There have been moments all season that illustrate why Bindi Irwin should win Dancing with the Stars 21. But she really won the competition with her freestyle dance toward the end of Monday night’s performance episode.
If she doesn’t win, it’ll be a surprise. And Bindi Irwin has still walked away with this season, and locked it up with this freestyle dance with her partner Derek Hough:
It’s not just a perfect 30 dance—three of the four couples had perfect scores—but it was an emotional reminder of her growth, both as a dancer this season and since she was a kid on television with her father, Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin.
At the end of the performance, everyone, including Bindi, was surprised when a large photo of her with her dad appeared. It was just nine years ago that, at age 8, she memorialized him after his death, but there’s obviously emotion there, both for her and for the audience.
She shouldn’t win because of nostalgia for her father, of course, but because even before that photo appeared, Bindi Irwin’s dances have been entertaining all season long, and her performance was powerful enough by itself to bring the audience to tears.