After 11 weeks, we finally have a Season 21 DWTS winner crowned. Bindi Irwin is taking home a trophy after her heart-wrenching dance dedicated to her father. The finale, which aired on Tuesday, November 24, was action packed and full of emotional performances. The final three fought valiantly for the Mirrorball trophy, but Steve Irwin’s daughter took home the trophy.
Irwin’s victory comes nine years after her father, Steve Irwin, commonly known as the Crocodile Hunter, tragically died after being stabbed repeatedly by a stingray. The 17-year-old Australian has been a fan favorite for most of Season 21.
Critics are arguing that the dance that won her the entire championship was a dance she and Derek did as a tribute to her father. It was an emotional freestyle that astounded everyone. The dance reminded everyone about Bindi’s unhidden devotion to her dad.
She once told Us Magazine, “I couldn’t even imagine if Dad was here right now! Honestly, I hope that he’d be proud of me and I hope that I’m able to carry on in his footsteps and make sure that his legacy lives on, because his strength is what keeps me going. And life is filled with so many challenges and beautiful moments and to be able to share them with my family and to be able to share them with the ones that you love the most, that’s what’s the most important thing in life.”
As she held up the Mirrorball trophy, there’s no doubting that her dad would have been proud of her.
“I am so speechless right now! I can’t believe it,” she told the magazine. “The glitter all over the floor may be from my mind just exploding into glitter! No, I am so honored and so blessed to be here. And this entire experience has felt like the most beautiful gift.”
At the time of Steve’s death in 2006, Bindi was just 8-years-old, and her brother, Robert, 2. It’s been a long journey for the Irwin family, and this victory is an important moment for her family.
Here’s a little bit about how the night went down. Warning to those who haven’t had a chance to watch the finale yet: Spoilers alert!
To begin with, there was a holiday-inspired opening dance number to get viewers in the mood. Shortly after, Chaka Kahn took the stage in order to perform “I’m Every Woman.” It brought thunderous applause from the audience.
That number was followed by a performance from Kim Zolciak-Bierman and her partner, Tony Dovolani. Fans of the show will remember that Bierman was forced to withdraw from the competition earlier due to health reasons. She had worked up quite a following, however, so fans were happy to see her return for the finale in excellent health.
Paula Deen and Louis van Amstel then danced the Samba to the Gilligan’s Island theme song. An interesting choice but they pulled it off, and Carlos PenaVega and the male pros brought sexy to the stage with their routine to “Pony.” Both numbers were the perfect opening to an exciting night.
Viewers who were anxiously waiting to see the DWTS crowned winner were also surprised with a performance from Andy Grammar, who sang his brand new single entitled “Good to Be Alive.” Gary Busey and Anna Tebunskaya also took the floor for an encore performance.
After Nick Carter performed his original single “I Will Wait,” the judges took the stage to announce the winner. In order, they announced Alek Skarlatos and Lindsay Arnold took the third-place slot, Nick Carter and Sharna Burgess second, and finally, Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough were announced the first prize winners.
Season 21’s DWTS crowned winner is sure to be one to remember.
[Image via Angela Weiss/Getty Images]