No one can accuse Derek Hough of not giving his all to Dancing with the Stars — with 16 seasons and six mirror ball trophies to his name, Hough has established himself as one of the most respected dance pros in the show’s history.
But it looks like taking home his sixth mirror ball trophy with Bindi Irwin on Tuesday night may have been the final feather in Hough’s Dancing with the Stars cap.
When asked about his future on the ABC hit series, Hough hinted he may not return for Season 22. “I don’t know,” he told E! News‘ Sibley Scoles. “Who knows. I have to say this isn’t a bad way to go out.”
Of course, fans may well point to the fact that this wouldn’t be the first time Hough has teased a departure and followed through, only to return later. In 2011, he took Season 12 off to pursue his big-screen dreams in the film Make Your Move.
That same year, Hough played a dance instructor faced with a tough group of students on ABC’s Better with You.
And in January of this year, Hough confirmed that he would be bidding adieu to the dance floor for a brief stretch in the spring to continue pursuing other interests. “I am ecstatic that I’ll be able to extend my passion for performing to the Great Stage of Radio City Music Hall in New York Spring Spectacular. Performing at Radio City Music Hall in a show that celebrates everything that is beloved about New York City is a dream,” Hough said in a statement.
Originally, Hough expressed that his commitment to the seven-week Harvey Weinstein production would preclude him from participating in Season 20 of DWTS. However, Hough joined the cast at the last minute — he pulled double duty on New York Spring Spectacular until a serious injury ultimately sidelined him.
If Hough does decide to make this season his last, fans can add it to the ever-growing list of favorite cast members to whom they’ve had to say goodbye. That list includes Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Sharna Burgess, Tristan MacManus and, of course, Hough’s sister Julianne, to name a few.
But fans can rest assured that Hough takes his role on the show very seriously, and he pours his heart and soul into the decisions he makes regarding it.
“It was tough for him,” showrunner Rob Wade revealed of Hough’s last-minute mind change about Season 20. “We had a real heart to heart. It wasn’t an easy decision and it was difficult because I feel like, if not a father, a bit of an uncle to these guys, and he was struggling with it so much.”
Here’s hoping Hough leaves the door open for returning to ABC’s famous dance floor in the future and, above all, that he finds success in whatever he endeavors moving forward.