Enchanting Aussie Bindi Irwin changed the very definition of “crocodile tears” with her captivating emotional freestyle performance on Dancing With The Stars. The teen dancer, who has formed a deep emotional bond with her professional partner Derek Hough, danced an elegant, theatrical number choreographed by Hough to represent her personal journey. That journey was not just Bindi Irwin’s evolution as a dancer on DWTS, but her evolution as a person since the tragic loss of her famous father, Steve Irwin — the famed “Crocodile Hunter.”
Bindi and Hough were clad in white and she was barefoot, representing the most natural state. Likewise spectacle was cast aside as the duo took the stage alone. Or were they alone? The dance’s conceit was that — as Bindi has said all along — her father is in many ways still with her. In this dance Steve Irwin’s presence was made literal, both by the song choice and the single special effect of ghostly footprints being imprinted on the floor, made to look like sand. Then as the performance concluded, the screen showed the audience and the dancers a photo of the late Steve Irwin with Bindi when she was a toddler. There were no dry eyes in the house. Even — especially? — the judges wept. Hough said it was his greatest moment on the show. “Crocodile tears” — up until Bindi Irwin danced — were defined as “expressions of sorrow that are insincere.” But art is always busy changing our world and our language. Bindi Irwin’s art just turned crocodile tears into the most moving, honest tears of all.