Derek Hough To Infuse Dance Moves Into ‘Hairspray Live!’ Role

Derek Hough is set to follow in his sister Julianne Hough’s footsteps, and he may borrow a few of her dance steps, too. Derek, a six-time Dancing with the Stars mirrorball champion, will star in NBC’s live musical Hairspray Live less than one year after his kid sis headlined Fox’s Grease: Live, but Derek’s non-dancing role will get a tweak.

Derek Hough was originally cast in a non-dancing role as “eccentric song and dance man” Corny Collins, a host on the TV show every teen in Baltimore wants to be on. But the DWTS pro dancer told Billboard his version of the character will show off some moves.

“I do dance a bit in it,” Hough revealed. “We’re like, ‘Hey, this version of Corny can move!'”

[Image by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for MPTF]

Hairspray Live is set in 1962 Baltimore, so Derek’s moves will have to be tailored to that time period, with careful attention to detail.

“We watched a documentary about the transition between the ’50s and ’60s, and about dancing, and how the Twist was seen as debauchery,” Derek Hough explained. “So with the dancing here, we want to try to do it in light of that period, and yes, you add your own little thing, but you have to hold back a little bit and keep it sort of in that (more constricted) genre and era.”

While he’s confident about the dance aspects, Derek, who is very much used to live television thanks to his many years on Dancing with the Stars, is a little wary of one aspect of Hairspray: Live. According to The Wrap, nearly half of the live show takes place outside on the streets of Baltimore, which opens producers up to all kinds of logistical issues. Like Grease, Derek Hough and the cast of Hairspray will utilize Universal’s backlot in Universal City, California, for the TV production, so bad weather could play a factor in the live performance. For Grease, rain put a damper on the outdoor shots, but producers had plenty of matching umbrellas on hand.

“We’re shooting a full-length feature film, basically,” Hough told The Wrap. “The geography of this show is massive.”

Derek went on to say his trick is to treat the live performance just like a rehearsal.

“I almost mentally tell myself, ‘OK, I’m just gonna go run through this one more time, and then I’m gonna go home,’ when it’s actually the performance,” Hough said. Derek has three solo performances in the musical: “Nicest Kids In Town,” “Ladies’ Choice,” and “(It’s) Hairspray.”

[Image by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images]

Derek Hough previously told Entertainment Tonight that his sister set the bar high after her performance as Sandy on Fox’s Grease: Live back in January.

Grease definitely raised the bar as far as the way it was shot and the way it was done,” Hough told ET. “And for this musical, it kind of lends itself to that similar style, I suppose.”

Hough also said his sister’s positive words will help him combat his nerves before the live show.

“I actually asked Julianne before Grease, ‘Aren’t you guys nervous?’ And she said, ‘No, we’re ready for this! We want to show people this, we’re ready.’ So I hope we feel that way, too. We’re all still a little nervous but hopefully we’ll be ready,” Derek told Hollywood Life.

In addition to Derek Hough, Hairspray! stars Maddie Baillio, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Kristin Chenoweth, Dove Cameron, Garrett Clayton, and more.

Tune into NBC on Dec. 7 at 8 pm. to see Derek Hough as Corny Collins in Hairspray Live!

[Featured Image by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Brooks Brothers]

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