The dramatic music soared and tension increased as the finalists stood, waiting for the decision of who would be the champion of Season 16 of "Dancing With the Stars." The final two pairs were so close in the scoring during the last dances that only a single point separated them. Host Tom Bergeron read out each of their names -- Kellie and Derek, Zendaya and Val -- as the four took deep breaths and closed their eyes. One more moment of waiting and then, "The winners are ... Kellie and Derek!"

Country singer and "American Idol" contestant Kellie Pickler, with the help of pro partner Derek Hough, has transformed into a championship dancer, and she has the tacky but terrific Mirrorball Trophy to prove it. She was so shocked, all she could do was jump for joy, as her husband, grandfather and the rest of her family celebrated. "Grampa, we got you the trophy, buddy," yelled Derek to the man who, with his late wife, raised Kellie.

For the finals, four couples battled it out through a series of dances. The fourth-place couple after last night's voting was announced in the first hour and it was -- OMG! -- Aly Raisman and Mark Ballas, a pair that many gave a good chance of taking the top prize. Aly was gracious and generous in her final remarks, and the studio audience gave her a standing ovation.

Jacoby Jones and Karina Smirnoff, along with the other finalists, then performed "instant dances" where they knew the dance but not the music until minutes earlier. All three dances -- the salsa for Jacoby and Karina, and the jive for both Zendaya and Val Chmerkovskiy, and Kellie and Derek -- were given perfect scores by the judges, who praised each celebrity after their dance.

Finally, Jacoby and Karina were announced as being in third place. Jacoby's comments were typically him: "Out of all my trainers, I never had a woman push me like she has. When I go back (to football), I'll have gracefulness, footwork and catch balls like this (as he did a dance extension of his arms)." And the video was of outtakes and jokes that he made during the season.

The finale was filled with guest performances by Pitbull, Wynonna (showing that this is what she does), PSY with celebs Andy Dick, Sean Lowe and Victor Ortiz part of his backup dancers, and Jessica Sanchez. As each contestant eliminated during the season performed, the sweetest moment came when it was Dorothy Hamill's turn. She danced the Viennese waltz with Henry Byalikov of the DWTS Troupe because pro Tristan MacManus was unable to perform, and halfway through, she was joined by fellow figure skater and previous DWTS champ, Kristi Yamaguchi, dancing with another Troupe member. As they danced perfectly in sync, there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

There were recaps galore of all the earlier weeks of competition, highlighting two or three celebs at a time. The Encore Dance, decided last night by Twitter votes, was Kellie and Derek's freestyle, which probably should have given me a tip to who was going to win.

It was an exciting end to what I thought was a terrific season. Of the 12 celebrities in the competition, there were some that were doubtful if they could dance, at all. Most of them tried their best, and I think that is the redeeming quality of this program -- showing singers, actors, comedians and sports stars as they are off the stage and off the field, and faced with doing something that is not what they do well. Of course, the show is over the top, but that is its charm, and I hope the reduction to one show a week in the fall doesn't change it too much.

Congratulations to Kellie and Derek on a well-deserved win, and to Zendaya and Val on making it such a tight race. With so much talent, it could have gone either way.

See you in September.