'Dancing With the Stars': Derek Hough on Week 8 stress, same-sex pairs, and the dangers of guyliner

Five contestants left! With DWTS‘ season 11 down to the wire, Our Pro Derek Hough (who partners actress Jennifer Grey) checks in just before Week 8 goes liiiiiiiiiiiiive! Don’t miss his answers to questions about “Rock and Roll” Week 6, after the break.

How stressed out is everyone RIGHT THIS SECOND???
Everyone is fairly stressed out. But to be honest with most of the cast you’d never be able to tell. Everyone is always so composed.

I loved when you told Jennifer last week, “It’s fine. It’s just a dance show” to put things in perspective. Do you ever have to stop and remind yourself of that, too, or do you have a pretty steady sense of perspective having done this for many seasons?
Every season is something new and intense for me. It’s always a change as no two partners of mine have been alike. But at the end of the day, it’s a dance show and you win a mirror ball trophy. It can be competitive, but it always has to stay fun.

How did you decide on how to reinterpret both the dance and the costumes of Drew and Cheryl’s tango from season 2? I liked the red velvet cake color update.
We watched Cheryl and Drew’s dance, which was so good, and adapted it to what suited us and our styles and what Jennifer is capable of. I think we pulled it off rather nicely.

What do you think of the same-sex couple in the upcoming Israeli season of DWTS? Can you see that ever happening on the U.S. version?
I don’t know if that would happen on the U.S. version. If I’ve learned one thing on this show though, it’s to never say never.

Isn’t it about time for an adorable rehearsal footage segment featuring Jennifer’s daughter Stella helping you train?
Stella is in the audience every week supporting her mom. She’s the best cheerleader in the world.


You may have made a critical error by not doing your two-seasons-running “crotch bob” move with your partner during the dance marathon. This year, you just did a milder, yet very heartfelt solo crotch grab. This was probably the best choice concerning Jen’s neck, but were you sad to break the streak of what is now your signature dance marathon move? This is a really long and ridiculous question!
What’s the saying – Traditions were meant to be broken? I think we should have lasted longer in the dance marathon. I had some tricks up my sleeve and just didn’t get the chance to use them. Maybe next season.

Carrie Ann said Jennifer was “out-of-control” during your Week 6 paso. Was anything about the performance “out of control” until the flub at the end?
I think that Jennifer did a great job with that routine and there was nothing out-of-control about it. We had a slight bobble at the end.  It’s a slight mistake that we paid dearly for in the scoring but Jennifer was far from “out-of-control.”

Did you blame the end of the dance on yourself? Were you blinded by the guyliner?
I may forgo the guyliner next time. Not because it messes with the dance but because it’s incredibly hard to get off.

Were the judges probably being extra hard on you to “level the playing field,” so to speak?
I think that this season, the judges have been hard on everyone. We’re all just doing our best and the audience needs to remember that you’re talking about 12 celebrities without any dance experience and no matter how easy it looks on Monday night when we perform – it’s a long hard road getting there.

Do they put brown dye in your hair sometimes, or just a lot of gunk that makes it look darker?
Lots of gunk and a bit of color that washes right out.

William Shatner called you “America’s Greatest Dancer” recently on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. Is it even possible to argue with the Shat?
Talk about a shock. People on Twitter started telling me about it. What a compliment.

Read more:
‘DWTS’: Your Hidden Gems of Week 7!
EW.com’s ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Central

Annie on Twitter: @EWAnnieBarrett

Comments (18 total) Add your comment
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  • Brenda Barrett

    I actually agree with Shatner. I’ve not seen anyone dance any better than Derek and Julianne Hough.

    • mkvan724

      I totally agree! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE watching them both. Derek has amazing choreography!!

  • shari

    I agree Derek is America’s BEST Dancer!!!

  • Stephanie

    Two of your dances made the all time list. It must be great to see public support for your futuristic paso and fifties paso. Nicole was the highest placed female celeb too. Did you agree with the placement? Thought they should have been higher than Apolo and Julianne’s samba?

  • Toria

    I agree Derek is the best dancer.
    And I think he is doing really well with jennifer.. This has to be hard on her.

  • Amy

    I love Derek! Some people say he’s cocky, but I don’t see it. He also comes off as very gracious and humble. And of course he is an EXCELLENT dancer!

  • Ben

    Jimmy Kimmel Liiiiiiiive!

  • nancy

    Shatner is a genious!! Derek is the best.

  • Colleen

    “I think we should have lasted longer in the dance marathon” You were in the final two! You danced the whole time but just didn’t win! Seriously Derek, you can’t win everything!

    • Colleen

      Also “12 celebrities without any dance experience…” Yeah, that’s false.

  • Natalie

    Definately think your America’s Greatest Dancer!! I hope you win this season’s DWTS!

  • tam

    I think derek is so graceful with jen,I haven’t ever seen some one that can dance around someone injury like that……HE JUST AMAZING AND THE BEST DANCER ON DWTS

  • Joyce

    I think absolutely, Derek is the best dancer and choreographer in America right now. He always makes his partner look good, too. No offense to Jennifer Grey.

  • charlotte

    dereck is great i vote for him everytime we have 3 phones he is the best instructor on dwts love you dereck.

  • Laura

    I really felt repulsed when Jennifer kissed Derek at the end of the dance which the camera caught. I thought it was entirely inappropriate, and even though she would say she was caught up in the moment, I think it’s inexcusable. She just wants to feel she is sexy & others are still attracted to her. Her husband probably was ticked off at her, & Cheryl C. too.

  • Doreen Kelley

    Derek is a true genious. He appeals to all ages for a variety of reasons. Being old enough to be his mother, I still am thrilled to watch him and his charming, encouraging and gentle ways with everyone involved.

  • Suz Loudon

    Derrick is Great and Jennifer is Baby….What a wonderful team…WTG you two….

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