Nyle DiMarco, Ginger Zee, Paige VanZant: Everything You Need to Know About Dancing with the Stars' Final 3
Dancing with the Stars airs Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC
And then there were three.
Over the past nine weeks, these contestants and their talented partners have overcome everything from injuries to last-minute routine changes.
To help your prepare for season 22’s two-part finale, here’s everything you need to know about the final three.
1. He is DWTS‘s first completely deaf contestant.
Following in the footsteps of season 6 competitor Marlee Matlin, who has partial hearing, DiMarco was the first deaf contestant and winner of America’s Next Top Model. He is one of 25 deaf people in his family. “I’ve never wanted to hear,” the 27-year-old model and activist recently told PEOPLE.
2. He almost became a teacher.
DiMarco majored in mathematics when he attended Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., and he intended on becoming a teacher because he believed “all deaf children should have exposure to deaf educators.” Then he caught the eye of ANTM creator and host Tyra Banks and booked his recurring role on Freeform’s Switched at Birth, which changed everything. To help other deaf youth, DiMarco created the Nyle DiMarco Foundation.
3. He almost didn’t accept the DWTS offer.
DiMarco had never danced before joining the ABC competition, so he was hesitant for fear that he would “screw up” during the first week and send the message that deaf people can’t dance. “I’m surprising myself that I actually can dance,” said DiMarco, who received a perfect score for his blind performance with partner Peta Murgatroyd, in his PEOPLE vlog.
1. She is an accomplished UFC fighter.
VanZant started training in 2009 after attending a class with her father, who is a UFC and MMA fan. The 22-year-old – whose professional record is 6-2 – is the second youngest female fighter currently in the UFC.
2. She and partner Mark Ballas hit a few bumps on their way to the finale.
In the second week of the dance competition, Ballas injured himself in rehearsal a day before a live show. Then the duo had to scrap their routine midway through the week leading up to Famous Dances Night because the show couldn’t obtain the necessary rights.
3. She was severely bullied in school.
VanZant’s high school memories are rather painful because she used to be bullied. After VanZant made the varsity cheerleading team as a freshman, upperclassmen who didn’t make it started calling her names and throwing trash at her. “There were so many days I just wanted to give up,” she told PEOPLE.
1. She might not be able to perform in Monday night’s finale.
The Good Morning America meteorologist, 35, injured her pelvis during rehearsal last week and is currently suffering from back spasms. She won’t know until Monday whether or not she’ll actually be able to perform during the finale. It will be shame if she can’t perform because she and partner Val Chmerkovskiy were planning to pay homage to legendary film dance duo Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.
2. Zee has been juggling DWTS, her daytime job at GMA and being a new mother.
Zee is a busy woman. In addition to competing on DWTS, Zee anchors weather on GMA and is also a new mom! She and her husband Ben Aaron, an NBC News correspondent, welcomed their first son Adrian Benjamin in December. Zee has been commuting back and forth between Los Angeles and New York.
3. She has battled an eating disorder.
The new mother recently opened up about her battle with anorexia. She told PEOPLE that she decided to share her story because she knows that a lot of people suffer from it and hopes “this will get the conversation going in the family.” Zee recently told PEOPLE that she is really happy with her body after giving birth.
Dancing with the Stars‘ finale begins Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC and concludes Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET.