Derek Hough and Nastia Liukin were already a judges’ favorite when the Dancing With the Stars pro took a nasty tumble. Breaking one toe and spraining the opposite ankle, Hough had to sit out the competition last week. Liukin seemed no worse for wear and got the highest score of the night with Hough’s backup, Sasha Farber.
Hough revealed on his TV Guide blog Wednesday that sitting on the sidelines isn’t easy. He continues to choreograph routines but can’t perform the moves. Nastia has experienced her own frustration, as she sometimes gets conflicting instruction from Hough and Farber.
“I choreograph to feeling — the way it makes you feel, the momentum — so not being able to feel it and do it was awful. It’s a new muscle to get used to. It’s also frustrating for Nastia because I’ll say something and Sasha will say something different, so she’d be like, ‘Wait a minute, what should I do?’ So sometimes I’ll just step outside for a second because I have to know when I’m being productive and counterproductive, and not let my frustration of not being able to dance bleed into Nastia.”
Derek is no longer on crutches, but he is not yet ready to dance. The Daily Mail snapped a few pictures of Hough heading into a Dancing With the Stars rehearsal on Thursday, and noted that he seemed to wince as he took strides. In his blog, Hough said he’s trying to do the right thing and not push his body before his injuries are fully healed.
Hough also expressed disappointment that Mark Ballas — whom he calls his “brother,” as they were raised together — and his partner Willow Shields were eliminated. He said the pair had much yet to accomplish in terms of performance and choreography.
In an interview with KTLA, Liukin talked about Derek’s injury and Sasha as a replacement.
“We’re making the best out of it… Working with Derek… I’ve gotten used to the way that he moves and the way that he helps me move… Sasha’s been amazing too for helping us and really stepping in and filling Derek’s shoes, which are hard to fill.”
She also expressed surprise that Ballas and Shields went home last Monday, considering how impressed all the contestants had been with the 14-year-old’s accomplishments.
“Such a shock, I think to everybody… She goes out there and performs like an adult… [When she was eliminated] we all had tears in our eyes.”
Dancing With the Stars airs Monday on ABC.
[Derek Hough image courtesy of Getty]