top honors. Guest blogger and DWTS pro Karina Smirnoff gives us the ultimate scoop on her and Jacoby's final bid for mirror ball glory.

Dancing with the Stars' Karina SmirnoffSheKnows: You made it to tonight’s finale! How nervous are you?

Karina Smirnoff: I think we are ready to kill it — we have that fire. It’s our last fight, and we want it to be our best one. In terms of being nervous and anxious, I think I keep going back and forth from “Oh my gosh, it’s tonight” to “Oh my gosh, what am I going to do?” and then I’m like, “You know, we’ve done everything we could do at this point, so let’s sit back and enjoy the process — enjoy the fact that we are in the finals and that we are fighting for the trophy.” And then once I accept that, it’s like, “Ahhhhh!” (laughs) It’s exciting!

SK: Y’all will be competing with Aly, Kellie and Zendaya... is Jacoby enjoying being the last man standing, celeb-wise?

KS: Yeah! It’s crazy how we have three women in the final again, like last season. I think for us it’s extra special, because women tend to do better on Dancing with the Stars. There are more female winners — it’s not by a lot, but there’s still more women who have made it to the finals overall and have won as opposed to men, you know? So we’re excited to be in that position. And girls are girls, but those girls got moves… so we are going there to fight!

SK: Obviously tonight is a huge night, and you guys have to do a slew of dances! The first dance is a repeat style chosen by the judges, right?

KS: Yes — for us, it’s the jive. We have a total, I think, of five or six dances. We have the judges’ pick, we have the supersized freestyle, we have the Instant Dance Challenge — for that we’ll be dancing salsa, but we won’t be getting our music until 30 minutes before we dance! So we had to come up with sections that we’ll just have to put onto the new song. Then we have the cha cha relay, where we all have to take a quarter of the song. We also have the all-pro girls’ numbers and we have the opening number. Those are the dances I know we are dancing for sure! Well, actually, no — only the top three places will be dancing in the Instant Dance Challenge on Tuesday. Whoever the first couple to go is won’t get to do that.

SK: Jacoby joked last week after your Lindy Hop that he was “half dead.” How are you going to keep his energy up tonight with so much more dancing?

KS: I’ve done everything — I even gave him a quiet hour. I allocated a whole hour where he could go and sleep! Who knew that football players have such a short span of stamina? You’d think they’d be better than all of us put together. Strong, fast… but only in short spans of time!

SK: He probably has a newfound respect for dancers then, huh?

KS: Oh, he says we aren’t human. (laughs) He says there are athletes, there are athletic people, there are humans, and then he goes, “And then there are dancers… they’re not human!”

SK: And then you guys get to freestyle right? We want details!

KS: The freestyle is that fun dance you were looking forward to the whole season, and it’s almost like a treat to be able to do it. We’ve done passionate, serious dances. We’ve done sad, dramatic dances. So, hopefully, the freestyle is the ultimate party that gets us closer to the mirror ball. And who Jacoby is and where he comes from and what he is about — growing up in New Orleans and being a football player and knowing what a good show is about — I feel like we had to go that route. We had to go and celebrate everything that he is and that he learned on the show. For us, our freestyle is our party, our version of the best party of the year. I haven’t ever been this excited about my freestyle before! I don’t want to jinx it, but I’m that excited about it.

SK: Carrie Ann — who, judging from last week, has a little crush on Jacoby, ha ha — called him the No. 1 entertainer of the season. How are you using his big personality to your advantage?

KS: I agree with Carrie Ann — he is a really, really amazing entertainer. He turns it on. It’s like he entertains with every cell in his body, from head to toe. I think if I were to describe how I feel about Jacoby using two words, I admire and absolutely adore his spirit and his love for life and everything life has to offer. I think that is the essence of our freestyle. We are celebrating joy and the fact that we’ll never give up, and that we’ll fight until the end. And that we are going to raise the roof — the ceiling can’t hold us!

SK: Y’all had a huge week last week with scores — your first 10s and a total of 59 out of 60 points! Do you think you are peaking at just the right time?

KS: I do! I think we got to the point where, technically, Jacoby is doing so much better, and I think the whole journey of the season has been so amazing for Jacoby. Obviously, it’s human nature to question and to wonder, but I really — in my heart — think we’ve done the right thing at the right time, and now we just have to bring it home with the freestyle and with the remaining, like, 28 dances that we have to do! (laughs)

SK: Let’s say you make it to the Instant Dance Challenge. What’s your strategy for that moment?

KS: We’ve talked about it, and I told him, “Obviously, it has to be spot on and it still has to be an amazing dance. But you know how we started the season with our cha cha? That was our first impression. This is going to be our last impression — this is the dance we’re going to leave the show with… our season, our friends, the viewers.” I want him to have fun and remember that this is the last dance that we get to dance for our fans, so it’s not like, “Hey, let’s go and nail this final dance and win that trophy!” I don’t think it’s about that anymore. We’re just going to go and have fun, and hopefully do something fun and exciting.

SK: Well, we have so enjoyed this journey with you guys... hopefully we’ll be chatting with you next week as DWTS’ Season 16 champs!

KS: Thank you! I’ve got my fingers crossed. And thank you for being with me throughout this season. I know we cover a lot of stuff from relationships to what’s happening and everything else, but I think that’s what the show is about — it’s got a lot of life in it. I just want to thank everyone for being a part of “our team,” for voting for us, for loving and supporting the show. I can say I am one of the few lucky ones who truly love to do what I do. Hopefully it’s all going to end with a shiny, polished mirror ball trophy! (laughs)

Don't forget to vote!

You can vote for Karina and Jacoby four different ways: toll-free phone calls to 800-868-3412, texting VOTE 3412 to the toll-free number (AT&T customers only), online at ABC.com or online via Facebook at facebook.com/dancingwiththestars. Don't stop at just one of the ways... cast your vote by phone, text, at ABC.com and on Facebook. Now, go get your vote on!

More on Karina & Jacoby

Fun facts about Dancing with the Stars' final four
Wardrobe malfunction? Injury? DWTS' Karina Smirnoff dishes
DWTS' Karina Smirnoff on sharing Jacoby with Cheryl Burke

Image courtesy of Volker Fleck
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