Three times Bindi stole our hearts
Three times Bindi Irwin showed us why she took home the mirrorball trophy for winning Dancing with the Stars in the US.
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She was tipped as the favourite from the very beginning, so it was no big surprise that the late Steve Irwin's daughter Bindi won the US version of Dancing with the Stars on Tuesday night in Los Angeles.
The Jungle Girl, 17, and her dancing partner Derek Hough, 30, took home the coveted Mirror Ball trophy after another round of perfect scores from the judges.
The Australian teenager threw her head back and arms in the arm in triumph as #TeamCrikey were announced the winners of the reality show's 21st season. The camera shot to her mother Terri, 51, and younger brother Robert, 11, who were jumping for joy in the crowd.
"Thank you so much for everything. I can't believe I'm here. Thank you for changing my life," Bindi said.
Backstreet Boys' Nick Carter, 35, and his partner Sharna Burgess came in second place, while Paris train hero Alek Skarlatos, 23, and Lindsay Arnold came third.
"Bindi deserved it – she kicked butt," the boyband singer said, taking the defeat on the chin.
"Season 21 has been my favourite by far, and it's because of you Bindi Irwin," DWTS judge Carrie Anna Inaba told her. "Thank you so much."
In the part two of the season finale, Bindi and Derek turned in another perfect performance, earning a 30 for their Cha Cha/ Argentine Tango to "All the Way" by Timeflies.
The night before, she brought the house down with a heartfelt tribute dance to her father, 'The Crocodile Hunter'. Looking ethereal in a floaty white number, she wrapped her arms around Derek when a black and white image of Steve clutching her appeared on screen after their freestyle performance.
With her head in his neck, she could be heard saying, "I love you... thank you."
The camera shot to the judging panel and her mother Terri, who all looked visibly moved by Bindi's emotion.
"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," she said.
She also added earlier in the program that she feels like her father, who was killed after being struck by a stingray barb to the heart while snorkelling at Batt Reef in Queensland in 2006, was with her during her dance practice sessions.
"Sometimes in rehearsals it feels like there's three people in the room, I do feel as if dad is still with me everyday," she said.
"I have tried to just remember his strength knowing that dad is kind of still with me."
Following the show, the actress, presenter and wildlife conservationist shared the last ever family picture of the Irwins together.
"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," she captioned the shot.
Bindi is expected to return to her home at Australia Zoo in Beerwah, Queensland, next weekend for her brother Robert's 12th birthday on December 1.
"She's not settling in Hollywood like everyone says," a spokesperson for Australia Zoo told Fairfax Media on Wednesday, "She's coming home."