Carrie Ann Inaba's father passed away March 15, just days before the season 26 premiere of Dancing With the Stars.
Dancing With the Stars judge Inaba shared in a blog that the show's premiere on March 18 was emotional for her because her father died last Thursday.
"I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to make it through the show with all the emotions that have been overflowing," she wrote in a blog on People. "But I felt my father's spirit was with me last night, supporting me and cheering me on. And I dedicated the show to him, in gratitude for all that he taught me about life; for his bravery, his courage, his huge heart and his love for the underdog."
Inaba seemed to have a love for the underdog during the premiere as she mostly gave positive feedback to the performers. For contestant Andy Dick, who has said the show is like therapy for him, judges Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli said he was a bit jerky in his performance. However, Inaba said he was charming.
Inaba wore a Theia gown for the premiere and said she wanted to wear something that made her feel comfortable and safe.
Near the end of her post she wrote that she chose to not take time off from the first show in honor of her father, because that's what he would have wanted. She ended her post with, "Dad, I know you're up there dancing in joy (he used to do a little ballroom/social dancing when he was in the service). I love you."