At The Top Of His Game: Derek Hough

“I was created to create.”

Derek Hough is at the top of his game. He turned out TikTok content like a master while on lockdown, he recently returned from an incredible trip to Africa, he has a Las Vegas show opening in September, and he just received two more Emmy nominations. That brings Hough to 11 nominations and 2 Emmys, “to be nominated for two Emmy awards, it’s wild, in a year that seemed like nothing was going to happen, it’s pretty amazing, I’m thankful and humbled.”

He’s especially thankful for Dancing with the Stars, “I’ve been so fortunate to have this platform that allows me to dream big, and come up with crazy ideas like a rotating room… or I say, I need to have this lighting or this music… to have a platform and be able to have those visions be manifested, it really is a blessing I’m so thankful. I can only take some of the credit for it, it definitely takes a village.”

Hough says he had no idea his life would take this path. As a kid, he wanted to be a rockstar and play in a rock band. Once he started on Dancing with the Stars, the reaction to his choreography made him think, “people were like, I really like your choreography, and I never saw myself like that at all, then I thought, oh wait I know what I’m doing, I need to trust my instincts, this is real!” Now he is a rockstar in his own way. He says, “it’s kinda cool because I’m able to sort of live out that dream but through dance and my live shows, and I really do feel like I’m able to rock out, that’s how I describe my shows, it’s like a rock concert but for dance.”

That’s exactly what you’ll get when Hough kicks off his new show at The Venetian Las Vegas in the fall. But, he’s hitting all the genres, from rock and roll to big band. He’s covering the gamut, “I have a Michael Bublé song in there and he was kind enough to send me the stems from his band. It’s going to have many styles, it takes you on the journey.” Hough has hand-picked all the dancers and he will dance and sing in the show.

Now, let’s talk about life and love. What does Derek Hough do with his free time? He says he’s usually on an adventure or doing yard work. Yes, you read that right, “I’m doing something active… wake surfing, hiking or chilling with my animals at home, relaxing, gardening, watering plants, leaf blowing the driveway, and making sure it’s clean… I love doing yard work I love being outside.”

He also spends time with his longtime girlfriend, Hayley Erbert. Hough says, “we have this little thing, an adventure challenge… it’s a scratch card, you basically just scratch the thing off and it gives you a date… it’s like alright go to the grocery store, buy this, go home, cook it, blindfold one person or something.. it’s a fun way to switch it up a little bit!” Here’s Hough’s advice on creating a successful relationship. He says mentors are important, “there’s so much information, so much wisdom out there you can find on YouTube and on the internet, so for me, my advice would be to listen to things, that’s what I’ve done, I listen to relationship experts and listen to people like Esther Perel or other people… I’ve learned so many tools and tips and just habits of things to strengthen relationships and work through things… seek out wisdom and knowledge from these amazing people who are offering it for free and take it in.”

Like many of us, Hough watched a lot of television during the pandemic. He says he watched more TV than he did in 10 years. He loves Marvel, and superhero shows and movies.

Hough can’t wait to be with people again, he knows his calling is to perform LIVE. He says he has a lot of pent-up energy, and he really just wants to bring people joy. Hough’s Las Vegas show starts on September 22nd and tickets are on sale now.

Photos By Corey Fox

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