It's odd to imagine what sort of contest could pit a female wrestler, an NFL legend and a former boy-band singer against each other. Odder still, when that competition takes place on a dance floor.
But each week, 18 million television viewers tune in to "Dancing With the Stars" to watch celebrities spin, dip and sometimes trip their way through sambas, rumbas and tangos with the help of professional dance partners.
Ten pairs of dancers kicked off the show's second season. Each couple's standing hinges not only on the scores they receive from the show's three judges, but also on viewers who call in to vote for their favorite couple. At the end of each show, a couple is voted off the dance floor in classic reality-TV style.
After Thursday night's semifinal, three pairs were left standing. The winning couple will be revealed in the season finale Sunday night.
The Legs May Have 'It'
This season's "it girl" is Stacy Keibler, a wrestler for World Wrestling Entertainment who stands 5 feet 11 inches and has dazzled viewers and judges with her legs.
"They are 41-and-a-half-inches long! I guess I have my parents to thank for that," she said.
At 26, Keibler's also got youth and years of dance lessons on her side. She was also a cheerleader for the NFL's Baltimore Ravens. But her leggy talent lagged a bit in the judges' eyes in Thursday night's final. She and her partner, Tony Dovolani, ranked second in the panel's scoring.
Football legend Jerry Rice, honored at this year's Super Bowl, has proved himself the unflappable underdog who has shocked many by making it to the finals with his partner, Anna Trebunskaya.
"If you have a chance, that's all you want. And I feel we have a chance," Rice said.
Rice's best chance to add a dance trophy to his cabinet of football trophies may rest with the viewers. Despite his low scores from the judges, he's been a fan favorite through the season. He and Trebunskaya will need strong support from their fans to overcome their last-place finish in the judges' scoring.
Drew Lachey, brother of Nick and former member of 98 Degrees, has also been a fierce competitor this season.
"I want to win hands-down. It's all I'm focused on right now," he said.
And Lachey's focus clearly paid off. He and partner Cheryl Burke received a perfect score of 30 for their paso doble dance and another 30 for their freestyle dance to the tune of "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy."
The show's executive producer, Conrad Green, knew about the success of the original British version of the show, "Strictly Come Dancing," but he was blown away by how quickly it caught on in America, he told "20/20's" Deborah Roberts.
"People love to see partners dancing. What's interesting is as soon as the celebrities get out there on the dance floor, they get fixated by it. Their professional pride kicks in," Green said.
"Before you know it, they are training 40 hours a week and absolutely obsessed," he added.
Lisa Rinna, a 42-year-old mom and actress, said she handed over the household reins to her husband, actor Harry Hamlin, after just a few weeks of trying to juggle her life, career and the competition. But Rinna's got one less thing to juggle now.
Last week's show brought an upset: Rinna got the ax after weeks of winning raves from the judges. Despite her strong scoring with the judges, the votes from her fans were apparently no match for the viewers who called in to vote for Rice.
Lachey, who has danced on Broadway, also found the rehearsals surprisingly grueling.
"I thought it would be a couple of days a week, a couple of hours' worth of rehearsal, and then you go and do the show. … It's been seven days a week -- a minimum of four hours of rehearsal a day," he said.
Some of the competitors are quick to point out that Keibler's dance experience gives her an advantage in the competition. But Keibler insists that moving and swaying with a dance partner is far tougher than the routines she used to perform.
"We're all waking up in the middle of the night and thinking about the dances. And even Jerry Rice came up to me. He's like, "Are you like thinking about the jive at 4 in the morning?' I'm like I know. We're having nightmares about this stuff," she said.
Amid the frenzy, there is still camaraderie between the competitors.
Host Tom Bergeron admits the dancers' personal appeal to viewers is nearly as important as their footwork.
"It's half dance contest, half popularity contest. If it was all dance, it would be on PBS," he said.
That's why each of the dance teams pleads with its fans to vote. On Sunday night, we'll learn who rallied enough public support to bring home this season's trophy.