April 09, 2013 at 05:29 AM EDT

“Tears streaming down my face during Andy Dick’s Viennese waltz” was never quite what I envisioned as a little girl hoping to become a writer. But you know what? Dreams change. People change. Some sober up to redeem themselves to their families; some drink too much Project Paso to cope with the emotional tumult of reality TV recapping and end up really feeling things again. (Fringe benefits and all.)

I’d like to formally announce that this…is–sob–gulp–…The Best Year of My Life!

Will the judges please reveal their scores? Cryin’ Carrie Ann Inahhhhh-ber!

Aly Raisman and Mark Ballas: 27/30 How bizarre, that the Most Decorated gymnast from London 2012 would randomly draw contemporary out of the bedazzled hat so that her solo could be a beautifully lined tumbling pass! The story of Aly overcoming obstacles to make the Olympic team went perfectly with the dance style and song (one of the Fierce Five’s practice favorites, “Titanium”), and I loved the ring drawn on the ballroom floor by spotlights — as if to acknowledge the limited space and time of both technical gymnastics and the frame in which one can have a gymnastics career. This was definitely the most theatrically committed we’ve seen Aly, in what Len called a balance between emotion and athleticism.

Shirtless Mark choreographed this dance for Aly and his tattoos so well — I liked how even after all of those solo flips, she still struggled to rid herself of lingering burdens and then soldiered on. I wonder if Mark, clawing at her heels trying to drag her down, was intended to represent Russia’s Aliya Mustafina?

“Forget about titanium — you are going for gold, darling!” cried Bruno, who seems to have forgotten that the gold standard on DWTS is actually silver.

Zendaya Coleman and Val Chmerkovskiy: 26/30 Most of the contestants dedicated their dances to their lovers or family members, while the 16-year-old Disney star paid homage to a Beyoncé concert. That’s as it should be! 2009 was the year a sparkly diva and a talent agent changed Zendaya’s life. This samba from her and Val looked damn near professional — all I was missing was some fringe on those shimmery yet plain black pants (the Planet Mirrorballus approximation of business casual) and a bit of a deeper V on Val’s buttonless blouse. They made up for the lack of visual flash with a ton of ridiculously in-sync head-whipping and a lotta sass.

The MVP moment of the samba was definitely when “Love on Top” sort of paused in the middle, building drama for the profound BOOP! Val planted on Zendaya’s nose — appropriately, on the word “Finally.”

“You got it — oh, baby, you got it!” sang out Bruno, as Zenday stared at him like, “Wait…which Beyoncé song is that?”

NEXT: Khakis in the ballroom?!

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