Apolo Anton Ohno, Karina Smirnoff, Dancing with the Stars All-Star

Craig Sjodin/ABC

And then there were three!

Melissa Rycroft, Kelly Monaco, and Shawn Johnson are the Dancing With the Stars all-stars that have made it to the finals next week. So how were Apolo Anton Ohno and Emmitt Smith handling the disappointment of knowing they came thisclose to the mirror ball trophy?

We caught up with tonight's eliminated contestants backstage:

"It was an amazing experience," Apolo said with partner Karina Smirnoff by his side. "Obviously I'm a competitor, she's a competitor, we've both been champions many times over and we always want to win, but at the end of the day we could only control how much we would give every single week and we gave our all. I can honestly say we gave our all."

Karina agreed, adding, "I think this season has probably been one of the most emotional seasons I've had on the show. From week one we had moments when we fought a little bit and it was difficult to break through that particular wall, but once we did we have grown so much closer together. I'm going to miss those moments more than the mirror ball trophy for sure!"

"I'm proud of what we've done and I feel good about what we've done," said Apolo. "Regardless of tonight I feel like we're champions."

Apolo added he is probably going to root for Shawn Johnson now: "She's like an Olympic sister."

Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke similarly had a good attitude.

"He did so great. He left everything out there," Cheryl told us. "This last week I pushed him as hard as I could. We left in a way where we did our best."

 "At the end of the day, no matter how hard you work, sometimes you fall short, but just because you fall short does not mean that you lost," Emmitt said about how he feels he is still a role model for his kids.

As for who Emmitt is putting his weight behind now that he's out?

"Take our votes and spread it amongst all three," Smith diplomatically put it. "All three are beautiful ladies. They are going to give it their all."

—Reporting by Will Marfuggi

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