’DWTS’ – Variety’s Derek Hough Hopes for an All-Winners Season

Derek Hough is on a roll — literally and figuratively. From preparing for his Symphony of Dance tour, preparing to wrap up the 32nd season of „Dancing with the Stars,” and planning his wedding to his fiancee, Hayley Erbert, you’d think the Emmy-winning choreographer would be exhausted. Some reference.

„I think that momentum is very powerful — I thrive on momentum,” Hough says. „It gives me more ideas, energy, inspiration and motivation. Everything feeds into each other; it multiplies. If you need something done, give it to someone who is busy.

Fresh off his 13th Emmy nomination, Hugh reflects on what earned him the accolade — his dance to „Higher,” performed live by singer Michael Buble during Season 31 of „Dancing With the Stars.”

„There’s a lot to this number — different elements, styles and the use of the whole space. For me, that’s the first thing: 'How do I use this space?'” he says, taking advantage of the show’s set, a huge ensemble number that includes professional dancers and choreographers. He says he wants to create Buble itself.” It uses this new stage area for Skybox and Garage. I played around with different camera angles to make sure things weren’t flat. „This is the first time in seven years that I am dancing with all the pros.”

Hugh now holds the title for the most Emmy nominations for choreography, which he understands weighs. „It really reflects my journey through dance and how it keeps on giving,” says Hough, who was a pro dancer for 17 seasons of the reality competition series before becoming a full-time judge in season 29. „I’ve never been a choreographer, it’s something I’ve become with different opportunities.”

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In the early stages of his career, Huh’s fear was his kryptonite. „Reflecting on my journey, it’s horrible to think about how scared and scared I was of the choreographer,” she says.

So how did he overcome this trepidation?

„I believe that gratitude is the antidote to fear. You can’t be grateful and afraid at the same time,” he says. „The second you’re grateful, it’s like the fear disappears.” He adds that being „in a moment of gratitude” is a proven tactic he’s practiced throughout his life. says – he offers to anyone who is afraid to chase a dream.

„You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start being great,” says Hugh. „You have to fake it and figure it out, and then eventually, you start believing in what you’re doing.”

Buble performed this number alongside the artistry created by Huq’s choreography.

„I told him, 'It’s going to be a dance scene, and it’s going to be a piece of art with dancers in the background,'” Huff explains. At the heart of the musical is Erbert, a mentor on „Dancing with the Stars: Junior” and a past cast member of the main series.

As for her upcoming nuptials to Erbert, „Marriage — that’s a whole lot of preparation,” laughs Hugh. „It feels like we’re planning two tours, two shows!”

All but two of Huck’s 13 Emmy nominations have come from numbers performed on „Dancing with the Stars,” and he’s won six times with six different celebrity partners. The show’s upcoming season will be the first since the passing of judge Len Goodman, and Hugh will be the first to come from the other side of the dance floor.

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“My focus is definitely on having our dear friend and colleague Lenin pass away and being there to honor him,” Hugh says.

After being available exclusively on Disney+ for its 31st season, the show returns to its home on ABC.

It’s not the only obvious change in the ballroom, as viewers will see Hawke’s sister Julianne join its permanent cast. Julian also won the competition – twice – with star partners, was a guest judge in 2013, and then became a permanent judge from 2014 to 2017. Now she will serve as co-host alongside season 19 winner Alfonso Ribeiro.

„Jules is an important part of the show. She’s been there since the beginning [became] First double champion. She really set the standard early on,” explains Huff. „She can speak from experience on the show. [as a pro and judge]. She is going to add a lot of value. It will be wonderful.”

Like many reality TV series, „Dancing with the Stars” has seen success with an all-star format that invites former contestants to compete again for the Mirrorball trophy.

„When I did the All-Star season with Shawn Johnson, we finished second,” Hough says. „That was honestly one of my favorite seasons, I was just devastated.” A way to tap into that pride? The second All-Stars season is looking to enlist „some OGs” like Season 3 runner-up Mario Lopez or his Season 18 partner Amy Purdy.

One form of series that Hook believes will provide an „awesome” shakeup is one full of mirrorball winners — like „Survivor: Winners at War” or „Ruball’s Drag Race All Stars” Season 7. „I think it’s going to be a really competitive season,” says Hook.

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He thinks there have been conversations about a winner-takes-all season of „Dancing with the Stars,” but isn’t sure how serious they were.

When asked to assemble his own cast for the fantasy all-winners season, Hough named his former partners Bindi Irwin and Nicole Scherzinger. „I think Rashad Jennings would love to come back,” Huck says. „Tony Osmond, I know he’d love to come back too. Jordan Fisher was fantastic too.

Could we see host and Mirrorball champion Ribeiro throw on his dancing shoes once again for a chance to become the series’ first celebrity dual champion? „No, not now,” he confirms. „Alphonsa is a host now, so he can’t come back!”

What about Hugh himself? Could he see himself giving up his scoring paddles to put another celebrity in the winner’s circle? „I feel like I did it: I literally squeezed the juice out of it, if you will,” Huck says. „I want to be a judge.”

„I would never say never, because at the end of the day, I want to entertain, I want to act, and if it’s something the audience wants to see…” Huff trails off.

„Never say you can’t.”

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