Derek Hough Shares Details on 'Revolutionary' New Competition 'World of Dance,' Says More Musicals Are in His Future Following 'Hairspray Live'
Hough says the new NBC competition is 'the olympics of dance.'
If you love Dancing With the Stars, you'll be hot to trot for World of Dance, NBC's newest dance show featuring some of the most impressive talent in the industry. The series marks the largest, most diverse dance competition in television history, offering both solo and group dancers of every style a platform to showcase their immense physical strengths. The craziest part? The winner will go home with a cool $1 million.
Zimbio: What was it about World of Dance that made you want to be a part of it?
DH: This past decade, the revolution of dance has just been incredible — being a witness to that, and seeing all these amazing projects and shows. For me, when I heard about World of Dance, I just it felt like the next step in celebrating dance, and really reaching some of the best dancers in the world. It feels like the olympics of dance. It's a million dollar prize, which is unheard of for any sort of dance show, let alone any competition anywhere, you know what I mean? It's revolutionary. We have duos, trios, and soloists doing latin, ballet, hip-hop, so we really have so many different styles of dancing. It looks fantastic. The dancers are incredible, and rightly so, getting their platform, their opportunity to shine and show us all what they have. I'm excited to be a part of that. I've competed since I was 12 years old, and became a world champ at 19, so I know that competition lifestyle and that world, I understand it. Now, being a judge, I definitely know what they're going through. I will say, however, I'll never really know what it feels like to compete for a million dollars.
Zimbio: Yeah, that's pretty incredible. And it seems like you're working with an amazing group of people on the show.
DH: Yeah, [executive producer] Jennifer [Lopez] approached me to express her wish for me to be a part of it. She was very specific about who she wanted. The more I heard about the show, and the people attached to it — all the dancers who I know that will be competing — they're all so deserving of that opportunity. This is the next evolution, if you will.
Zimbio: I know you've been with Dancing With the Stars for quite a few years. Do you think you'll ever go back?
DH: Yeah! You know, I'll never say never. Dancing With the Stars is family to me. I'll always have a great relationship with everybody there. I'll continue to be an ambassador for it. I certainly am focused on World of Dance right now, though, and I'm very excited to be showcasing these incredible dancers. It's pretty amazing.
Zimbio: Should we expect cameos from your sister Julianne [Hough] or your girlfriend Hayley [Erbert]? I know they're also both very talented dancers.
DH: Oh, I don't think so!
Zimbio: On another note, we saw you in Hairspray Live! in 2016. Are there any more musicals in your future?
DH: I have a background in musical theater, and I went to theater art school when I was a kid in London. So musical theater is something that's in my DNA, if you will. I have nothing on the horizon at the moment, but Broadway is in my sights. I was actually a part of a project and it didn't end up coming to fruition. But yes, I'd definitely like to be back on the stage. I feel really excited about Jesus Christ Superstar, I just found out they're doing that on NBC for Easter and I'm actually pretty stoked about that. I'm a huge fan of the show. I played Jesus in a regional theater group back in London. [Dancing With the Stars coach] Mark Ballas played Judas and I played Jesus. It was pretty awesome, I'm not gonna lie. We crushed it.
Zimbio: I'm sure!
DH: It was so fun, so I can't wait to see that.
Zimbio: Are there any musicals you'd like to be a part of in specific?
DH: Not off the top of my head, although I love the music in West Side Story.
Zimbio: So tell me about your allergies, and your partnership with FLONASE. I've heard your symptoms have been a major imposition for you. Do they really affect your ability to dance?
DH: I'm recalling when I played the lead role in Footloose in London. I played Ren McCormack for over a year and a half, and was doing eight shows a week. I'll never forget, my allergies got so bad that I had to take time off. My eyes were watering, my nose was stuffy, the lights are blaring in your face. It's virtually impossible to perform, it's so difficult and it's very frustrating. I'm on tour right now with my sister, we're doing 54 cities, and I have a survival kit that I go out with. I'll take my vitamins, I'll take all these different things, and I always take this FLONASE Sensimist allergy relief spray. I've definitely found relief with it, which has been fantastic. I love this partnership I have with them because they're encouraging people to be active despite their allergies, and I'm all about getting people active and outdoors, going on adventures. Just living life a little more actively. This stuff is getting me through a summer tour.