Dancing with the Stars’ Derek Hough Talks about Hoofing It on BETTER WITH YOU

One of the most popular professional dancers on Dancing with the Stars, Derek Hough is a three-time champion who has taken this season off to make the movie Cobu 3D. Fortunately, he’s still more than happy to drop by his ABC home and guest star on one of its freshman series. Derek will appear in the special “Better with Dancing” episode of the romantic comedy BETTER WITH YOU, which airs after Dancing with the Stars on Monday, April 25.

Daemon’s TV was there when Derek answered questions about dancing his way onto Better with You, what we can expect from Cobu 3D, and when we might see him back on Dancing with the Stars.

On “Better with Dancing”

Better with You marks Derek’s first appearance on a scripted television show, but he took to it right away. “What’s nice about it is that it kind of reminds me more of theater. You have that sitcom energy and it’s very theatrical, I feel, in terms of the set. There’s a live audience, so in that sense it feels very much like the stage, so it was fun to go back to that. I did a lot of theater work in London, and obviously I haven’t done that in about four years, so it was nice to go back into that vibe and into the acting realm.”

Derek plays Phillip, the dance instructor Casey (Jake Lacey) and Mia (Joanna Garcia-Swisher) hire when they want to prepare for their wedding dance. Derek teased the plot. “It’s a fun little story-Casey and Mia are getting ready for their first wedding dance and Casey’s pretending he’s a terrible dancer ,but I as the dancing instructor, could see right through him. I knew that no one could dance that badly that good. He turns out to be an excellent dancer, but I’m on his side, saying ‘what you’re doing is right’ because I know what it’s like. Girls don’t like when their man is a better dancer than they are.”

Somehow, it works out that instead of Casey and Mia coming up with their wedding dance, there’s a special routine with Casey and Phillip “It’s sort of a tango–an over- the-top, jumping around and having a good time dance. It was a lot of fun.” It sounds like Derek and Jake worked hard to make it fun. “We just went downstairs in this little room and just made up this whole routine. He was so willing and so eager. He was really up for it and we had fun with it, making it very tongue in cheek. ”

Derek couldn’t be happier about his first sitcom experience. “It was wonderful working with them and being around such amazing actors. The director was fantastic and it’s very lighthearted and just a fun little piece.”

On Dancing with the Stars

Of course, a big question for Derek was whether he would be back on Dancing with the Stars for season 13 this fall, and, happily, the answer seems to be yes. “Yeah, I think I will. I think it’s in the cards.” Just don’t expect him to make a guest appearance this season because he’s off to Toronto soon to shoot Cobu 3D.

While he hasn’t had time to watch much of the current season of Dancing with the Stars, Derek said he thinks it’s going very well. “I think it’s good. Mark [Ballas] and Chelsea [Kane] are doing very well and Kirstie Alley has become a well talked about contestant making for some good television. It’s interesting being on the sidelines- not just not being a part of it, but also having the chance to work on myself a little bit before I go back in there.”

On Cobu 3D

Derek is currently in rehearsals for Cobu 3D, which co-stars Korean singer BoA, follows a pair of star-crossed dancers in New York find themselves at the center of a bitter rivalry between their brothers’ underground dance clubs. Actually, Derek joked that he was dripping sweat during the call because he was rehearsing so hard. “It’s pretty full-on. Cobu is going to be pretty edgy and little more real as far as story goes just obviously with dancing involved.” Derek doesn’t want the movie just to be a spectacle of dance. “We’re trying to make it more like a story with dancing involved.”

When asked what sort of 3D effects to expect, Derek said, “We’re trying not to make it too much of a novelty and have stuff come at you like ‘Whoa!’ We want to make the 3D more like a layer, shooting through the crowd or something like that to make it seem more texturized than throwing stuff at you.”

If you go to see Cobu 3D, you won’t just be seeing Derek on the screen; you’ll be hearing one of his songs. “I scored one of the pieces for the film-it’s just the score; there are no lyrics or anything.”

On his future plans

Derek sees his professional life as wide open and he seems willing to try anything. “For me, I just love entertaining. I love the buzz it gives me and seeing people’s faces and seeing them react to something I do-bringing joy into their lives or making them feel a certain way. For me, whatever outlet that is-I’ve always loved acting; I’ve always loved dancing; I’ve always loved singing; I’ve always loved playing music-it’s all sort of under the same umbrella of entertainment and I’ve always wanted to do everything that I could–everything that I love and that I’m passionate about. Choosing one thing was just never enough for me. I just want to do everything.”

Derek plans to release more music-aside from the song on Cobu 3D‘s soundtrack-either alone or with his band and he hopes someday to appear on Broadway, joking, “It’s definitely on the bucket list.”

Looking back on what he’s done so far, Derek said he’s very grateful for all the opportunities to do such different projects. “When I lived in London, everything I did was pretty dramatic. Well, Footloose was kind of more fun and a musical, but I really enjoy that sort of serious and dark end of acting, but then when I went on Dancing with the Stars, I was very whimsical and silly and cheesy and dorky, so I enjoy all aspects. With Better with You, I just enjoyed the fact that we were having fun. It was very tongue in cheek and comedic and fun.

When asked if he would want to do something completely separate from dancing, Derek’s answer was an immediate and emphatic yes. “Absolutely. Definitely. I think that these things have spawned from Dancing with the Stars and the popularity of that, but I would love to be a part of something that’s straight acting and not just a spin-off of what I do and what people know me for-being a dancer. It would also be nice to do something different. I like the idea of being that guy who does the dancing but does everything else, as well. I’m grateful for the opportunity I’ve had, but would eventually like to do stuff that’s more than just a spin-off of what they know me for now.”

With several projects in the works, Derek hopes to have a busy year, and while he would definitely consider doing a sitcom full-time–“depending on the actual job itself. I haven’t had any talks about replacing Charlie Sheen, but if that came up”-he would probably be more interested in a long-term recurring role than becoming a series regular. “I enjoy being flexible and doing so many different things-really finding different styles and opportunities and stages to do different projects.”

Better with You airs on ABC Wednesdays at 8:30pm eastern/7:30 central. Derek’s episode airs on a special say and time: Monday, April 25 at 9:31pm eastern/8:31 central, directly following Dancing with the Stars.

You can read all our Better with You coverage here.

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