Derek Hough, Dancing with the Stars Derek Hough, Dancing with the Stars

Hey guys!

Thanks for voting and all your messages!

We did it! I can't believe it and I can't believe it's over. I'm so happy to be able to do this for Bindi.

Standing up there, I was really trying to take in the moment and enjoy it with her before Tom made the announcement. It might sound disingenuous to say because Bindi's been so consistently great this season, but you really never know what's going to happen. You can have a sense, but you can never really be sure. Nick was fantastic as well and totally killed it in the finale — and he's a Backstreet Boy! But in those few moments up there before the reveal, which actually does feel like it's lasting forever, I was truly at peace. Whatever was going to happen, I was at peace and content with what we did this season and grateful to have spent the past three months with Bindi. I know I gave my best for her and we did our best. The win just made everything so much sweeter. It was the perfect ending to a perfect season.

I might be biased, but I think Bindi is one of the greatest contestants the show has ever had — and not just talent-wise. She's such a tremendous soul and just a wonderful human being. I am not exaggerating when I say I have never met anyone like her before. She's just special. I'm 13 years older than her, but she's taught me so much about life, love, grace and joy. Her joy and spirit are contagious. I wish everyone can be around her for a few seconds to feel it. It was an honor to be able to be her partner and to teach her to dance.

Our freestyle, just like the season, was a tribute to her father. I'm glad so many people liked it and are moved by it. I really wanted to do right by Bindi and her dad, and capture their one-of-a-kind bond. It's true Bindi did not know that picture of them was going up at the end of the dance. That was my idea. During camera-blocking on Sunday, we did the routine with the footprints and everything, which Bindi loved. After that, I felt like something was missing to punctuate it, so I asked the producers if we could put up the picture. I wanted to do it for Bindi and I wouldn't have done it if I knew it would upset her, which it didn't. She told me afterward she loved it. It was cathartic for her — this sort of release of everything we've been through this season finally seeing the light in our last dance and this reminder that her dad will always watch over her. There are a lot of manufactured moments on reality TV shows, but her reaction to that, I think, is one of the most heartfelt, raw and honest ones.

I do not know where I'm going to put the trophy. First of all, I can't believe I have six of these! I truly am grateful to be able to do what I do and be part of this show. Second of all, I actually lost two of the trophies. I dunno which seasons they are, but they've been MIA for a while. I'm not sure if they were stolen — I've had people try to steal them — or if they got lost in the shuffle during all the moving and renovating I've done. Maybe they're in storage? Hopefully? I guess the show can replace them, but I haven't asked them yet.

Next for me is vacation! I am exhausted and I just want to unwind! I'm still under the weather, so I'm gonna take a few days off to recover before I even think about doing anything else or my next project. Now that the adrenaline of the finale has worn off, I'm really feeling beat down. It's all hitting me now. I'm guessing Bindi is going to do the same for her feet. Those things held together until the very end! Hopefully the next time I see her feet, they won't look like a rotting carcass!

Thanks for reading this season and all your support. Happy Thanksgiving!

Derek