Dancing With the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba put on a brave face during the Season 16 premiere, but she revealed in her People blog that she lost her father, Rodney Inaba, just four days before the show.
Carrie Ann wrote that she needed to feel "safe and comfortable" Monday night because she was in such an emotional place. "Losing a loved one is something that is so very hard to understand and cope with. I’m filled with a tremendous sadness but also a relief, for he is in a better place now," Carrie Ann wrote. "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. But I felt my father’s spirit was with me [Monday] 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."
Carrie Ann added that her father was "a pioneer, an entrepreneur, an animal lover and he was never afraid to speak his mind. I think I got some of this from him. I’m grateful for the gifts he has bestowed upon me. And in honor of my father, I chose to do the first show and not take the time off because in my heart, I know he would have wanted it that way."
Thankfully, the Week 1 show was fun and positive, with some "sparkle" to warm her heart. Her dad was probably watching from above, with a smile.