OPINION: Derek Hough is the Greatest Showman

Photo via @derekhough on Instagram.

Jamie Blodgett | Contributing Writer

Professional dancer, producer, singer, actor and choreographer, Derek Hough is the true definition of the Greatest Showman. His repertoire has included time spent on Dancing with the Stars from 2007-2016 as a professional dancer, followed by judging the show in 2020-2021. 

In 2017, Hough joined Jennifer Lopez and Ne-Yo on NBC’s World of Dance as a judge. The show continued to its fourth season, until it was cancelled in 2021 due to difficulties with production as a direct result of the pandemic.

Some of Hough’s earlier work includes starring as Ren in “Footloose: The Musical” in 2006. In 2010 he made his Broadway debut in “Burn the Floor” in the final four performances. He has also made appearances in playing the lead in “Jesus Christ Superstar” at the Millfield Theater, dancing in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” at the London Palladium, and performing at Radio City Music Hall. Hough attended the prestigious Italia Conti performing arts school in London only a year after he began dancing as a child at the age of 11.

Hough is also not a stranger to the acting industry. He made a cameo appearance in the 2001 Harry Potter movie, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”, as well as a cameo in the 2012 movie “Rock of Ages.” Hough also starred in “Make Your Move” which was filmed in 2011, later to come out in 2014. Similarly in 2011 he made an appearance in the show “Better With You.” Then, in 2014 he joined the cast of “Nashville”, playing Noah West in multiple episodes. Following that he also appeared in “Jane the Virgin” (2016), “Hairspray LIVE” (2016), and “High School Musical The Musical The Series” (2021).

Hough’s awards include a Daytime Emmy (2013), Young Hollywood Award (2014), Kaleidoscope Award (2014), Inspiration Award (2014) two Industry Dance Awards (2015), PrimeTime Emmy (2015), World Choreography Award (2015) and an Emmy Award (2021). He has also recorded a record breaking six wins on Dancing with the Stars with partners; Brooke Burke (season 7), Nicole Scherzinger (season 10), Jennifer Grey (Season 11), Kellie Pickler (Season 16), Amber Riley (Season 17) and finally Bindi Irwin (Season 21). 

Hough is not finished yet. In 2014 Derek added author to his endless list of accomplishments when he published his memoir “Taking The Lead: Lessons From a Life in Motion,” which has been added to The New York Times best seller list. Hough also appeared on the celebrity edition of “American Ninja Warrior” in 2017 and in 2019 he hosted “Holiday with the Hough’s” alongside his sister Julianne Hough.

Hough continues to take The Greatest Showman title through his various tours through the country. I myself had the pleasure of attending his tour, “Derek Hough Live” in 2019, and I for one can confirm he has it all. From dancing to singing to acting Hough is a one-of-a-kind performer. Then, in 2014 both Derek and Julianne Hough joined together to create a live dance concert titled “MOVE” Live on Tour which performed in 50 cities around the country. Again, in 2015, they toured 47 cities selling out scores of venues. Finally, in 2017 they again performed a sold-out tour around the United States with their show Move – Beyond – Live on Tour in 48 cities. Currently, Derek has a residency in Las Vegas titled “Derek Hough: No Limit” at The Venetian Resort from September 22 to November 21.

Through Hough’s smooth moves, entertaining presence, lovable smile, and captivating storytelling it is very easy to see why he is The Greatest Showman, but in case you needed any more convincing here are some of my favorite dances that Derek Hough has choreographed to tell stories so powerful and attention grabbing it is easy to see why he is loved by many.

Top Dances

1. Derek Hough and Bindi Irwin (Season 21 Dancing with the Stars) most memorable year dance to the song ‘Every Breath You Take

2. Derek Hough and Bindi Irwin ‘Footprints in the Sand

3. Derek Hough and Kellie Pickler ‘Beneath your Beautiful

4. Derek Hough and Julianne Hough ‘Unsteady‘ about their parents’ divorce

5. Derek Hough and Bethany Mota ‘Try‘ – Most memorable year night, minute 3.26

Top Solo Performances

1. Derek Hough / ‘Tribute to Singing in the Rain

2. Derek Hough/ ‘Lets Fall in Love for the Night‘ 


1. Derek Hough and Julianne Hough ‘Elastic Heart

2. Derek Hough and Kellie Pickler ‘Lights

3. Derek Hough and Bethany Mota ‘Revolution (District 78 Remix)‘ minute 20.18

4. Derek Hough and Bethany Mota ‘Run Boy Run‘ – Halloween Night, minute 7.52 

5. Derek Hough and Alexa Pena Vega ‘Pompeii‘ minute 2.12

6. Derek Hough – 2013 contributing choreographer to Emmy performance 

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