She's been excelling on the dance floor all season, but Bindi Irwin's tribute to her dad on Dancing With The Stars was both a true tearjerker and a breakthrough for this talented young woman. The routine illustrated her ability to bring intense emotion to her dancing while successfully executing technically demanding moves — which is no easy feat for someone who is brand new to the dance world. The theme of the October 5th episode was "Most Memorable Year", so it's no surprise that Bindi chose 2006 — the year her dad, Steve Irwin aka the Crocodile Hunter, died from a stringray barb while snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef.
Bindi was just eight years old when her dad passed away, and it was heartbreaking to watch the footage of her at Irwin's memorial as she described him as "the best daddy in the world" and expressed that she would miss him every single day. As she spoke about her dad on Dancing With The Stars, Bindi focused on the fond memories she shared with him — and there are many. "We had so many family adventures," she explained, and went on to describe them as the "best times of my life".
Bindi and Derek danced to the song "I'll Be Watching You", a nod to the comfort she takes in knowing that her beloved father is still very much with her. Take a look at her beautiful performance (but make sure you have tissues handy — trust me):
The most talented dancers are the ones who can take extremely raw, painful emotions and turn them into something beautiful on the dance floor. Bindi achieved just that on Dancing With The Stars, and the judges recognized it. Julianne and Carrie Ann each gave her a 9, but Bruno gave her a 10 and I totally agree with his score. Not only was her dancing technically beautiful, but she brought incredible emotion to the stage. I don't think Bindi will be exiting the show anytime soon — and, like many others, I'm happy about that because she has a bright future as a dancer.
The amazing scores were validating, and viewers were inspired by Bindi's strength and resilience.
Irwin would surely be proud of his daughter's many accomplishments.
Image: Greg Zabilski/ABC