During Monday night's semifinals, the former Bachelorette and her pro partner, Artem Chigvintsev, danced a contemporary routine to "Cowboy Take Me Away" by The Chicks. The emotional routine was dedicated to Kaitlyn's best friend, Lindsay, who died in a motor vehicle accident in 2003. She was 17.
"She loved The Chicks and this was one of her favorite songs to put on," Kaitlyn explained in the video package that aired ahead of the dance. "We spent everyday together, and one time she told me she wanted 'Cowboy Take Me Away' to play at her funeral. And we did it."
"I have not listened to this song in so long because it makes me so emotional," she added. "If she could see me here tonight, one step closer to the mirrorball, I know she'd be so proud."
Judge Carrie Ann Inaba called the performance "incredible," while Derek Hough said, "When people ask me about Dancing With the Stars, I always say my favorite part is telling stories .... you'll always have this now. For your friend, for yourself. Thank you for that."
"Another fantastic dance," added Bruno Tonioli.
Kaitlyn and Artem received 10s across the board for a perfect score of 30/30.
Hours before the show kicked off, Kaitlyn took to Instagram to share some photos and a special message dedicated to her late pal.
"Tonight I dance for Lindsay. We are dancing to her favorite song, and one we played at her funeral," she shared. "Lindsay was someone I met when I was 4 years old. We were attached at the hip. We grew up together, she was my next door neighbor who became family. We had our first day of school together, all the way up to her last day of high school when her life was tragically taken in a motor vehicle accident."
"I have learned that grief doesn't go away. My best friend Bri, who was also best friends with Linds, said it best. Grief can hit when you least expect it, it can feel like it happened yesterday even when it was years ago," she continued, telling fans it's been "an emotional" week in rehearsals. "Lindsay LOVED to dance, and dancing was something that helped Bri and I grieve when she passed. It's a beautiful way to honor somebody and I will do that tonight. I’m still so close to her family and I know they will be watching tonight. I am honored to use this stage to remember her and celebrate her legacy."
Kaitlyn concluded the post by remembering Lindsay's "unique soul."
"She had such an impact on who I am today. She was the most unapologetic free spirit and we miss her every day," Kaitlyn said. "I know it's semi finals and of course I'm asking you to vote to be a part of the finale, but I'm also asking you to hug your friends and cherish the time you have together."