Bindi Irwin cries during emotional dance tribute to dad

Bindi Irwin cries after paying tribute to her father on Dancing With The Stars.
Bindi Irwin cries after paying tribute to her father on Dancing With The Stars.

THERE wasn't a dry eye in the studio audience as Bindi Irwin paid tribute to her dad Steve on Dancing With The Stars today.

Irwin received a standing ovation for her emotional performance on America's ballroom dancing show.

The 17-year-old performed a contemporary routine to the song Every Breath You Take with dance partner Derek Hough to represent the show's "most memorable year" theme of the week.

"What shaped me the most would be when my dad passed away," she told Hough during rehearsals.

"It's been nine years and I've never really dwelled on that point when he did pass away. I'm ready to tell that story."

It was a heartfelt and tearful moment from the usually bubbly teen.

"This dance is for my dad and my family and for everyone back home," she said after the performance.

She was awarded 28 points out of 30, including the first perfect score of the season, from the show's judging panel.

"He was dancing with you every step of the way," Bruno Tonioli said.

The routine shot Irwin to the top of the DWTS leader board ahead of Nick Carter, who paid tribute to his years in the boy band Backstreet Boys.

Earlier in the week Irwin also thanked her ballroom mentor Hough, describing him as a big brother who helped her get through the emotionally draining routine.

"We all felt like we knew him; it reminds you of how precious life is," Hough said.

Next week the celebrities will dance with a different partner, chosen by the viewers, in the show's switch-up week.

Topics:  bindi irwin dancing with the stars editors picks steve irwin

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