Aly, Kellie, Jacoby, and Zendaya vie for the most coveted knob of glitter in all the land. The winners are...

By Annie Barrett
Updated May 22, 2013 at 05:51 AM EDT
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After a two-hour finale featuring performances from Wynonna Judd, Pitbull, Jessica Sanchez, and Psy (whoa…what if those were the four finalists?!), we have a winner! The proud owners of a COVETED MIRRORBALL TROPHY…. are….

Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough!

Zendaya and Val Chmerkovskiy were the runners up…. Jacoby Jones and Karina Smirnoff came in third….. Aly Raisman and Mark Ballas finished fourth.

EW.com readers overwhelmingly voted that Kellie should win, but it seemed like the rest of the cast was surprised it wasn’t Zendaya in the end. Either would have been so deserving — and my heart is SWELLING to the size of a fringed butt right now (#sparklebarf) after luxuriating in the natural high provided by those last three dances.

I can’t believe those Instant Dances always get to me so much, because on the surface they are so pointless! Everyone always gets a 30. You could fall flat on your butt/heart, or half-ass a leap due to an awkwardly placed camera (as Jacoby did), or bungle the high kick that punctuates the final note of the song (as Kellie did), and without a doubt, you are entitled to “From Len…a 10!” — which translates roughly to “The only 10 that really matters!”

But they’re brilliant! Jacoby, who was soooo over it by the final studio rehearsal, still sucked it up enough to execute an incredible behind-the-back spin/lift with his trademark energetic abandon as Andy Dick’s neon yellow bowtie bounced along with him in the front row. Karina had on this random purple belt that served no function — but if you looked at it long enough, you realized that of course, absolutely there should be an extra horizontal sparkle strip to jive against the technicolor staircase. The instant dance round always sparks up an unexpected last surge of gooey love I have for this show. And at what better time could that happen?!

The complete Dancing With the Stars viewing experience, in 6 seconds (from Vine)

I WILL NEVER NOT THINK SOMEONE IS ABOUT TO DIE BY PERFORMING THIS MOVE.

NEXT: Life Lessons from Val #WhyAmICryingKellie’s instant jive was equally lovable and insane. I keep forgetting Derek is a world-renowned gymnast! And I loved how things got a little creepy (but who cares! last dance/last chance for love!) when Bruno couldn’t stop raving about the way Kellie reminded him of Julianne, and the incredible chemistry between the Hough siblings. “Accurate precision, technique, the way you play with each other….weird and unbelievably wonderful!”

And then Zendaya’s instant jive segment reminded me of every time I’ve thought the partnership of her and Val was indeed as magical as the judges claimed. I loved how he played “reluctant to have fun” at the beginning of the dance, and how they ended it with her giving him their signature “boop” on the nose. Len, never able to stop obsessing over people’s “bits,” marveled at “all those twinkly bits” of Zendaya’s performance quality. “Spread your wings — you’re gonna fly, girl!” (This is when you knew Kellie had won.)

The tears really started flowing as soon as Zendaya took the opportunity during their final trip up to Brookebot Mountain to tell Val, “Thank you for being part of me growing up.” Aggggghhhh! But get this — she’d had a much more profound effect on him than he had on her!

“Age takes a bite out of your ambition, and your dreams,” began Val. “You get a little jaded and slowed down.” NO WAY, VAL. YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW MUCH I AGREE. “[Zendaya] inspires not only kids, but adults. She made me dream again, believe in myself again. She gives me purpose, and purpose is everything.” OMG, VAL. Thank YOU for helping me achieve my dream of finally relating on a human level to a professional dancer! Now I just need to find a 16-year-old to hang out with all the time. (Not like that.)

One last time, just because:

The Argentine Tang-bro. 2013, metallic on gem (man on man, yellow tank on blue).

NEXT: The Top 7 moments of the finale

Annie’s Top 7 (“Seh-vehhhhn!“) Moments of the Season 16 Finale

7. Hidden Gem: Sparkle explosion from that blasted Twitter box during Cheryl and Tony’s commercial break ease-in

6. Len Goodman reaching valiantly for the COVETED MIRRORBALL TROPHY during his surprise foxtrot section with the always-randy Lisa Vanderpump

Oh, and let’s call this 5.5 or Five and a Hoff:

Len’s awkward 0-1 (or 6-1?) self-scoring after the dance with Lisa — reminiscent of that one time Jimmy Connors accidentally held up an 0-1 for Martina Navritilova!

5. Jacoby’s I-don’t-give-a-crap-anymore spot-on impression of Oprah in The Color Purple (“All my life I had to fight….”) when faced with yet another “Are you surprised you made it this far?” inquiry from Brooke

4. Val’s assessment of his own 14-stiches eyebrow situation: “Still pretty.”

3. Andy and Sharna, Victor and Lindsay, and Sean and Peta mercifully breathing life into Psy’s “Gentleman” dance-along. Len barely swaying along at the top was the best.

2. Getting goosebumps at this magical Ice Queen Reunion — I loved the dramatic reveal of season 6 winner Kristi Yamaguchi, who was the inspiration for Dorothy Hamill to participate in the series. (Poor Tristan, who is still injured. Take “tree” months and get better, you!)

1. “Carrie Ann gave us a 5. That BITCH!” –Andy Dick

*

Happy with the results? Discuss!

In the meantime, EW.com’s Hidden Gems of the Season 16 Finals await your expert appraisal….

‘Til autumn, y’all! Thank you as always for reading!

XOXO,

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