Dancing’s Derek Hough: I Knew We Were Going Home

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Derek Hough | Photo Credits: Craig Sjodin/ABC

Hey everyone!

Thanks for all your votes and messages!

I know a lot of you are upset we’re not in the final, but fourth place is great! Nothing to sneeze at, especially after everything that happened this season. I knew we were going home Monday night. I could tell watching the show, the packages, the way they pieced everything together. It’s a feeling, the energy of the room. It was an amazing show, probably one of the best we’ve ever had with all the judges’ dances, and my intuition kicked in. We had a very special week and dance with Len. That last dance was just otherworldly and it just felt like a last dance for us. I told Nastia yesterday, “I think we think we’re going home today, babe.” I told her to be proud of herself. This season was an absolute of a juggernaut to take on between our schedules and me getting injured. And she was really proud of us and most importantly herself. The beginning of the season for her was about top scores, things like that. I told her it wasn’t about the score, but the memories and the moments, and she got it. I think that last dance was a perfect example of that.

To be completely honest, I feel like in a way, we sort of got eliminated last week with that package. Like I said last week, when I saw that, I was like, “Oh wow, that was a complete left field,” especially when you know it’s so not reality. That was a terrible representation journey of our week. And to see that, it was like, “I see what’s going on here.” I’m not blaming the show or anyone for our elimination — we’ve all had bad packages — but I’ve been around here a long time! I know how everything works. I wasn’t angry or upset, just disappointed, like I said last week. But, you know, I’m not in control here. All I could do was come up with good dances.

I think the thing I’m most disappointed in is that I don’t think people truly saw what Nastia and our relationship were like. We did have a great heart-to-heart last week, but we’ve always been close. Out of all my partners, Nastia has always been the most affectionate toward me. I’m not even exaggerating. She’s an amazing friend — and nurse! She was always asking me if I needed ice. She was constantly giving me water. She played nurse on top of juggling two partners. It’s those moments, that tenderness and heart — there was so more beauty to show, but they went for the cheap shot. I feel bad for that. But it is what it is. You can’t control it.

I know there’s a lot of debate about whether Noah’s proposal earned him more votes. Maybe it did, maybe it didn’t. It doesn’t matter because people vote for a variety of reasons besides dancing. I’m not surprised he’s in the final at all. I wanted to vote for Noah! There was this moment in the paso when he looked up intensely and closed his fist, and I was just like, “That was amazing!” In that moment, I was like, “He’s going to the final.” That was the overwhelming feeling for them Monday. It was just very emotional. I guess you can say ours was emotional too, but I think while our last dance was special, the energy was different. I can’t really explain it better than that. We’ve all been in situations like that where you just know and I’ve been doing this for far too long to not know!

I’m not gonna lie — there was also a sense of relief at going home. It’s not upset or disappointment. Both Nastia and I feel that way. I’m a competitor. I want to do good work. I had some things planned for the finale that would’ve really pushed me and I may or may not have injured myself even more. So now, it’s like a blessing in disguise that we’re not gonna take that risk. We’re both proud of what we’ve accomplished this season together and with Sasha’s and Henry’s help — especially Sasha. He was a godsend! I think that’s the thing that can get lost in eliminations because the prevailing sentiment is disappointment and sadness at not winning. But I think anyone who’s been on the show will say that, after some time and distance, when they look back, they’re proud of what they did on the show. I mean, just look at the 10th anniversary special. You can’t look back without anything but pride. It’s like, “Wow, we did this.”

Maybe I also jinxed us by mentioning our freestyle song last week! What ended up happening was I ran into the girl who sings the song, so I asked if she would perform it on the finale if we make it and she said yes. Then something came up and she couldn’t do it, and we got eliminated so it’s moot, but she said she’s down to do it next season. I don’t know for sure yet if I’m coming back next season. That’s still a few months away and I’m not looking that far ahead yet. I still have two more seasons in my contract, so we’ll see.

Nastia and I will be on the finale. I don’t know what, if anything, we’ll be doing yet. I think it’s gonna be a great finale. It’s kind of awesome because you’ve got three professionals who’ve never won before, and they’re relatively new or newer pros. It’s funny, I kind of feel like the old man a bit. I guess I am since I’ll be 30 this weekend! But last night, after the show, I sent Val, Sharna and Allison a message. It said: Congratulations, guys. Go get ’em! Don’t panic. Stay calm in this potentially stressful week. Pressure doesn’t exist. Only we can create pressure for ourselves. Enjoy this celebratory week and create some stellar memories for Season 20. We are blessed to have the opportunity to create on such a beautiful stage. Lead with gratitude and the creativity will flow.

I think they all really feel like they have a shot and I think they do. I think depending on how the week goes, I just know, based on what’s happened in the past, people get in their heads and they get stressed out and put a lot of pressure on themselves and they fall apart. I kind of just wanted to give them some advice and put my two cents in. It’s a competition, but there’s no need to stress out over it. Just have fun and the creativity with come.

What’s next for me is the MOVE tour with Julianne. It starts June 12 in Phoenix and I will absolutely be ready to go. It’s gonna be a grueling, grueling show, but I’ll be ready and raring to go and kick some butt.

Speaking of kicking butt, Julianne destroyed me on Lip Sync Battle! Our episode airs Thursday… and I can’t even. She sang the most inappropriate song. No brother should have to sit and watch that! It was so inappropriate and it was just so bad! She did great, but oh, my God! But here’s the thing: As much as I hated it, I had a lot of respect for her. I would never have the balls to do something like that — just something so inappropriate and be so confident about it. What I love about it is that she was like, “Hey, this is my sense of humor. I find this song funny and this show is not serious, so I’m gonna go and do it.” As soon as she started singing, I was like, “I’m leaving!” She played dirty!

Thanks for reading again this season! Hope to see you all this summer!


VIDEO: How well do Derek and Nastia know each other?

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