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'Dancing' judge Carrie Ann: 'I didn't know (Skarlatos) is such a dude'

LOS ANGELES - The countdown to the Mirror Ball trophy is on.


Three finalists remain on ABCs "Dancing with the Stars": Nick Carter, Bindi Irwin, whose mom is from Eugene, and Oregon's own National Guard hero, Alek Skarlatos.


The finale brings a whole new level of energy for all the crews working to pull the show off.


And the three remaining couples have had an insane 24 hours. They've had to learn two dance styles, fused into one, for the finale. Plus, they will perform other dances we've seen this season.


Judge Carrie Ann Inaba told KATU she's just really taken with Alek and what he's brought to this competition.


"I am a fan of the way he moves. I know it's not the most stylized and it's not exotic, but it's clear and concise, and it's powerful and it has integrity," she said. "He's in the finals. I love that he took it seriously. And I love that he and Lindsay, their partnership is really something spectacular. ...


"I didn't know he's such a dude. Like he's such a dude from home," Inaba said. "I felt like I was in college at a frat party, or something. It was refreshing to see and it made me appreciate him that much more because he really has made an incredible journey to be where he is today. He's in the finals."


Just three months ago, Alek helped stop a terrorist attack aboard a Paris-bound train.


Alek said he owes it all to Lindsay. He said she's more like a sister after all the time they've spent together.


After tonight's show KATU's Jackie Labrecque will be able to speak to the dancers inside the ballroom. She'll have a full wrap-up tonight on KATU News at 11.


You can catch the season finale of "Dancing with the Stars" starting at 9 tonight on KATU.

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