Talent Recap

Derek Hough’s Best Dances on ‘Dancing With The Stars’

Derek Hough on 'Dancing With the Stars' Season 32 Disney100 NightPhoto by: Disney/Eric McCandless

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Emmy Award winning choreographer and dancer Derek Hough has repeatedly proven his skills in the ballroom on Dancing With The Stars. As a six-time Mirrorball Champion, Hough has cemented his idol status on the show. During Hough’s 17 seasons as a professional dancer, he gave us nothing but the best, always showing off his passion of dance.


Derek Hough’s Best Dances on Dancing With The Stars

10. Jive with Julianne Hough, “Great Balls of Fire”

As part of Macy’s Design-A-Dance contest, Derek Hough and his sister Julianne Hough were voted to perform a jive. Moving to Jerry Lee Lewis’ rock n’ roll classic, the duo did not disappoint in giving fans their striking energy from swift footwork to flawless dancing on top of a piano. With such choreo, it’s no wonder they received an Emmy nomination for “Outstanding Choreography.”

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9. Contemporary with Amy Purdy, “Human”

Perhaps no avid DWTS fan will ever forget how emotional and inspiring Hough and Amy Purdy’s contemporary routine was. This dancing duo left the crowd in tears after dancing to Christina Perri’s “Human.” Their choreography has excellently told a sentimental story, defying the restriction of Purdy’s amputated leg to make their dance special.

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8. Freestyle with Bindi Irwin, “Footprints in the Sand”

During season 21 Finale, Hough and Bindi Irwin seemingly made it a goal to make the whole studio crying. Hough created a dance routine in honor of Irwin’s father, Steve Irwin. Pouring their overflowing emotion in every step, their “Footprints in the Sand” freestyle choreo transcended to the heart of the audience.


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7. Finale Dance by Himself, “Let’s Fall In Love for the Night”

On Season 29, the pandemic prohibited Len Goodman from flying to the US, requiring Hough to step in as judge. During the Finale, Hough danced amongst some of the costumes, sets, and props that made fans reminisce about remarkable moments of the season. Deeming his choreography as “fun,” Hough surely knows how to impress even without a partner alongside him.

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6. Jazz with Amber Riley, “Locked Out of Heaven”

It’s almost common knowledge that Hough and Amber Riley’s partnership is among the most favorite pairs of fans. When they intricately danced jazz to “Locked Out of Heaven,” they’ve effortlessly proven their chemistry. According to Bruno Tonioli, their performance was “out of this world” due to their unbelievable synchronization.

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5. Freestyle with Kellie Pickler, “Beneath Your Beautiful”

Admitting to having been “super super nervous” prior to their performance, Hough and Kellie Pickler have done impressive lifts during the dance. With this choreography, the duo proved that sometimes, fancy props and glamor are not needed for a spectacular performance. 


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4. Rumba with Nicole Scherzinger, “The Lady in Red”

Keeping their rumba steps tricky but entertaining, Hough has brought out a different side of Nicole Scherzinger during this routine. Throughout their dance, the pair has manifested sensuality and passion, leaving the judging panel in extreme awe. Indeed, the lift may have been done too soon, but no one even sees it as a considerable mistake.

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3. Contemporary with Julianne Hough, “Unsteady”

Exuding sibling love amid their routine, Derek and Julianne didn’t miss any chance to stir the crowd. For their contemporary performance, the duo told the story of their separation when their parents decided to divorce. Such routine invited the audience to shed some tears after the two manifested vulnerability through their meticulous choreography.

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2. Freestyle with Jennifer Grey, “Do You Love Me (Now That I Can Dance)”

Showing off how fun freestyle could be, Hough and Jennifer Grey decided to  channel their inner Baby and Johnny. This performance was so enthusiastic that Grey admitted it fueled her passion for dancing.

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1. Paso Doble with Hayley Erbert, “Uccen (The Wolf)”

Joined by Hayley Erbert for an extremely intricate Paso Doble, Hough showed what makes him a six-time champion. From their speedy footwork to perfectly timed steps, their routine was nothing less than breathtaking. The two clearly gave justice to the tune of “Uccen (The Wolf)” from beginning to end.

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