It all comes down to this, doesn’t it? After weeks and week (and weeks) of Dancing with the Stars competition, we’re at the finales with the last three celebrities standing. And our participation in the has come to an end — the votes are cast.

So who will win?

Quite frankly, last night’s finale performances lived exactly up to expectations. Chelsea and Mark went a little bit crazy to garner nearly perfect scores, while Hines and Kym went a more traditional route for exactly the same number of points. Kirstie again showed that she had earned her finale spot by giving it her all.

But what will that mean when combined with votes? Personally, I think it means Hines is going to win.

The Case for a Hines Ward Win

First of all, let’s get the case of Kirstie Alley out of the way. I won’t deny that she has a chance, thanks to huge fan support for her very good dancing. But she doesn’t deserve the Mirror Ball on the basis of dancing alone. Both Hines and Chelsea have outperformed Kirstie in almost every week of the competition.

Which brings us to Chelsea. If this were a competition based solely on dance ability, Chelsea would be a serious contender. I can’t help but think she’s been the best dancer of the season, if not always the most crowd-pleasing.

But it’s not just a dance competition. Popularity has a huge effect, and Chelsea doesn’t have it. She lacks the charisma to overcome the fact that no one had ever heard of her before Dancing with the Stars. The girl may be likable, but we don’t automatically love her. It’s going to be hard for Chelsea to get enough votes to take the lead.

So it’s Hines. In terms of mixing popularity and skill, he’s the obvious winner. Sports fans knew who he was ahead of time — and those of us who know nothing about football easily picked up “Superbowl MVP” as an identifier. Even if you hate football, it’s pretty hard to hate Hines Ward. The guy is always smiling! You know, except for when he’s getting teary about hurting his partner or remembering his mother’s sacrifices.

Plus, he can dance. Possibly because of his athleticism, Hines makes every dance seem almost effortless. These dances are apparently quite hard, so that’s an achievement in itself.

Click here for more opinions (from TVSquad) on the Dancing with the Stars winner.

Is there a chance that Hines might not win? Definitely. The scores are so close that voter response will decide the victor. A sudden groundswell in favor of Chelsea could propel her into the lead. Kirstie’s fans could rally for an upset.

But the smart money is on Hines.

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Who do you think will win? Who will make the final two? If you could pick any star this season to get the Mirror Ball, who would it be? Tell us your opinion below!

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Laurel Brown

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Laurel grew up in Mamaroneck, NY, Grosse Pointe, MI and Bellevue WA. She then went on to live in places like Boston, Tucson, Houston, Wales, Tanzania, Prince Edward Island and New York City before heading back to Seattle. Ever since early childhood, when she became addicted to The Muppet Show, Laurel has watched far too much TV. Current favorites include ChuckModern FamilySupernaturalMad Men and Community. Laurel received a BA in Astrophysics (yes, that is possible) from Colgate University and a PhD in Middle Eastern Studies and History of Science from Columbia University before she realized that television is much better than studying.