Derek Hough is done with Dancing With the Stars—for now, anyway. Hough dropped the news to E! News during NBC’s summer Television Critics Association Press tour, revealing that while he won’t be a part of DWTS Season 23, he’s not closing the door on the ABC celebrity ballroom competition for good.
“I’m not one for closing chapters in that way, especially for something that’s so important to me, and that’s been like family for so many years,” Derek told E! “So, for me in my mind, that door is always open, and we’ll see!”
While Derek won’t be a pro dancer on the upcoming cycle of Dancing With the Stars, he will be showing off his moves as Corny Collins in NBC’s next live musical, Hairspray Live! Hough’s character is described as an eccentric “song-and-dance-man” who hosts the TV show every teen in Baltimore wants to be on.
Of course, even though he’s a six-time mirrorball champion, Derek Hough has some big shoes to fill in the live TV musical arena. Derek told Entertainment Tonight that his sister, Julianne Hough, has set the bar high after her performance as Sandy on Fox’s Grease: Live earlier this year.
“Grease definitely raised the bar as far as the way it was shot and the way it was done,” Derek told ET. “And for this musical, it kind of lends itself to that similar style, I suppose.”
Like his sister’s TV musical, Derek Hough’s Hairspray will utilize Universal’s backlot in Universal City, California, and the December weather could play a factor in the live performance. (Fans may recall Grease: Live was marred by rainy weather for the outdoor shots, but the show went on without a hitch.)
“We have a great team, amazing directors, amazing camera operators,” Hough told ET.
The pro dancer added that “they’re actually building a studio for us just for this.”
“We were at Universal Studios the other day and it was this frame of a studio — nothing there yet, so we’re going to be christening this brand new place,” Derek added.
Derek Hough last appeared on Dancing With the Stars in Season 21, when he took home his sixth mirrorball trophy with partner Bindi Irwin. No DWTS pro has even come close to winning as many trophies as Hough. Derek Hough is also the only Emmy winner on the DWTS pro dancer cast.
Derek Hough won an Emmy Award for Best Choreography for two routines he choreographed during the Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars season: “Hey Pachuco,” and “Para Los Rumberos,” as well as “Walking on Air” from the show’s 16th season. Hough’s Emmy-winning routines were performed with celeb partner Shawn Johnson on All-Stars, while his “Walking On Air” performance—a Macy’s Stars of Dance special— mystified fans as Derek channeled Fred Astaire’s iconic “ceiling dance” from the 1951 movie Royal Wedding.
Hough told Variety that Astaire prepared for his famous scene for months, while he only had a short time to choreograph and rehearse it.
“Fred Astaire had months to prepare and weeks to film that one scene. I was given three days. And not only just three days – three days in which I was also doing full routines with my partner, Kellie Pickler…I would wake up at 6 in the morning and rehearse with the box – the rotating room – for a couple of hours and work with Kellie Pickler all day and go back and work on the box routine. It was like 16- or 17-hour days that week and pretty intense, but when it all goes through it’s a wonderful feeling.”
While Dancing With the Stars fans will miss Derek Hough in the fall season of the show, they can look forward to seeing a clean-shaven Derek in Hairspray Live! later this year. In addition to Hough, Hairspray Live! will star newcomer Maddie Baillio, as well as Harvey Fierstein, Jennifer Hudson, Dove Cameron, Ariana Grande, Martin Short, Kristin Chenoweth, Garrett Clayton, Rosie O’Donnell and Sean Hayes.
Take a look at the video below to see Derek Hough talking about his first table read for Hairspray Live!
[Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]