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Who will compete in 'DWTS' finale, and what's behind its popularity?

The final three pairs will face off on the 'Dancing with the Stars' season finale, airing Nov. 22.

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    'Dancing With the Stars' host Tom Bergeron (l.) appears on the program with contestants Laurie Hernandez (center) and Val Chmerkovskiy.
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“Dancing With the Stars” celebrity contestant Jana Kramer and dancer Gleb Savchenko were eliminated from the long-running reality program just before the show's twenty-third season finale.

Ms. Kramer, who starred on the WB TV show “One Tree Hill” and has released albums including 2015’s “Thirty One,” was taken off the show after performing a tango and a freestyle routine with Mr. Savchenko.

The remaining contestants are Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez and her dance partner, Val Chmerkovskiy; James Hinchcliffe, a race car driver, and his partner, Sharna Burgess; and Detroit Lions player Calvin Johnson Jr. and his partner, Lindsay Arnold. 

The season finale will air on Nov. 22. 

The long-running ABC reality program hasn’t been on TV as long as some viewers might surmise – “Dancing” has achieved 23 seasons by usually airing two seasons a year, one during the fall and one during the spring. 

However, the program still performs fairly well for its network, placing eighth for total viewers for the 2015-2016 TV season, thanks to older viewers. Among viewers under 50, it ranks 42nd.

What keeps viewers returning to this show season after season? 

New York Times writer Gia Kourlas noted in 2010 that the program required its contestants to buckle down. “Dancing on television clearly isn’t about career resuscitation; it’s more about self-improvement,” Ms. Kourlas wrote. “Dancing is work.” 

Meanwhile, Nancy Berk of Parade wrote last year that the wide range of contestants and what they are famous for brings in many different kinds of viewers. “What demographic haven’t they hit when contestants include music icons, beloved sports figures, good-natured celebrities with minimal dancing talent, and boomer stars put up against some of the most graceful athletes on the planet?” Ms. Berk wrote.

“And acknowledging the celebrity status of those who have served our country and those who have endured physical challenges is an important message that viewers respect … ‘DWTS’ offers a cross-generational family-friendly program that is rarely found on primetime.”

 
 
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