Bindi Irwin dedicated her freestyle dance with Derek Hough to her late father Steve Irwin on the first night of the Dancing with the Stars finale Monday night.

Bindi Irwin Remembers Dad Steve Irwin

Irwin, 17, and Hough danced to Leona Lewis‘ “Footprints in the Sand” for the finale Freestyle routine – one of the most important dances of the competition. The two wanted to convey through their dancing that Irwin’s father always remains at her side.

“‘I never really talked about everything I felt when dad passed away. I never thought I would revisit that. But to have Derek there to say, ‘It’s okay, I am there for you’ was something that I was so grateful for,” Irwin said in the pre-dance package. “I do feel as if dad is still with me everyday.”

For the choreography, Hough wanted the focus to be on the dancing rather than an elaborate production. The emotionally powerful number, which showed off Irwin’s talents on the dance floor, did not leave a dry eye in the audience. Irwin, who didn’t know that a picture of her with her father would close out the routine, was also in tears.

“That was brilliant and a dancer’s freestyle,” said judge Carrie Ann Inaba. “You are far from ordinary, thank you to your mom and dad for creating you because this has been such a joy to experience you every week. You do each moment to its fullest potential and each dance to its fullest potential and I am grateful for you.”

After the judges lavished Irwin and Hough with praise for their performance, Irwin told host Erin Andrews, “I didn’t know that photo was going to be up, so for me this whole experience has meant the world for my whole family and it has changed my life, so thank you so much.”

 

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