Bindi Irwin & Derek Hough Overcome Their 'Dancing With The Stars' Fears With The Help Of Each Other

On the first episode of this week’s Dancing With The Stars (it’s a two-parter!), we viewers learned all about the hometowns of our stars. For the second installation, it’s all about the Dancing With The Stars dancers, which is really nice, because how often do we viewers really get a chance to dive deep with them? Here, I thought I knew Derek Hough — brother of Julianne, best friend of Mark Ballas — but tonight, I learned about his tormented past in Utah. It turns out he was bullied as a preteen, and Derek & Bindi used tonight’s Dancing With The Stars number to connect himself to this harried time in his life.

I had known that Derek lived in England to dance when he was younger, but I didn’t know anything about his time in Utah. Neither did Bindi, who really connected to Derek’s story and vowed to do her best to help him achieve the artistic vision he had for the number. Unfortunately, Bindi was not really feeling confident in her waltz. The pre-performance reel showed her struggling with the moves quite a bit, with Bindi worrying secretly that she’d ruin Derek’s whole beautiful story of reconnection and contemplation. Do you think that she ruined it? Of course not — she’s Bindi Irwin, for Chrissake!

Bindi and Derek did a really lovely job with the whole number. It was moving, poignant, and very artful, and the judges also liked it well enough (I think they’ve been a little too harsh so far this season, but maybe it’s because it’s the beginning of the competition). Carrie Ann said that Bindi and Derek “moved as one,” and I think that’s so indicative of their connection. Some of the couples on the show are struggling to find their footing as a single entity, but Bindi and Derek are one dancing couple, united, ready to win a Mirror Ball Trophy (and they definitely have a good shot at it).

Images: Greg Zabilski/ABC