Derek Hough Reveals the 'Dancing With the Stars' Season 30 Contestant He Has His Eye On (Exclusive)
By Mona Khalifeh
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Derek Hough is ready to get back into the ballroom. The Dancing With the Starspro turned judge talked to ET's Cassie DiLaura backstage at the iHeartRadio Music Festival, where Hough was presenting an award in Las Vegas, about what to expect on season 30 of the show and which contestant he already has his eye on.
"You think you know, but until the first night, you don't really know," Hough said of who he expects to be an early frontrunner this season. "There's going to be some dark horses in there, but obviously Mel C. I grew up in the U.K. for 10 years, so she's British royalty, but you got Cody Rigsby, who's a fan favorite even though I didn't know who he was when I first heard him, but I think he's going to be loved. Just so many different people, JoJo Siwa, Suni Lee. It's going to be great."
"What I hear is that the rehearsals are going great. There's some really good dancers in the mix so that makes for a really competitive and exciting season, so I'm really looking forward to it," he added.
Outside of the thrilling performances, one of the things Hough is most excited for is to be judging alongside Len Goodman, who was absent from the show's last season.
"I'm really excited to have Len back," the professional dancer shared. "I haven't judged, sat next to him, so that's new for me. Him and I are a little bit different. He's a little more traditional, and I'm a little more out of the box, so we'll see how that goes, but i'm looking forward to it."
Hough's already won an award for his work on the show, too. Earlier this month, he won a Creative Arts Emmy for Outstanding Choreography for Variety or Reality programming for the "Paso Doble-Uccen/Tap Dance - Let's Fall in Love for the Night" routines on DWTS.
"It was amazing. It was incredible," he said of taking home one of TV's top prizes. "What made it so great was I choreographed those routines in my garage at home, and also got to dance with my lovely lady, Hayley Erbert, which made it even more special, so it was awesome."
But when he's not judging dance moves in the ballroom, he's busting out a few moves of his own at his Vegas residency at the Summit Showroom at the Venetian. Hough dished on the epic looks and the live band in what he says is going to be a "killer show."
"Oh my gosh, the costumes are unbelievable. They are out of this world," Hough gushed. "I mean, you talk about more diamond-encrusted rhinestones for all the ladies, and beautiful gowns and dresses, obviously all the amazing outfits for the guys. It's a full-on show, amazing dancing, live band. It's going to be a killer show."
While there will be plenty of back and forth between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Hough said he's ready to go.
"I'm pumped. I'm so excited. I love performing live, there's nothing like performing in front of a live audience and I feel ready. I feel ready to get out there and I feel proud of this show. I'm feeling good about it," he said of his Vegas show. "I'll be going back and forth, doing Dancing With the Stars at the same time, juggling that, but I love it. You know what they say, 'If you want something done, give it to somebody busy.'"
Hough's residency will run at the Venetian from Sept. 22 until Nov. 21.
Catch the dance pro on the iHeartRadio Music Festival, when it airs Oct. 2 and 3 on The CW, and tonight, when Dancing With the Stars premieres at 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC.