BY MARAH ALINDOGAN
Julianne Hough has had her fair share of performances as a "Dancing With the Stars" veteran, but nothing compares to what she saw on Monday night.
There was not a dry eye in the room after Bindi Irwin's tearful tribute her father, the late "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin.
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"There are certain performances that are really emotional but can be really melodramatic," the "DWTS" judge told AOL in an exclusive interview. "Last night was so the opposite of that – it was so pure and truly heartfelt. It wasn't overdone."
The moving performance earned Bindi a spot in the show's Season 21 finale on Tuesday night, where she came out victorious against former Backstreet Boys member Nick Carter and Paris train hero Alek Skarlatos.
While Hough watched from the judge's table this time around, she definitely knows a thing or two about performing under pressure after taking home the show's coveted Mirror Ball trophy in Seasons 4 and 5.
"When I mentored Nick this last week I told him, 'This is the finale. You guys are exhausted at this point in the competition. So just go out there, leave it all on the dance floor and give it everything you have,'" the 27-year-old actress dished.
But her "DWTS" duties are not all that the gorgeous blonde has on her plate. Between planning her wedding to NHL star Brooks Laich and playing Sandy in the upcoming TV musical "Grease," the next few months will keep Hough plenty busy!
Before all the madness begins, the future Mrs. Laich is having some quality R&R with her fiancé over Thanksgiving weekend.
See photos of Julianne Hough and Brooks Laich:
"Usually I go to Nashville and spend time with my family, but this year I am actually going to D.C. to see my fiancé play," Hough revealed while talking about her "Thanskgetting" partnership with Verizon.
With all the delicious temptations this holiday season, Hough is the first one to admit that she's not afraid to indulge in her favorite foods.
"I used to be an all or nothing person. But if you think about the word 'diet,' just take the 'T' off and it's 'die,' Hough joked. "I don't do that anymore. I need to have a healthy, balanced lifestyle."
And a fun fact about the actress – before her fiancé was ever in the picture, a young Hough had a major crush on her "DWTS" mentee Nick Carter! We're dying to know – is she planning on inviting him to the wedding?
"Oh my goodness! Well I think we're trying to keep it a pretty small wedding. I don't know who we're inviting yet, that's a little ways down the line," Hough coyly admitted.
See the full interview here:
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