Following her final heartfelt routine on last night's Dancing with the Stars, which paid tribute to her dad, contestant Bindi Irwin has shared the final family photo she ever took with Steve Irwin. This photo of the Crocodile Hunter sitting with his wife, children and a baby alligator was snapped days prior to the wildlife enthusiast's untimely death. Bindi Irwin is one of three contests left who will participate in the Dancing with the Stars Season 21 finale tonight. About the photo, which includes mother Terri and her brother Bob, she had this to say.
"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."
Terri Irwin followed up by posting her own photo of her daughter and late husband. She has been in the audience every week, watching Bindi Irwin perform every one of her routines. But last night's dance was an emotional one that didn't leave a dry eye in the house. Here's what she had to say about the experience.
"Honestly my beautiful @BindiIrwin, your daddy was walking beside you all the way tonight. He loves you so much."
This past Monday, the 17 year old Bindi Irwin and her dance partner Derek Hough performed an elegantly choreographed freestyle dance that paid tribute to Steve Irwin. The pair were dressed all in white, and decided to tone down their usually flashy presentation. The Leona Lewis ballad 'Footprints in the Sand' set the stage for this routine. It came to an emotional finish, with a photo flashing on a giant screen that featured the daughter kissing her father on the cheek.
The photo actually surprised Bindi, who had no idea it was coming. The idea to show the two during the climax was actually Derek Hough's idea. At the end, she broke down in his arms and said, "I love you, thank you." She then quickly tried to gain her composure for everyone watching in the audience and at home. About seeing the photo for the first time as the dance came to its finish, she had this to say to co-host Erin Andrews backstage.
"I didn't know that photo was going to be up. This whole experience has meant the world for my whole family and it has changed my life, so thank you so much."
The pair were awarded 10s across the board, insuring their return in tonight's finale. Even the judges were visibly emotional after the tribute, with Derek Hough's sister moved to tears. Bindi revealed this about her time on the show.
"Sometimes during rehearsals it feels like there's three people in the room. And I do feel like dad is still with me, every day."
This was the second dance to pay tribute to the late Steve Irwin this year. During the Most Memorable Year week, daughter Bindi dedicated her time on stage to her father. She and Derek Hough did a performance to 'Every Breath You Take.' To see the pair say an emotional good-bye, be sure to tune into ABC tonight starting at 8pm. Will they win the coveted Mirrorball Trophy?