Bindi Irwin and her partner Derek Hough scored the highest on Monday’s “Dancing With The Stars” with their contemporary routine to “Every Breath You Take.”
The 17 year-old knew she was in for an emotional week as she and her dance partner Derek Hough prepped for the ‘Most Memorable year’-themed episode, choosing to revisit her father’s death nine years earlier.
“Most Memorable Year. Tonight’s show on @dancingabc means so much to me,” she wrote on Instagram.
“It’s going to be an emotional and meaningful night for us all. Thank you for taking this journey with us tonight.”
As the TV show’s audience watched archival footage of an eight-year-old Bindi eulogise her father, the Crocodile Hunter, Bindi revealed that she had never really processed his death.
“For the rest of my life I’ll kind of feel like he’s going to come home,” she said through heavy tears.
Bindi’s emotional connection with the subject matter was matched by her prowess on the dance floor.
The teenager has been praised for her grace and technique in recent weeks, and Monday night’s contemporary routine was no exception as she and Hough played the roles of adoring daughter and doting father to The Police’s Every Step You Take.
As the music stopped and the crowd cheered Bindi was inconsolable, crying into the chest of her dance partner.
“This dance is for my Dad and for my family for everyone back at home, but for my Dad. This is for him,” Bindi said.
The camera panning through the live studio audience found several openly weeping spectators.
But the image of Bindi’s younger brother Bob wiping a tear away as sat next to his mother, Terri, captured the power of Bindi’s performance for her family.
“There cannot possibly be a dry eye left in America, or Australia, or anywhere,” E Online proclaimed.
Bindi and Hough scored the first ’10’ of the competition with the dance.
“We can’t judge the packages we have to judge the actual dance and that dance was breathtaking,” said judge Julianne Hough.
“[Your Dad] is proud of you. Australia and the world is proud of you,” said fellow judge Bruno Tonioli.
“Words can’t express how grateful I am for all of the support from @derekhough. He has been there to help me on this journey and create something beautiful that means so much to me, for Monday night’s show,” Irwin wrote on Instagram.
“His strength and hugs are getting me through this week — as a friend and big brother. #TeamCrikey”
Monday night’s performance is not the first time Bindi has channelled the Croc Hunter during a Dancing With The Stars routine.
During this season’s premiere Bindi and Hough danced to the “Crocodile Rock”, with Irwin striping down from her khakis to glitzy green tassels.
Bindi earned the highest scores of the night for the routine, securing her place one of the favourites to win the DWTS grand final trophy.