I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — Derek Hough is the Gene Kelly of today’s generation. The only problem? Aside from Dancing With The Stars, he doesn’t get the credit he’s due. While the ABC show is certainly an impressive platform, I know there’s more for him, and his agents just haven’t found it yet.
Watch his Horror Night tango performance alongside the extremely talented Hayley Erbert (also Derek’s girlfriend) set to “Deadwood/New Blood” by Really Slow Motion/Zayde Wølf.
I’ve been tough on Derek Hough. I consider him to be one of the best dancers of his generation, and I felt he’s degraded his brand with wasted judging stints that take time that would be better served choreographing a Broadway show. It was fine when he was a dancer on Dancing With The Stars because at the very least — we got to see him perform.
When Hough launched his YouTube channel with his longtime girlfriend Hayley Erbert, you can predict my displeasure. It felt silly, not to mention I did not understand the romantic connection. As it turns out, there is quite the connection. Erbert has been one of the troupe dancers on Dancing with the Stars since season 21, and she was also a top-six finalist on season 10 of So You Think You Can Dance. When that you took the stage on Dancing With The Stars, it all became clear. They are both phenomenal dancers — and together they are a force.
There is no bigger fan of Derek Hough than myself. But when today’s news broke that he’ll be joining Ne-Yo and Jennifer Lopez as judges for a new “dance competition that will feature solo artists competing against duos and crews in all genres of dance,” I couldn’t help but feel crestfallen. First, forgive me for wanting to see Hough actually dance rather than sit behind a judging table. I’d have preferred an X Factor format where each judge gets a team and competes with their own choreography. Hough should be choreographing a Broadway play, not doing this. Second, JLO’s judging days seem slightly overplayed. Unless her contribution on another talent show is significantly different than her previous stints, it feels as if she’s doing more talking than creating. Yes, she’s JLO and she can do both, but isn’t this more of a glorified money play than an actual quest to find dance talent. Lastly, I will ask the same question we ask on Passover. Why is this night/show different than other nights/shows? That remains to be seen.
When word broke that Britney Spears’ team ditched David LaChapelle’s video for her new single, “Make Me,” in favor of a concept with a beginning, middle, and end, I thought they were likely correct, especially since clips of the LaChapelle video seemed . . . odd. But the new video isn’t any better. Though I’m a huge fan and she certainly looks great, you can’t help but think of Taylor Swfit’s team, and how each and every one of her videos is high-concept, high-fashion, and extremely creative (see “Blank Space” for example). To quote my music industry friend, Spears’ team “still thinks it’s 2006. To put it simply, her team just isn’t creative. If I were giving Larry Rudolph (her manager) advice, I’d tell him to hire Derek Hough, because he has a history working with just about every temperament, and he pushes boundaries. This dated aesthetic and concept just doesn’t fly today. It’s time to take it to the next level. Sure she can ride her previous horse into the sunset for eternity, but she can also do better. And I hope she does.
If there was ever any doubt about Derek Hough’s domination of Dancing With the Stars, watch his powerful performance of the Argentine Tango. Hough’s captivating choreography was shockingly created during Purdy’s back injury, forcing Purdy to watch as Hough executed the moves with another partner during practice. She therefore had an extremely short period of time to prepare for Monday’s show. If you watch the video below carefully, you’ll notice that Hough designed each move around Purdy’s injury to put less pressure on her back as they performed. He’s an artist.
It doesn’t take a relationship guru to know that if your romance is strained, it’s probably not a good idea to publicly expose its flaws. When Amy Purdy and Derek Hough danced the Rumba on last night’s show, Purdy revealed that it’s difficult to do a “dance of love” when her own long-term relationship is failing. Apparently she can’t meet her partner’s needs and her busy schedule bothers her boyfriend. In fact, these issues have actually been brewing for 1.5 years, which is especially shocking considering her non-marital status. After all, shouldn’t you wait until marriage to be miserable? Watch the video package below, and take special note of how NOT to behave in your relationship, on facebook, and any other public forum. That poor guy.
Dancing With the Stars has upped the ante this year, with professional performances from their seasoned elite, along with modern music choices and more talented stars. While the jury is still out on the bid to regain their ratings, they’ve certainly given it their A-Game. Watch my personal favorite, Derek Hough, perform with a group of very talented dancers for a featured routine.