NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)–“Dancing With the Stars” contestant Bindi Irwin has paid tribute to her famous father before, but on Monday night’s finale, she had the audience in tears.
Irwin and her partner, Derek Hough, danced to Leona Lewis’ “Footprints in the Sand.”The young star dedicated her performance to her father, the late Steve Irwin.
Steve Irwin, a wildlife expert known as the “Crocodile Hunter,” died at the age of 44 in 2006 after a stingray barb pierced his heart.
“Sometimes during rehearsals it feels like there are three people in the room,” Bindi said on the show. “Derek put that in this freestyle, and I feel that Dad is with me every day.”
Though she appeared to be holding it together during her dance, Irwin broke down at the end after Hough surprised her with a photo of her and her dad on the big screen. Judges and audience members alike were also in tears.
Twitter lit up with reaction to the touching moment, and Irwin even posted her family’s final photo with her dad before his death. She wrote:
“The last photo ever taken of us as a family. The day before I had to wave goodbye to my hero, without knowing it would be the last time. But Dad, I know you walk beside me always and your strength lives within me. I love you.”
Irwin was tied with singer/actor Carlos PenaVega with 60 points after their three performances, but he was eliminated Monday night. She beat Oregon Army National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos and singer Nick Carter for the mirror ball trophy.
Additional reporting by CNN.