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See the 'Dancing With the Stars' Pros' Audition Tapes: From Baby-Faced Derek Hough to Soft-Spoken Cheryl Burke

by Raphael Chestang 1:38 PM PDT, August 31, 2016
Playing See the 'Dancing With the Stars' Pros' Audition Tapes: From Baby-Faced Derek Hough to Soft-Spoken Cheryl Burke

What a difference a decade makes!

The audition tapes for Dancing With the Stars' professional dancers surfaced recently, giving fans a look at what producers saw in them before they became household names.

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Derek Hough was only 21 years old when he recorded his audition on Aug. 21, 2006, in hopes of scoring the reported $5,000 per episode gig. Looking at the video, it's easy to see how he ended up winning six mirrorball trophies -- he's been all business from the beginning.

"Being on Dancing With the Stars would be great," Hough said. "Right now I'm thinking to myself, 'Man, I have so many good ideas.' For me, that would be part of the excitement. Not necessarily the celebrity or being on television or whatever, it's more of the 'I have so many great ideas.'"

Cheryl Burke appeared soft-spoken in her tape, but she was quick to reveal that her quiet demeanor slips away as soon as she hits the ballroom.

"On the dance floor I'm very wild, aggressive and sexy, but off the floor I'm very to myself," said the now two-time mirrorball winner. "I don't dance like everybody else. I can't even compare myself to anybody else."

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At the time of his audition, Valentin Chmerkovskiy was the World Youth Latin Dance champion with enough confidence to spare.

"I would bring a whole different dimension of youth, energy, the obvious good looks and a full head of hair," Val said with a laugh. "I do love dancing. It's my passion. It's what makes me happy."

And the best story might be from Val's brother Maksim Chmerkovskiy. After breaking his leg in a sledding accident at 13, Maks had a titanium rod placed in his leg and was told he'd have to walk with a cane. Thanks to his determination, Maks proved his skeptics wrong and was dancing again just six months later.

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"You don't want to look at me? Fine," Maks said. "But I know that 99 percent of the rest love me and deep inside you're going to love me too. You're just lying to yourself because I am the man!"

Dancing With the Stars returns Monday, Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

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