Hines Ward ready to shine in 'Dancing' finals

Mon, May 23

It's a two-night finale for ABC's "Dancing with the Stars," with the early-season favorite (actress Kirstie Alley), the most consistent dancer (football player Hines Ward) and the rising star (Disney actress Chelsea Kane) all competing for the mirrorball trophy.

Alley has stumbled a few times in this 12th season but her loyal fans have kept her on the show. Ward had to deal with a bad injury to his partner, Kym Johnson, and also learned how to use his hands more while dancing. And Kane has weaved through the competition to be the most impressive star week after week.

So how will the finals play out?

"I really don't think I will do anything differently in terms of my work ethic and determination. I will continue to give each dance 100 percent and will keep taking instruction from Kym," Ward said. "She got me here through the roughest of times and I owe it all to her. This being the finale, I will try to pay extra attention to the small details to fine-tune my moves, but I will try not to overthink things."

Johnson still is a little sore from falling on her neck a few weeks ago, but she'll be just fine, Ward said.

"Kym is a warrior. She is part of the Steeler family as far as I am concerned. I mean, to come back three days after nearly breaking her neck to dance on Monday was amazing," said Ward, a 12-year wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers. "I was just thankful she was able to walk! Physically, she is hanging in there. She doesn't want to quit. She is not 100 percent, so we still can't do maybe some of the things she wanted to before she got hurt. But I know Kym, and she will make sure that our routine is solid and entertaining."

The trio of dancers will have two nights to impress the judges and wow the crowd.

"I am preparing for this finale like I would the Super Bowl. In this competition, this is my Super Bowl," said Ward, who has two titles in three appearances. "But this time I am looking for a different outcome than the one from three months ago..."