Derek Hough

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Derek Hough
Derek Hough.JPG
Hough in 2011
Born (1985-05-17) May 17, 1985 (age 30)
Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.
Occupation Dancer, choreographer, singer, songwriter, actor
Years active 2007–present
Relatives Julianne Hough
Awards Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography:
Dancing with the Stars (2013, 2015)

Derek Hough (/ˈhʌf/; born May 17, 1985)[1] is an American professional Latin and ballroom dancer, choreographer, actor, singer, and songwriter. He is known for his work, since September 2007, on the ABC dance-competition series Dancing with the Stars, on which he has won a record six seasons. He has won two Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Choreography for several routines that he choreographed for the show.

Hough starred in various stage productions such as in the 2006 original production of Footloose: The Musical at the Novelo Theatre in London's West End, as well as the 2015 New York Spring Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. He also starred in Make Your Move, a 2013 Romeo and Juliet-inspired South Korean-American independent dance film. In 2014, he guest appeared on ABC's musical drama Nashville.

Early life[edit]

Derek Hough grew up the fourth of five children in a Latter-day Saint (Mormon) family in Sandy, Utah, a suburb of Salt Lake City.[2] He is the son of Marianne and Bruce Hough, and has four sisters, Sharee, Marabeth, Katherine, and Julianne.[3] All of his grandparents were dancers, and his parents met while on a ballroom dancing team in college in Idaho. He is a cousin to Riker, Rydel, Rocky, and Ross Lynch from R5.[4]

When Hough was 12, his parents sent him to London to live and study with dance coaches Corky and Shirley Ballas. Hough's sister Julianne joined him in London several months later. Originally intending to stay for a year, Hough remained in London for ten years. (Julianne returned after five years.) The Ballases helped tutor the two Hough children alongside their own son, Mark Ballas, schooling them at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts. They received training in song, theater, gymnastics, and many forms of dance, including jazz, ballet, and tap. The three children formed their own pop music trio 2B1G ("2 Boys, 1 Girl") and performed at dance competitions in the UK and the U.S., and showcased UK television show.[5][6]

Derek subsequently taught at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts.[3][7]

Hough and his sister Julianne Hough at the 2014 Kaleidoscope Ball

Dancing career[edit]

Hough is a former IDSF World Youth Latin Champion (2002) as well as a Blackpool U-21 Latin title (2003) for Poland with Aneta Piotrowska. He has won the LA Outstanding Dancer of the Year and the New York Dance Alliance Outstanding Dance awards.[6]

Hough is one of Bruno Tonioli's panelists on BBC One's DanceX, the first episode of which aired on July 14, 2007.[8] Hough choreographed and performed in Cheryl Cole's Parachute music video, after being introduced to her by Tonioli.[citation needed]

On April 18, 2013, Hough announced that he had started working with world champion ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White[9] on a number for their short dance program that had to contain quickstep and foxtrot rhythms.[10][11] Davis and White went on to win the gold medal in the Sochi Olympics with the routine. About this opportunity, Hough said:

I started working on a very special routine that's not for the show [Dancing with the Stars]. I'm choreographing a number for our world champion ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White to perform at the Olympics next year. They graciously asked me to do it and how could I say no? It's truly an honor and they're amazing.[9]

On September 22, 2013, for the first time, the category for Outstanding Choreography for the Emmy Awards was moved to the Primetime Live Show, and all of the nominees in the category were to create and perform a number with the host of the show, Neil Patrick Harris. Hough, who was nominated for Dancing with the Stars, was part of that number, along with the other nominees.[12] Ken Ehrlich, the executive producer of the show, stated, "It's definitely going to be an original number, something that hasn't been done before. It's going to utilize the talents of all of them to put this number together as choreographers."[13] Hough then went on to win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography.[14] On September 12, 2015, Hough won his second Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography, alongside Julianne Hough and Tessandra Chavez. This was both Julianne Hough's and Chavez's first Emmy win for outstanding choreography.[15]

On March 18, 2014, Hough, along with his sister, Julianne, announced a summer tour to over 40 cities across the U.S. and Canada, called "Move Live on Tour", which would include dancing and singing from both of them.[16] The tour kicked off on May 25, 2014 in Park City, Kansas, and for the choreography of the tour, they worked with Nappytabs.[17] Due to the success and the show being sold out in many cities before the tour even started, the Houghs decided to add one more show in Los Angeles (their final stop on July 26, 2014), which had also been sold out.[18] Following the success of the 2014 tour and high demand, the Hough's announced the return of "Move Live on Tour" in the summer of 2015. Spanning from late June to early August, the sold out tour visited over 40 cities throughout the nation.[19]

Dancing with the Stars[edit]

Hough made his first appearance on Dancing with the Stars in season four (week 6) as a guest instructor with Julianne and Apolo Anton Ohno.[20] He then joined the cast of professional instructors in season five and was paired with Jennie Garth.[21] Hough and Garth were eliminated in the semi-finals finishing the competition in fourth place.[22]

For season six, Hough was paired with actress Shannon Elizabeth.[23] They were eliminated from the show on April 29, 2008, finishing the competition in sixth place.[24]

For season seven, Hough was partnered with model/TV host Brooke Burke.[25] In rehearsal on October 4, 2008, Hough tripped and fell, hitting his head on the floor and momentarily blacked out. He was sent to the hospital, but sustained no injuries.[26] Hough and Burke earned the mirror ball trophy and won season seven on November 25, 2008.[27]

For season eight, Hough was paired with rapper Lil' Kim.[28] They were eliminated on May 5, 2009, from the show finishing in fifth place.[29]

For season nine, Hough was partnered with model Joanna Krupa.[30] They were eliminated during week nine, the semi-finals, on November 17, 2009, finishing fourth.[31]

For season ten, Hough was partnered with Nicole Scherzinger, the lead singer from the singing group Pussycat Dolls and former member of Eden's Crush.[32] The couple reaced to the finals and won the competition on May 25, 2010.[33] That was the second win for Hough.

For season eleven, Hough won for the third time with actress Jennifer Grey, known for her film roles on Dirty Dancing and Ferris Bueller's Day Off, on November 23, 2010.[34]

Hough did not participate in season 12 in order to be a part of the film COBU 3D (later renamed to Make your Move 3D).[35] For season 13, he was partnered with actress and TV host Ricki Lake, known playing the original Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray.[36] Lake scored consistently high the whole season and ended up in third place.[37]

For season 14, Hough partnered with television personality Maria Menounos.[38] In week seven, the couple earned the first 30 of the season and topped the leader board the first time in the season.[39] The couple made it to the semi-finals but were eliminated after they finished at the top of the leader board.[40] Menounos became the second celebrity in Dancing with the Stars history to be eliminated on a night where she came in first place with the judges (the first was Willa Ford in season three).[citation needed]

For season 15 (All Stars), Hough was paired with season eight champion, Shawn Johnson.[41] They were runners-up to Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani.[42]

On July 27, 2012 Hough announced that season 15 would be his last, calling it his "last hurrah".[43] Few months later, on February 22, 2013, Hough announced that he would be back for season 16, stating on his Twitter account, "Wasn’t sure if I was able to do this season because of my other projects, but worked it out so I can do both. #pumped.".[44] He was partnered with country singer and former American Idol contestant, Kellie Pickler.[45] On May 21, 2013, Pickler was crowned season 16 champion, marking the fourth time Derek won the Mirror Ball trophy, and made him the only pro to have won four Mirror Balls.[46]

On August 2, 2013, Hough confirmed that he would be back for season 17 via an interview with Access Hollywood.[47] The cast for season 17 was announced on September 4, 2013. Hough's partner for season 17 was Glee star Amber Riley.[48][49] Riley was crowned season 17 champion, historically marking the fifth time Hough has won the Mirror Ball trophy, and made him once again the only pro to have won five Mirror Balls.[50]

For season 18, Hough was paired with paralympic snowboarder, Amy Purdy.[51] In the finale on May 20, 2014, the couple was runner-up for the season, behind Meryl Davis and her partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy.[52]

On August 13, 2014, ABC announced that Hough would be back for the season 19[53][54] and in September, it was announced that he would be paired with YouTube personality Bethany Mota.[55]

On February 24, 2015, Hough was announced as one of the returning professional dancers on season 20 despite previously reporting he would not be taking part in this season. He was partnered with gymnast Nastia Liukin.[56] They made it to the semi-finals, but were subsequently eliminated on May 12, 2015, finishing in fourth place.[57]

For season 21, he was paired with wildlife conservationist and daughter of the late Steve Irwin, Bindi Irwin.[58] The couple made it to the finals and won the competition on November 24, 2015, marking Hough's sixth win as a professional.

Celebrity partners[edit]

Season Partner Place Average
5 Jennie Garth 4th 25.7
6 Shannon Elizabeth 6th 24.5
7 Brooke Burke 1st 27.1
8 Lil' Kim 5th 25.8
9 Joanna Krupa 4th 25.5
10 Nicole Scherzinger 1st 27.5
11 Jennifer Grey 1st 27.2
13 Ricki Lake 3rd 26.7
14 Maria Menounos 4th 26.8
15 Shawn Johnson 2nd 27.9
16 Kellie Pickler 1st 27.4
17 Amber Riley 1st 27.8
18 Amy Purdy 2nd 27.9
19 Bethany Mota 4th 36.3
20 Nastia Liukin 4th 36.6
21 Bindi Irwin 1st 27.9

Performance history[edit]

Season 5: celebrity partner Jennie Garth; average: 25.6; placed: 4th

Season 6: celebrity partner: Shannon Elizabeth; average: 24.5; placed: 6th

Season 7: celebrity partner: Brooke Burke; average: 27.1; placed: 1st

Season 8: celebrity partner: Lil' Kim; average: 25.8; placed: 5th

Season 9: celebrity partner: Joanna Krupa; average: 25.5; placed: 4th

Season 10: celebrity partner: Nicole Scherzinger; average: 27.5; placed: 1st

Season 11: celebrity partner: Jennifer Grey; average: 27.2; placed: 1st

Season 13: celebrity Partner: Ricki Lake; Average: 26.7; Placed: 3rd

Season 14: celebrity partner: Maria Menounos; average: 26.8; placed: 4th

Season 15: celebrity partner: Shawn Johnson; average: 27.9; Placed: 2nd

Season 16: Celebrity partner: Kellie Pickler; average: 27.4; placed: 1st

Season 17: Celebrity partner: Amber Riley; average: 27.8 ; placed: 1st

Season 18: Celebrity partner: Amy Purdy; average: 27.9 ; placed: 2nd

Season 19: Celebrity partner: Bethany Mota average: 36.3; placed: 4th

Season 20: Celebrity partner: Nastia Liukin average: 36.6; placed: 4th

Season 21: celebrity partner Bindi Irwin; average: 27.9; placed: 1st


  • Hough is the only professional dancer to win six Mirror Ball Trophies, and the first who achieved back-to-back wins twice.[60] He has earned 48 perfect scores and 249 perfect 10s over the seasons. (The perfect score and tens Johnson got with Ballas and the perfect scores Liukin got with Farber are not included.)
  • The only professional who never lost a team/group dance that he was part of during the seasons, until Season 21; he has 12 wins, one tie and one loss.
  • The only professional dancer to score a perfect 10 with each one of his celebrity partners.[60]
  • The only professional dancer to score a perfect score (40/40) with his celebrity partner during Switch-Up week in Season 21 with Alexa PenaVega.
  • The only professional to be the Creative Director for Macy's Stars of Dance and to choreograph for it three times in season 18.[61][62][63]
  • Won Macy's Stars of Dance: Design-a-Dance four out of eight times (in seasons 7,[64] 8,[65] 11,[66] and 13,[67] sharing the honor in season 8).
  • The only professional to receive 9 perfects scores (30s/40s) in one season (season 21) with Bindi Irwin and Alexa Vega.
  • Holds the record for earning the most perfect scores (8) with a celebrity partner (Bindi Irwin) in one season (season 21).
  • The only professional with 7 Emmy nominations for Outstanding Choreography.
  • The only professional with 2 Emmy wins for Outstanding Choreography on Dancing With The Stars. (He is the only Emmy winning professional on the show).
  • Advanced to the DWTS finals 10 times and made trips to the semi-finals 14 times out of 16 seasons on the show. This is far more proportionally than any other professional.
  • The only professional who has taken all his multiple partners past the halfway mark in the competition. Out of 16 partners, he has taken 14 to week 9 or beyond.
  • Hough and Riley, his dance partner for season 17, got a 27 in the first week of competition, dancing the Cha cha. This is the highest score ever given in the first week on the show. It was only given once in the past to Kristi Yamaguchi and Mark Ballas on season six, when they danced the foxtrot. Later, on season 18, Charlie White also got the same score for his first dance. In season 19, Alfonso Ribeiro got the same score for his first dance.


Hough starred as Ren in the 2006 original cast production of Footloose: The Musical at the Novelo Theatre in London's West End, as well as on the 2006 UK national tour.[68] Hough's West End performance earned him a nomination as The Stuart Phillips London Newcomer of the Year in the Theatregoers' Choice Awards.[69] Hough made his Broadway debut on January 8, 2010, starring with Kym Johnson and Mary Murphy in Burn the Floor for the final four performances of the show's Broadway run.[70]

Hough's other theatre work include playing the lead in Jesus Christ Superstar at the Millfield Theatre, and dancing in the company in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium.[71]

Hough made two cameo appearances; one in 2001 in the movie Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone[72] and one in 2012 in the movie Rock of Ages, where his sister Julianne was playing the female lead role.[73] In 2011, Hough took one season break from Dancing with the Stars to star in his first movie Make Your Move (original title Cobu 3D)[35] that premiered three years later, on March 31, 2014 in Los Angeles.[74]

On April 25, 2011, Hough made a guest appearance on the ABC show Better with You as a dance instructor.[75] On August 14, 2014, it was announced that Hough would join the cast of the ABC TV series Nashville for a multi-episode arc as Noah West.[76][77]

On January 13, 2015, it was announced that Hough would appear in the New York Spring Spectacular, at Radio City Music Hall.[78][79] Due to the production, it was announced that Hough would not return for the 10th anniversary of Dancing with the Stars, however, during the cast announcement, Hough and partner Nastia Liukin were revealed as surprise contestants.[80]


Hough was founding member of the Ballas Hough Band (formerly Almost Amy) and he shared lead vocals, played guitar and had several songwriting credits on the band's self-titled debut CD that was released by Hollywood Records in March 2009.[81]

Hough directed Mark Ballas' music video for his song "Get My Name" that was released on MTV on May 14, 2014.[82][83][84]

Hough's first book Taking the Lead: Lessons from a Life in Motion came out on August 5, 2014[85][86] and managed to enter The New York Times Best Seller list on August 24, 2014.[87]

Along with Ballas, Hough bought a house in order to flip it for profit. The process of the home renovation will be broadcast as a four episode series on HGTV and it will be called Mark & Derek's Excellent Flip. The show is due to air in the early 2015.[88][89]

Personal life[edit]

Hough dated India de Beaufort from 2000 until 2008.[90] In 2008, he began dating actress/model Shannon Elizabeth, after they met each other as partners on Dancing With the Stars. Their relationship lasted until August 2009.[91] Hough's subsequent relationships have included Cheryl Cole (2010–11) and Nina Dobrev (2013).[90][92][93][94]

Hough is an avid animal lover and can often be spotted out with his rescue dog Romie.[95]

On February 22, 2014, Hough was part of the "Bust a Move" event for breast health that took place in Ottawa, Canada, where he led a fitness session.[96] During the event, $1,048,258.60 was raised for breast cancer.[97]


Film roles
Year Title Role Notes
2001 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Hogwarts schoolboy Uncredited role
2012 Rock of Ages Cameo appearance
2013 Make Your Move 3D Donny The movie's first title was Cobu 3D
Television appearances
Year Title Role Notes
2007 DanceX Himself Panelist; BBC One channel
2007–present Dancing with the Stars Himself 6-time winner; 2-time Emmy winner
2011 Better With You Philip (dance instructor) Episode: "Better With Dancing"
2011 When I Was 17 Himself MTV; season 2, episode 35
2013 Family Dance Off Himself/Host ABC
2014 Nashville Noah West Recurring role; 3 episodes
2015 Mark & Derek's Excellent Flip Himself HGTV; 4 episode series
Music videos
Year Title Role Notes
2008 "That Song in My Head" Cameo appearance Artist: Julianne Hough
Single: "That Song in My Head"
2009 "99 Times" Principal male Artist: Kate Voegele
Album: A Fine Mess
2009 "Download" Artist: Lil' Kim
Single: "Download"
2010 "Parachute" Main dancer Artist: Cheryl Cole
Album: 3 Words
2013 "Someone Somewhere Tonight" Main dancer Artist: Kellie Pickler
Single: "Someone Somewhere Tonight"
2014 "Get My Name" Director Artist: Mark Ballas
Single: "Get My Name"


Year Title Role Notes
2004 Jesus Christ Superstar Jesus Christ Amateur production at Millfield Theatre
2005 Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Ensemble West End debut
London Palladium
2006 Footloose: The Musical Ren McCormack UK national tour and West End at Novello Theatre
2010 Burn the Floor Replacement Dancer Longacre Theatre
2015 New York Spring Spectacular Jack Radio City Music Hall; March 26 – May 3

Awards and honors[edit]

Hough is a two-time Emmy winner for Outstanding Choreography and has earned seven Emmy Award nominations in total for his work on Dancing with the Stars.

On April 10, 2014, Hough and his sister, Julianne, were honored at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA's second annual Kaleidoscope Ball with the Kaleidoscope Award, an award that is given to people of the entertainment industry who bring light and laughter into the lives of children through their professional achievements and personal humanitarianism.[98][99]

On October 17, 2014, GLSEN, during its annual Respect Awards, honored Hough with the year's Inspiration Award.[100]

Year Association Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2009 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Choreography "Great Balls on Fire" (with Julianne Hough) Nominated [101]
2010 "Living on Video"/"Anything Goes" Nominated [102]
"Malaguena" (with Chelsie Hightower) Nominated
2013 "Hey Pachuco"/"Para Los Rumberos"/"Walking on Air" Won [103]
"Stars"/"Heart Cry" (with Alison Holker) Nominated
2014 UCLA Kaleidoscope Award Derek and Julianne Hough Honored [98]
Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding choreography "Human"/"Too Darn Hot"/"Ameksa" Nominated [104]
Young Hollywood Awards Hottest Body Won [105][106]
Best Bromance Derek and Mark Ballas Nominated [105]
GLSEN Inspiration Award Honored [100]
2015 Reality Television Awards Outstanding Performance Derek and Amy Purdy Nominated [107]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Dancer Nominated [108]
Industry Dance Awards America's Favorite Choreographer Won [109]
America's Favorite TV/Film Performance "Elastic Heart" (with Julianne Hough & Tessandra Chavez) Won [109]
Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Choreography "Elastic Heart" (with Julianne Hough & Tessandra Chavez) Won [110]
2015 World Choreography Awards Television Live Performance "MKTO’s Classic" (with Christopher Scott; Hough listed as co-choreographer) Won [111]


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External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Kristi Yamaguchi & Mark Ballas
Donny Osmond & Kym Johnson
Nicole Scherzinger & Derek Hough
Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani
Kellie Pickler & Derek Hough

Rumer Willis & Val Chmerkovskiy

Dancing with the Stars (US) winner
Season 7 (Fall 2008 with Brooke Burke)
Season 10 (Spring 2010 with Nicole Scherzinger)
Season 11 (Fall 2010 with Jennifer Grey)
Season 16 (Spring 2013 with Kellie Pickler)
Season 17 (Fall 2013 with Amber Riley)

Season 21 (Fall 2015 with Bindi Irwin)

Succeeded by
Shawn Johnson & Mark Ballas
Jennifer Grey & Derek Hough
Hines Ward & Kym Johnson
Amber Riley & Derek Hough
Meryl Davis & Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Preceded by
Katherine Jenkins & Mark Ballas
Corbin Bleu & Karina Smirnoff
Dancing with the Stars (US) runner up
Season 15 (Fall 2012 with Shawn Johnson)
Season 18 (Spring 2014 with Amy Purdy)
Succeeded by
Zendaya & Val Chmerkovskiy
Sadie Robertson & Mark Ballas
Preceded by
Chelsea Kane & Mark Ballas
Dancing with the Stars (US) third place contestant
Season 13 (Fall 2011 with Ricki Lake)
Succeeded by
William Levy & Cheryl Burke
Preceded by
Ian Ziering & Cheryl Burke
Ty Murray & Chelsie Hightower
Hope Solo & Maksim Chmerkovskiy
James Maslow & Peta Murgatroyd
Bethany Mota & Derek Hough
Dancing with the Stars (US) semi-finalist
Season 5 (Fall 2007 with Jennie Garth)
Season 9 (Fall 2009 with Joanna Krupa)
Season 14 (Spring 2012 with Maria Menounos)
Season 19 (Fall 2014 with Bethany Mota)
Season 20 (Spring 2015 with Nastia Lukin)
Succeeded by
Marisa Winokur & Tony Dovolani
Chad Ochocinco & Cheryl Burke
Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke
Nastia Lukin & Derek Hough
Carlos PenaVega & Witney Carson
Preceded by
Maurice Greene & Cheryl Burke
Dancing with the Stars (US) quarter-finalist
Season 8 (Spring 2009 with Lil' Kim)
Succeeded by
Aaron Carter & Karina Smirnoff