‘DWTS’: Nastia Liukin In No Rush For Derek Hough To Return After Judges’ Rave Reviews

Nastia Liukin is in no hurry for an injured Derek Hough to return to Dancing with the Stars, and the former gymnast has a good reason to encourage Derek to stay away from the dance floor.

As the Inquisitr previously reported, Derek is nursing a broken toe and a sprained ankle. While the determined pro dancer does everything humanly possible to heal faster, Sasha Farber is filling in as Nastia Liukin’s partner.

During Monday night’s episode of DWTS, the judges gave Nastia and Sasha rave reviews. The judges have been pretty rough on Nastia all season long because she’s struggled to connect with her partner and to display genuine emotion while she dances. However, her Charleston with Sasha was the bee’s knees, and the new dynamic duo’s high-spirited subway ride really hit on all sixes. Nastia and Sasha’s 38 was the highest score of the night, and Nastia really looked like she was having a blast with her new partner (it was like Disney night all over again).

After her first dance with Sasha Farber proved to be such a success, you’d think that Nastia Liukin would want to stick with her new partner. However, while Nastia did recently say that she doesn’t want Derek to rush back to Dancing with the Stars, it’s not because she thinks she has a better chance of winning with Sasha. According to Olympic gold medalist, she’s just worried about Derek pushing too hard before his body is fully healed.

“We’re taking it day by day, and I think that’s really the only way you can really do it,” Nastia told E! News. “But he does have a busy summer, a busy year ahead of him, so I kind of told him, ‘Please don’t rush it. You have so much ahead of you.’ Obviously I would love to dance with him next week, but if he’s not ready enough to do that then we have Sasha, who has been absolutely amazing.”

Weirdly, Derek Hough’s injury might be helping Nastia Liukin in more than one way. Nastia and Derek previously weren’t able to spend a lot of time together because of their conflicting schedules, but Derek has more time to work with Nastia and Sasha now that he can’t dance in the New York Spring Spectacular. Nastia is also skipping school to stay in Los Angeles with Derek.

“Derek will stay in L.A. because he needs to be here for therapy, so all of three of us will be in rehearsal,” Nastia told PEOPLE.

Dancing with two hot guys might also help Nastia — now she essentially has two beloved pro partners to help her score extra votes. Sasha Farber only competed on Dancing with the Stars once, but his sense of humor has made him one of the fans’ favorite DWTS troupe members. Some fans simply might vote for Nastia because they’re excited that Sasha is finally getting another chance to dance with a celebrity. Derek Hough fans also aren’t missing out because he’s dreaming up creative ways to include himself in Nastia and Sasha’s routines.

There’s also a good chance that Nastia Liukin benefited from the judges’ sympathy last night — they seemed impressed by how well she handled switching partners seven weeks into the competition. As ABC News points out, Carrie Ann Inaba even gave Nastia a big hug after her performance. Carrie Ann later praised Nastia in her Parade blog.

“Last night, I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. She was loose, her whole body language was different in this performance. She always executes the moves with near perfect precision, but last night, there was a new looseness and a new personal style that was evident. She was really dancing, not just executing.”

Do you think Nastia Liukin would be better off dancing with Sasha Farber for the rest of the season, or are you hoping that Derek Hough will return to DWTS ASAP?

[Image credit: Derek Hough/Instagram]