Helio Castroneves and Julianne Hough by Carol Kaelson/ABC
I don't know about you, but I got my wish Tuesday night. Boiled down to three words: Anyone. But. Marie. Seriously folks, if Dancing with the Stars' trophy had gone to Marie Osmond the underdog - or rather, underdoll, as I like to think of her after Monday's bizarre freestyle nondance that would have been better suited for the Island of Misfit Toys - I might even have joined the legions of disgruntled fans who tend to declare "I'm never watching again" after each cycle when their favorite doesn't win.

And then, of course, they return the following season, because once hooked on this deliriously entertaining reality contest, few can resist the spectacle of watching B-list celebs put on their dancing shoes with varying degrees of nerve, style and success. New stars tend to emerge from this process, and few have blazed with such effortless charm than the eventual winner, Helio Castroneves, whom I'd bet very few outside of my Indy-500-obsessed family of otherwise lapsed Hoosiers had ever heard of before September.

What a grin. What a personality. And while not a perfect dancer, what an entertainer. Carrie Ann Inaba nailed it during Monday's harshly judged - and rightly so - finals show (a reality check after the previous week's semifinals, when the judges went overboard declaring everyone nearly flawless) when she said of Helio that he combined Melanie Brown's technical polish with Marie's undeniable entertainment factor.

Dancing with the Stars does seem to be skewed against female champs. There hasn't been one since Kelly Monaco won during the first season, and that created such an outcry there was a dance-off so John O'Hurley could share the spoils. This probably has a lot to do with the fact that the show has such a strong female following that many are likely to be voting in droves for whatever guy (Drew Lachey, Mario Lopez, Apolo Anton Ohno, Cameron Mathison, Helio) is making them swoon the most. Ultimately, Dancing with the Stars is as much a popularity contest as it is a dance competition, and while that rubs some observers the wrong way, it comes with the territory. (How else to explain, while watching the former contestants reprise their best dances in a greatest-hits parade, how relative unknown Albert Reed left before Wayne Newton, Floyd Mayweather or Mark Cuban. And don't get us started on the whole Sabrina Bryan fiasco.)

I'd be lying if I didn't admit Helio was my pick to win, though I was predicting to the very end that Mel would walk away with it. (While we're at it, we probably shouldn't underestimate the fan following of their professional partners. Helio was more than lucky to be teamed with the dynamic Julianne Hough.) Thankfully, this time around it ultimately came down to the two best dancers in what has been the most enjoyable and headline-grabbing season yet of a show that one should never take too seriously. The finale episode itself, though padded, was more enjoyable than most of its kind, with plenty of performance highlights as well as one last chance to marvel at Tom Bergeron's classy, clever mastery of the trickiest tap dance of them all: hosting live television.

Now on to Dance War, headlined by Carrie Ann and Bruno Tonioli. I think we could all use a month's break, don't you?