The contemporary routine with Derek Hough earned the first 10 of the season

By Kelly Connolly
Updated October 06, 2015 at 01:12 PM EDT
Credit: ABC

Bindi Irwin closed down a night of memorable routines and brought the ballroom to tears on Monday’s Dancing With the Stars, performing in honor of her late father, Steve Irwin.

Asked to name the most definitive year of her life, Bindi chose 2006 — the year her father passed away while filming a documentary. “I can remember being little, you know: ‘The one thing I want to do is be just like dad when I grow up,’ ” she recalled to partner Derek Hough in rehearsals. “And I still feel like that.”

“It took a really long time to understand what actually happened,” she added. “For the rest of my life, I’ll kind of feel like he’s going to come home.”

To honor Irwin’s memory, Hough choreographed a contemporary piece set to a cover of “Every Breath You Take” by The Police. Before the performance, he could be seen distracting Bindi from the emotional pre-recorded segment.

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“I was just holding her ears and blocking it out so we could focus on the dance, and then after the dance you can let it out because it is hard to hysterically cry while dancing,” Hough explained to People.

Bindi broke down in her partner’s arms after the routine, which earned tearful raves from the judges — including the first 10 of the season from judge Bruno Tonioli, who told the young conservationist that her father would be proud.

“He was dancing with you every step of the way.”

Credit: ABC

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