Derek Hough
(Photo by Santiago Felipe/Getty Images)

Derek Hough’s Reaction To Record-Breaking DWTS Emmy Nomination

When Dancing with the Stars returns for Season 32, it will air on both ABC and stream on Disney+. Derek Hough will be back at the judges’ table, along with Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba.

Now Derek has received his 13th Emmy nomination for choreography. He choreographed a routine on DWTS set to “”Higher” by Michael Bublé. And it is special for another reason. Gold Derby has the details.

Smashing a record

Derek’s nomination makes him the Emmy’s most-nominated choreographer. That accolade used to belong to the fabulous Debbie Allen. Derek found out when he was in bed. He said that his life began “flashing before my eyes.” He saw the “thousands and thousands of hours” he had devoted to dance during his lifetime.

“Choreographing was never something I thought about doing or being. I don’t know what it’s like now, but when I was choreographing, there was no classes of like, ‘This is how you choreograph. You do this, you do that,’” he explained.

“So, there’s a lot of trial and error of figuring out as you go along [but] a lot of it is also listening to your instincts and start trusting that process … When I found that out, I went through all of that,” Derek said. The DWTS judge continued, “And I’m so, so thankful and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be able to create.”

His experience with Michael Bublé

The routine was featured on ‘Michael Bublé Night’ on DWTS. Michael was also a guest judge. Adding the singer to the judging panel was Derek’s idea. In fact, Derek directed the music video for the song.

While Michael sang, Derek and his fiancée, Hayley Erbert, joined the DWTS pros for the routine. Derek asked Michael about being part of the dance.

“I said to Michael, ‘How do you feel about this being a dance piece? A performance and not an artist piece with the dancing in the background?’ [And] he was like, ‘Do your thing, man. I wanna see you do your thing, whatever you want,’” Derek stated.

“There were so many things about this piece that were special for me as far as Michael, who I love adore, dancing with my beautiful fiancée, who is incredible, and sharing the stage with these incredible dancers, who I’ve known for years and years and years,” the choreographer said. “It was like a big reunion.”

So, what does Derek have in store for Season 32? “The one thing in my mind I’m thinking right now that I would want to do that feels appropriate and feels right is I would love to do something to honor Len [Goodman], just something classic and reverent and appropriate,” Derek stated. The beloved head judge retired after Season 31 and passed away shortly after.

Dancing With the Stars will air in the fall of 2023 on Mondays at 8/7c on ABC and will be streaming on Disney+.