At the age of just seventeen, Bindi Irwin, having never danced in her life before, having never done so much as wear a pair of heels, has won the US version of Dancing With The Stars.
Bindi and partner Derek Hough knocked the socks of judges with their joyous final performance, scoring three perfect 10s.
The sweet 17-year-old from Queensland was without question the stand-out performer but she won the hearts of Americans with her story, as much as her determination.
Bindi was tiny when her Dad, Steve Irwin, the Wildlife Warrior died in a freak accident while filming with a stingray, and it was so clear to everyone how much she loved him.
Bindi dedicated pretty much every one of her performances on the top-rated show to Steve. He was, she said, her hero.
Bindi’s little brother Robert and her Mum, Terri, were there to see her triumph.
Judge Carrie Anne Inaba said: "I can’t think of a better way to end this series. Because of you, Bindi Irwin … from the moment you walked in here, you lit us all up. You have been a beacon of hope for everyone.
The second judge, Julianne Hough – who is Bindi’s partner, Derek Hough’s sister – said: "You have been pure joy. Beautiful."
The third judge, Bruno Tonioli, said: "You’re a sensation. You really are."
Her partner, Derek, said: "I can honestly say, for me at least, I’ve never seen anyone like (Bindi). You can have struggle but you can struggle with joy. She looks at the challenge in the face, and she smiles at it."
WATCH: Bindi's incredible final performance
Bindi was the only female contestant left in the final by the time the finale came around.
"It’s a brilliant end," she said.
"It feels like a celebration. To remember moments in my life that I’d never been able to look at and smile. I never thought I’d be given that chance."
It was difficult not to feel sympathy for the sentimental favourite, Army National Guard Specialist Alek Skarlatos, who finished in third place.
Twelve weeks ago, he was a soldier, taking a vacation in Belgium after a tour of Afghanistan, half-asleep in his seat on a high-speed train to Paris when a terrorist produced an assault rifle.
Alek and two of his friends, Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone and student Anthony Sadler, disarmed the attacker, averting what now seems to have been a terror attack that may have cost many lives.
"This has been the craziest ride of my life," he said.He had never danced in his life, yet he embraced the challenge and his new status as an American hero. He was sometimes wooden, but always humble, and as judge Julianne said: "The sky is full of stars. And your future is bright. And for what you did for us – thank you."
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