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Ricki Lake eliminated from 'Dancing' during finale

The Associated Press, Tuesday, November 22, 2011, 6:54pm (PST)

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Ricki Lake fell one dance short of the mirrorball trophy on "Dancing With the Stars."

The 43-year-old TV personality was eliminated from the competition Tuesday during the show's season finale.

Reality star Rob Kardashian and actor and Iraq war veteran J.R. Martinez are still vying for the championship. Each will perform one final routine.

The three finalists each reprised their favorite dance of the season Tuesday to add to their judges' points. Judges' scores are combined with viewer votes to determine who is eliminated each week.

A new "Dancing" champ will be named at the end of Tuesday's episode.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

No one has the mirrorball in the bag.

The glittery "Dancing With the Stars" trophy will be awarded during Tuesday's season finale, and any one of the three finalists — Rob Kardashian, Ricki Lake and J.R. Martinez — could easily waltz away with it.

Kardashian, 24, comes into the final episode in first place. The reality star has shown steady development throughout the season, and he and professional partner Cheryl Burke dazzled on the penultimate dance-off with an elegant waltz and a rip-roaring, swing-inspired freestyle routine that judges rewarded with a perfect score.

"I couldn't have asked for a better ending of the season," Kardashian said Monday. "We got our first perfect score. We're in first place. We did it with the most crucial dance, which is the freestyle. It's just surreal and I still can't even believe it."

Lake and Martinez, who have each topped the judges' leaderboard throughout the 10-week competition, are tied for second place.

Lake said she's pleased with what she's accomplished on the show, regardless of the final outcome. She earned high scores all season, dropped more than 25 pounds and performed some impressive dance moves.

"I've come way further than I ever thought or anyone else thought, so, I don't expect to win," the 43-year-old TV personality said. "I'm just happy to be among these two other guys. J.R. and Rob really have proven themselves. They're amazing people and I'm just happy to be one of them."

Lake's professional partner, Derek Hough, said they've had "a winning season."

"I feel like we can walk away (Tuesday), win or lose, and say, `Yeah, we won,'" he said.

Martinez and partner Karina Smirnoff are happy about the tricky stunts they pulled off in their freestyle routine — which earned a perfect score — but they'll be even happier if they win the trophy Tuesday.

"I think we have a great shot at it," said Martinez, 28, an actor and Iraq war veteran. "It would be an amazing thing. It'd be her first mirrorball trophy, which she deserves, and it would be my first, of course. We both want to win it for each other."

Smirnoff, who has been on the hit ABC show for 10 seasons, said taking the title would be like "a perfect ending to a perfect story."

"With everything we went through... it's like this mirrorball would justify everything," she said. "No matter what happens, I feel like it has been such a fulfilling experience overall. But the mirrorball trophy would make it that much better. It's the truth."

The three couples will perform their favorite dance of the season for another score from the judges before the third-place finalists are eliminated. The remaining two pairs will compete in one final routine for the season 13 title.

Viewer votes count for half of each contestant's overall score, but the last chance to cast votes was Monday.

The two-hour season finale is also set to feature music by Lady Antebellum and is expected to include appearances by this season's former contestants: TV personalities Nancy Grace and Carson Kressley, reality star Kristin Cavallari, actors David Arquette and Elisabetta Canalis, singer Chynna Phillips, activist Chaz Bono, basketball player Metta World Peace and soccer star Hope Solo.

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ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co.

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Online:

http://abc.go.com/shows/dancing-with-the-stars

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AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/APSandy.

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