‘Dancing with the Stars’ Finale: The Pro Dancers Talk Strategy

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‘Dancing with the Stars’ Finale: The Pro Dancers Talk Strategy
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(Kellie Pickler)

It's that time again! The two-part season finale of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" kicks off tonight with four couples competing for the show's 16th mirrorball trophy. But with this season's sizzling hot competition (country singer Kellie Pickler, Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, Disney star Zendaya Coleman, and Super Bowl champ Jacoby Jones), it's still anybody's game as the stars dance four dances, including a cha cha relay, a freestyle, and an instant dance.

Here's what this season's final four pro dancers are saying about the "Dancing With the Stars" Season 16 finale.

On his blog for TV Guide, pro dancer Derek Hough (he's partnered with "American Idol" alum Kellie Pickler) revealed he's taking a "less is more" approach to this season's super-sized freestyle dance. "I didn't want to mask anything," he wrote. "I just wanted to show [Kellie's] ability and try to draw people in and make them feel something. It's a different approach, so I hope it stands out. The story in our freestyle is we see Kellie as who she is. We often see the bright, fun, light and sweet Kellie - and she's all those things. What you see is what you get with her. But there is a side to her that is very vulnerable and very fragile."

Pro dancer Mark Ballas (Aly Raisman's partner) dished on USA Today: "Aly's goal was to make the finals and we accomplished it. Of course, we would love to take it all the way. However, the only way to avoid cracking under pressure is just to be grateful we are here and enjoy the process… I'm looking forward to the freestyle -- it's something new and different… I want to hand in a great body of work, and I feel like we have done that.

On his Today.com blog, professional dancer Val Chmerkovskiy -- who is teamed up with 16-year-old "Shake It Up" star Zendaya Coleman -- wrote: Winning this competition is a choice. I want to win. I want to earn that trophy. I feel like there have been a lot of people who have earned it; there's been a couple that maybe haven't earned it. I think this is a pretty competitive season… There's incredible talent. But I want to earn it. I want to outwork them. I want to out-create them. So I'm just focused on that."

In an interview with "Access Hollywood," longtime "DWTS" pro Karina Smirnoff said she and her partner Jacoby Jones are ready for the finale challenge. Smirnoff said she and Jones have "a really great idea" for their freestyle: "It's going to celebrate everything Jacoby is," she said. "Where he's from, what he's about, where he grew up. How dorky and funny he is. This dance is like our biggest party of the season. And we're definitely bringing the party to the ballroom."

Meanwhile, Jones declared if he wins the mirrorball trophy, he'll add a tattoo of a mirrorball to his already heavily-inked body.

"Dancing with the Stars" two-part finale airs on Monday and Tuesday on ABC.

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