Dancing With The Stars Judge Derek Hough Reacts To Selma Blair’s Exit

Season 31 of Dancing with the Stars has been notable for several reasons. Popular pro Mark Ballas returned to the show after a five-year break.

RuPaul’s Drag Race star Shangela is partnered with pro Gleb Savchenko as the first all-male pairing in DWTS history. During Season 30, JoJo Siwa and Jenna Johnson were the show’s first same-sex pairing.

Cruel Intentions actress Selma Blair, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2018, joined the cast. Selma’s illness affects both her movement and her balance. Selma and her DWTS partner, Sasha Farber, delivered fantastic performances week after week.

On October 17, 2022, Selma had to withdraw from the competition. In a pre-taped package, she shared that she couldn’t continue because of the toll it was taking on her health. “I can’t go on with the competition. I pushed as far as I could,” she told Sasha.

The duo danced a final waltz together, which moved many people to tears. The judges gave Selma and Sasha a perfect score of 40/40, even though it didn’t count for the competition. I loved how Selma always danced with grace and strength.

Judge Derek Hough spoke to Page Six about Selma’s exit. “We were told right before the show started [that she was leaving],” Derek stated. “It was a big surprise, a big shock to us, but also, it was the right thing to do long term for longevity.”

He continued, “But I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Selma. She made such a huge impact on the show. One thing I was most impressed by about Selma was … there’s not a wasted word in what she says,” Derek remarked. “Every word is so meaningful, so powerful. And, man, what a beautiful send-off,” he added.

Derek was also impressed by how genuine the actress was to everyone, including the makeup and hair team and the crew. “She’s so kind, so gracious, just so excited, never complains. Of all the people that could probably complain, she didn’t,” Derek stated. “She just got on with it because she loved it. She loved being here and she loved the people. For me, that’s very important,” he said.

“She has forever left her mark on this show, without a doubt. I think that what she achieved and what she did — and the way she did it, with such grace — it’s just perfection,” Derek commented.

Selma’s DWTS co-stars also weighed in on working with Selma. The Bachelorette star Gabby Windey said, “I think we turned into teammates, in a sense, even though we’re in a competition. It’s heartbreaking for a lot of us, but she does have to put herself first.” Gabby’s partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, added, “She’s a great dancer, she’s an amazing, impactful performer … and off-camera, she’s just a wonderful person.”

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“She’s my homegirl!” Shangela stated. “Because she represents such strength, such courage, such kindness, beauty, talent, all rolled into one. Her presence is most definitely going to be missed in this ballroom,” he added. Gleb called Selma “just the sweetest, nicest, person” he’s met.

Jersey Shore star Vinny Guadagnino, who struggles with anxiety before every performance in the ballroom, said that Selma leaving DWTS “ripped” his heart out. And American Idol alum Jordin Sparks stated, “We love Selma, we adore her, and we’re definitely gonna miss her here.”

“This was a really emotional night for me,” Selma told Page Six. “Because it was filled with so much love for me and my love for everyone here is really, really, really returned.”


[Photo Credit: ABC/Heidi Gutman]