'Dancing With the Stars': Derek Hough on dancing with Jennifer Grey and shirtless paparazzi snaps

derek-houghImage Credit: MAP/Splash News; Adam Larkey/ABCDance pro Derek Hough, 25, and his partner Jennifer Grey, 50, earned the top spot on last week’s Dancing With the Stars season 11 performance premiere with a Viennese waltz set to “These Arms of Mine” (a song featured on the Dirty Dancing soundtrack). Below, Derek checks in for his weekly grilling.

Derek, where are you going in this photo? Do you think the rule “No shirt no shoes no service” does not apply to you?
We were actually at rehearsal and I was super sweaty and needed to change my shirt. Jennifer had hidden my clothes, though, so I was forced to walk out to the parking lot to my car for a change of clothes without a shirt on. I will get her back though. Someday, when she least expects it.

Are you aware that your belt is not exactly doing its job here?

As long as my pants are not on the ground, the belt is succeeding.

Is it annoying when paparazzi take your picture or do you love it?

There are a few photographers who have literally camped out at our rehearsal facility and so far they have been really respectful. There have been situations, though, where I’ve been chased in my car or when a photographer has tried to cut me off to get a reaction, and that’s just not cool.

Let’s talk about the viewers’ reaction to your dance with Jennifer last week. I think many people wondered if you were using the Patrick Swayze connection to get votes and some might have thought the whole thing was disingenuous. How do you react when you hear/read stuff like that?

I think that the dance was Jennifer’s tribute to Patrick. He was such an important part of her life, and the connection to Dirty Dancing was going to come up with her being on Dancing with the Stars. I think now that we’ve done that tribute we can move on and focus on Jennifer. I actually was extremely flattered by the comparisons to Patrick himself though. His whole career is such an inspiration to me.

I know that generally the producers pick the song but sometimes the dancers have input. Whose idea was it to go with a Dirty Dancing song homage right away, and are you glad you did it?
That was a production choice. It’s a beautiful song and means a lot to so many people, including Jennifer. I’m glad that the audience liked the dance so much.

How is Jennifer doing training-wise? Does her neck injury mean serious limitations for the jive, and how do you work around that?
Jennifer is amazing. She’s in fabulous shape – not just for her age but for anyone. Her flexibility is crazy – she can literally hold her leg alongside her head. It’s pretty spectacular to see. I think that every celeb has limitations that we pros have to work around and Jennifer is no different.

What song do you have this week?
We have a great Jive song that if anyone saw us out on the DWTS tour, the song will be familiar.

The camera always pans up to the cast standing and clapping after each dance. Sometimes the contestants and pros’ reactions are really funny. Is there a general consensus that if you’re standing in that front row you need to be careful to “smile politely and clap” even if the dance you just saw is totally laughable?
Those reactions are honest reactions. By the time the show airs we’ve usually seen each other’s dances a few times, so for the most part, the routines are not a surprise. When we applaud each other it’s genuine.

You are a big fan of the “dramatic entrance” for backstage interviews. Is there a giant rubber band pulling you off camera that magically releases as soon as you are supposed to pop back into frame? Or does the giant rubber band exist ONLY IN YOUR MIND?
I’ve never thought about it before. I think I’m just so relieved to have the performance over and am anxious about the scores that I’m such a goof that it manifests in rubber band body.

What should people eat if they want to look just like you?
Right now I’m actually using a meal service because I forget to eat.

Leave your questions for Baby Derek in the comments!

Read more:
‘DWTS': Your Hidden Gems of Week 1!
Exclusive: Patrick Swayze’s widow on Jennifer Grey’s ‘DWTS’ breakdown
EW.com’s ‘DWTS’ performance show recap: Bristoling With Excitement
EW.com’s ‘DWTS’ results show recap: While My Lifeguard Gently Weeps
Derek Hough answers questions about Week 1

Annie on Twitter: @EWAnnieBarrett

Comments (69 total) Add your comment
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  • sonja

    Do you think the rule “No shirt no shoes no service” does not apply to you?
    OMG, I did a spit take when I read this question, too funny!!!

  • jami Harmon

    I had a brother like that,used to stand in front of a mirror while he talked if one was around. If it taught him and i anything it was-(arrogance is not attractive):)

  • glenn

    I’d tap it!

  • kay

    Jennifer and Derek’s first dance last week was just great. I think Derek is a wonderful pro and a good teacher.

  • Paris

    He’s so gay how can others not see it?

    • glenn

      Is there something wrong with being gay?

    • Cowboy

      So what?

    • @Paris

      Derek is an amazing (pro) dancer and choreographer but the show is not about him or the other pro dancers.
      Basically, it’s Derek’s job to make his celebrity partner look as good as possible and so far he’s done a phenomenal job with all of his partners.
      But the pro dancers’ private lifes have nothing to do with the show and there’s no possible reason whatsoever why any of them should owe morons like you any answers.

      But maybe you just see gay people everywhere because you’re so far in the closet you’re actually in Narnia?
      Are you seretly gay?

      • Susan

        LOL on the Narnia comment. Brilliant!

      • Bonnie

        yay!! Great post.

    • scorpo

      I hope so, cuz I want me some

    • Lindsay

      U should shut up and quit criticizing Derek and everyone that commented on this! Just because he wants to be a dancer doesn’t mean he’s gay! Maybe dancing was his dream when he was a kid and he is making it come true. I’m not making fun of u and calling u names for whatever it is that u like to do! Derek is a great dancer and I understand that u r just saying ur opinion, but u said it VERY rudely!!

  • Rome

    So what?

  • EWsMom

    Sorry, but why would any guy want to look like him? Unless you’re into the scrawny type, I don’t think he’s very attractive. Maybe it’s just me, but I like my men to look like…men.

    Shocking, I know.

    • jayemeff

      sooo, beer guts and back hair then?

      • tk

        heh, a well deserved, “heh.”

        -scrawny guy.

    • nancy

      I’d take toned, lean, graceful & great posture over bulky, vein-popping and bow-legged any day of the week! Derek looks great.

  • Ember


  • Snarf

    I’d hit it (repeatedly if neccessary.

  • Aundrea

    Knock it off he’s not gay he’s dating Cheryl Cole! People like you have issues with themselves and enjoy taking it out on others and putting others down

    • Lindsay

      That is exactly my point, read my reply on that Narnia thing

  • duranmom

    Annie, are you no longer friendly with Maks? Is Derek the only pro you will be talking to every week? Please, talk to the rest of them…even Karina…I can’t take Derek every week — he’s not my fave.

  • Vince

    Andrea, saying you believe someone may be gay is not a put down…unless you intend for it to be. I’ve always thought this dude may be gay, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that at all. BTW, I’ve always suspected Denzel Washington might be straight.

    • Denzel

      I love you Vince!

    • Fiore

      Awesome. Thanks, Vince.

  • Nadia

    Ok, why is it that literally EVERY guy who can move and looks good is considered to be gay?

    • Cowboy

      And so what if he is?

    • Maddie

      People relax, these comments are not about whether or not being gay is a bad thing. It is about the frustrating thing that good looking guy dancers are often assumed to be gay. Can a straight guy with good looks something other than a football player?

      • Nadia

        Exactly, thank you!

      • Elmedina

        Thanks. This is great.I know some people got’ what I was trinyg to do/say while out on that limb but this doc nicely explains the prejudice all mobile dwelling owners will have to fight at some point. The more ammo/info we can put out there about overcoming prejudice the more folks will be able to make their dream home on wheels a reality at least I like to think to.I’ll do a more careful read over the weekend.Thanks Again!Michael

  • Chelley

    He is an amazing talent and VERY easy on the eyes, I certainly wouldn’t kick him out for no shirt! lol

    • betti

      i’d actually keep him around more!!

  • Ellie Mae

    For your next Q&A

    Dear Derek,
    do you ever get tired of the judges kissing your ass and the show favoring you all the time?

    • sandee

      wow how nasty is that? the producers and powes that be choose who the celebs will dance with and Derek happens to be the best choreographer they have ever had. If you;re good it shows if you;re not (like you) it looks like jealousy

      • Diamonraine

        Well said Sandee.

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