Bindi Irwin, the mirrorball winner of Season 21 of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars is returning to the franchise but with one major twist; it won’t be with the American version of the series. Irwin will instead be sitting behind the judge’s table on the Australian version of the show.
Irwin, the daughter of the late crocodile hunter and founder of the Australian Zoo, Steve Irwin, won the long-running dance competition series alongside Derek Hough.
Now helping to run the zoo alongside her brother Bob and mother Terri, Irwin announced the big news on Instagram alongside a clip of one of the dances she performed alongside Hough, which helped score her the glittery trophy.
“I’m so looking forward to joining the Australian Dancing with the Stars family next week as a judge. After winning in the USA, I can truly appreciate what a life-changing journey this is. So special,” noted Irwin on her social media page.
She received a word of encouragement from dance partner Hough on Instagram, who replied, “Thas my girl. You are such a bright light and I loved creating this piece for you. Every week you absolutely crushed it and blew everyone away not just with your dancing but with your spirit and ability to struggle with JOY.”
Irwin and Hough became fast friends throughout their work together on the series. They were so close that there was speculation that the two were dating, despite the fact that Irwin’s longtime boyfriend Chandler Powell attended several tapings of the ABC series. The 21-year-old wakeboarder from Florida first met Irwin in 2013 during a trip with his family to the zoo, and the duo has been together ever since. He relocated to Australia to be with Irwin and her family and to work and live at the zoo in 2018.
As a mirrorball winner, Irwin won a cash prize of over $350,000. Cinemablend revealed that the then-17-year-old needed the signature of a parent in order to collect her prize. Her mother Terri Irwin signed the appropriate paperwork but amazingly, a judge also needed the signature of her father in order for Irwin to collect her winnings since she was a minor. TMZ reported that she needed to provide a death certificate to show that Steve Irwin had passed before she was allowed to collect her full winnings from her work on the series.
Celebrity contestants on DWTS are paid $125,000 for signing a contract to appear on the series, reported Gawker. The longer they compete, the more money they make. Celebrities who can stick it out through the tedious and long hours of rehearsals and make it to weeks three and four earn another $10,000 on top of their initial $125,000. Each week they can earn up to an additional $20,000 to $30,000 per episode. Making it to the finals scores a payday of an additional $50,000.
Dancing with the Stars will return to ABC this fall.