He’s won the mirror ball trophy twice, made it to the semi-finals four times, and has yet to go home before Week 7. And now 25-year-old professional dancer Derek Hough is hoping to become the first pro on ‘Dancing with the Stars‘ to win three times.
If things keep going as well as they have been for the past three weeks with partner Jennifer Grey, Hough might just reach that goal. “It would be amazing to win back-to-back,” says Hough, who won last season with Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger. “Cheryl [Burke] and Julianne [Hough] won back-to-back, but no one has ever won three times. Ever. I would be the first ever. That would be great!”
We caught up with the busy dancer to get him to dish on his ‘Dirty Dancing’ partner, the season’s drama (Bruno-Gate!), and even got him to answer a question from one of you fans.
Let’s hop to it…
Fancast: I’m going to start this off with a question from one of our readers, Mousee, who asks, “I would like to know from Derek why he does not get a partner that has NO dancing ability. In all the seasons I have watched, you never end up with anyone like Kate [Gosselin] or Bristol [Palin], etc. All the other pros seem to get their turn.”
Derek Hough: I’ve definitely been fortunate to have some amazing partners. And, some on paper weren’t technically supposed to do well. When you look at some of them you go, Joanna Krupa, supermodel. Wait a minute? Normally they go home first. The matching process is based on a lot of things – physical things like if our height matches up or if we look good together, and personality types too. Also, if a celebrity is fragile, the producers might think they need a dancer who can take care of them a little bit better, or put a tougher person with someone who can be a little hard.
You can probably take some credit for the success with the way you’re able to teach your celebrities. What is your teaching style like?
My teaching style has been similar with all of my celebrities. I’m very encouraging. I’m very positive in rehearsals. And I try to use their strengths. Each person has their own little move they do well and I always try to figure out what that is right away and use it in the routines.
Why do you think Jennifer is doing so well? You’ve been on top the leader board for the first two weeks and tied for second in Week 3.
She’s not a trained dancer by any means, but she definitely has dancing in her body and she’s in great shape, which helps. She’s physically fit, willing to learn, and has a great head on her shoulders, so it makes it easier for me to teach her. You can do a lot with that. Hopefully we can maintain that.
What’s the hardest part of working with Jennifer?
Honestly, I keep forgetting she’s 50. So when I start choreographing and throwing her around and I’m doing this and I’m like, ‘Wow. She looks really exhausted. Oh, yeah. Oh shoot, she’s 50! Crap. I gotta slow down a little bit.’
How do Jennifer Grey and Nicole Scherzinger differ?
With Nicole, if I made her mad, she would dance great. With Jennifer, if I make her mad or upset, she shuts down completely. I have to constantly adapt how I am with my partners. One thing I love about Jennifer is she’s here to dance and to learn how to dance. She’s really here for the process and I feel that, I love that.
What do you think of the first three eliminations: David Hasselhoff, Michael Bolton, and Margaret Cho?
I think David Hasselhoff was a surprise because of his popularity, and it was sad to see Michael Bolton go. He did an amazing job [singing this week.] And Margaret went out with style – getting that message out. She did it.
I don’t think the judges are meaner this season. I think with Bruno he might have went a step too far, but I don’t think he ever intended to be cruel. It was supposed to be funny but sometimes it can go a little far. But that is live TV. It’s not scripted; it’s off the cuff and that happens sometimes.
Would you ever make a bet about shaving your legs like Tony Dovolani did?
Oh geez. Hell no. I will be making safe bets. I’ll keep my bets to money, not waxing my legs.
What’s up with the Ballas Hough band?
Right now Mark Ballas has an album coming out. I have some other things I’m doing – not music-related – but I can’t really talk about it yet.
Do you think Jennifer and Derek can go all the way this season?
‘Dancing with the Stars’ Cast Flashback!