Last week was tough for Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough, but it wasn’t because Bindi was struggling to learn her steps or suffering from a painful injury — it was because Bindi had to relive one of the most painful times in her life over and over again during dance rehearsal.
It was Most Memorable Year week on Dancing with the Stars, and Bindi Irwin decided to make everyone cry by reminding them about how horribly sad it was when Steve Irwin died. Some viewers took to social media to criticize Bindi and Derek for using the Crocodile Hunter’s death as a shameless way to score votes, but Bindi was probably just being honest — learning that her father died when she was just 8-years-old probably is the most memorable moment of her 17-year-old life. Besides, Bindi wouldn’t be a celebrity competing on Dancing with the Stars if she wasn’t the Crocodile Hunter’s cute daughter.
Bindi Irwin also proved that she didn’t need a sob story to help her stay at the head of the pack — she danced so beautifully that she scored the first 10 of the season. However, reliving her father’s death left her and Derek Hough both feeling a bit emotionally drained, and this is why Derek is glad that it’s Switch-Up week on Dancing with the Stars. In his TV Guide blog, Derek commended Bindi Irwin for bravely baring her soul last week, but he also said that it’s been a relief to stop the waterworks this week.
“She’s never actually done this with anybody on a public level, talking about the grief, the heartache and heartbreak,” Derek wrote. “It was a pretty big step. She was just thankful that I was there for her and we got through it together. It’s funny — we were saying how it’s kind of weird that now we’re apart for the switch-up. But I thought about it a little bit and it’s actually great because we cried all last week together.”
“It was really intense and emotional. We need a little break from each other!”
During an interview with TV Grapevine, Bindi also admitted that last week was a very emotional one for her. However, she tried to put a positive spin on all of the tears that were shed.
“I think this week has been an emotional challenge, but it’s also been really positive,” Bindi said.
“This week was all about spreading light on that place [of grief] and letting all that emotion out into the open. It’s been tough, but I feel incredibly grateful for the chance to get to do this.”
Dancing with the Stars viewers got to vote on this week’s switch-ups, and they decided to pair Derek with Mark Ballas’ partner, Alexa PenaVega. Bindi has been partnered with Tamar Braxton’s partner, somewhat intimidating pro dancer Val Chmerkovskiy. Val’s celebrity partners tend to be more on the serious, sensual side, so perhaps DWTS viewers wanted to see how he would handle being paired with cheerful, chirpy ball of energy like Bindi.
Val Chmerkovskiy and Bindi Irwin will be doing the cha-cha, and so far Val has liked what he’s seen.
“Val came up to me the other day, like, ‘Dude, she’s good!'” Derek wrote on his blog. “He was very complimentary about her. He’s doing a great job with her. I saw their dance and it looks fantastic.”
According to Just Jared, Bindi Irwin and her temporary partner also decided to make this week a bit more fun than last week by goofing off during rehearsals. Bindi shared a silly Dubsmash video starring herself and Val, and she gushed about how much she has enjoyed her practices with the pro. As you can see, she and Val are now BFFs.
During her TV Grapevine interview, Bindi said there’s a chance that a snake might make an appearance in one of her routines, so Val better watch out.
You can see how Bindi Irwin handles the shake-up when Dancing with the Stars airs tomorrow night at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
[Featured Image credit: Derek Hough/Instagram]