Part of the magic of Dancing With the Stars is witnessing the celebrities grow as the competition goes further, going outside their comfort zones, learning new steps and achieving new levels of excellence as dancers. While hard work is a given for any DWTS contestant, Derek Hough has revealed that Bindi Irwin takes her preparation one step further. An early favorite this season, Irwin has not rested on her laurels, instead working even more diligently to nail the dances week after week.
Hough wrote in this week’s blog for TV Guide that Bindi’s determination isn’t restricted to rehearsals, or even just running through the steps. She wants to understand the meaning behind the dances and reads up on the pop culture references attached to the songs. It’s part of what has impressed Derek so much about Bindi.
“What’s fantastic about Bindi that I don’t think people realize is that she does her homework. If we do ‘Dirty Dancing’ or ‘Lost Boys,’ the next day, she comes in and is like, ‘OK, I watched the movie and a bunch of videos last night and then I watched our rehearsal video. I was studying them.’ She comes in having done all this homework and is ready to go. She wants to get better and is not just all talk. It’s amazing. She’s definitely not of those people who just put in the work while in rehearsal; she goes the extra mile. So, yes, she did watch ‘The Jeffersons’ after we got that song!”
Hough also revealed that Bindi hid her badly bruised and blistered legs from him, which led Hough to scold her for not being open about her injuries. Even through she’s lost three toenails because of the rigors of dancing — Hough admitted the story was “gross,” but it is Halloween — she said she was fine and didn’t want to slow down.
So far this season, Hough has not been easy on Irwin, giving her challenging dances and even pushing past his own insecurities as a performer. He told Access Hollywood after the “famous dances” show that doing the lift scene from Dirty Dancing made him extremely nervous, and once they did it successfully, it was one of his favorite moments from his time on Dancing With the Stars. In rehearsals, Hough and Irwin had only landed the move about half of the time, according to Hough.
During last week’s team dances, Derek and Bindi were part of the losing team. Hough said the other team’s dance was one of the best he’s ever seen on the show. Although he did admit Bindi got a bit off time, which the judges discussed in their assessment of the team dances, Hough said his partner “did a great job.”
Bindi has been taking time out from her busy Dancing With the Stars schedule to get out into the community while she’s filming the show in Los Angeles. The Daily Mail spotted Bindi visiting with patients at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles on Halloween. The wildlife conservationist showed up in a khaki shirt emblazoned with the Australia Zoo logo. Both her parents have been closely associated with the zoo.
Next week, Dancing With the Stars features a dance off. Hough wrote in his blog that he likes to prepare for dance offs “last minute,” and isn’t worried about that part of the competition.
Dancing With the Stars airs Monday night at 8 p.m. on ABC.
[Main photo by Tibrina Hobson / Getty Images Entertainment]