DWTS judges

Wow -- can you believe that next week is the finals of Dancing With the Stars? Where the heck did this season go? It's been a pretty entertaining ride the whole way through, and tonight's Michael Jackson tribute dances were no exception.

Yeah, yeah, the weird yet impressive combo dances on the first half of tonight's show were kind of cool to watch -- especially Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani's "Caveman Hustle", and Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough's "Knight Rider Bhangra" (but does anyone really know what a bhangra is?).

But the other three couples seemed somewhat awkward and displaced during their combos, and other than seeing Val in a speedo, there really wasn't much to get excited about as far as Apolo Ohno, Emmitt Smith, and Kelly Monaco were concerned.

The Michael Jackson performances, however, may have altered the competition entirely.

OMG. Were you freaking out during Melissa and Tony's Argentine tango to "Dirty Diana"? How did they manage to make all of those lifts look so effortless? With two perfect 10's tonight, it will be an absolute shock if they don't wind up with a spot in the finals. And honestly, it will also be very unfair if they don't make it.

It's pretty obvious that Shawn was probably already guaranteed a shot at the mirror ball trophy next week, and her Argentine tango with Derek to "Bad" didn't disappoint. But I can't lie -- I don't think she was quite as good as Melissa this time around. (She might not win, you guys!)

That brings us to Apolo, who literally slipped up big time during his "Big Top Jazz" performance with Karina -- but managed to redeem himself with a sensual rumba set to "Man in the Mirror." Um -- why didn't he turn up the heat like that during the rest of the season?

And then there's Emmitt -- who is just so darn sweet you can't help but root for him. His tango with Cheryl was great, and throwing that bit in about how bad his kids want to come to L.A. for the final may even help score him a few more votes. (Brilliant move.)

Last but not least, Kelly and Val delivered a rumba to remember -- and how fitting was their Michael Jackson song "I Just Can't Stop Loving You"? I don't know why they don't just go ahead and jump each other's bones and get it over with. (Yeah, you're right. They probably already have.)

After last week, I basically called Shawn Johnson as the winner, but Michael Jackson changed all that tonight. I'm honestly not positive who is going to win, and I'm not even sure that I have a favorite at this point considering how impressive they all are.

Who do you think will wind up in the finals next week?

 

Image via ABC