This is from back in Week Two when Derek fans Sue and Stephie went to DWTS – live and in person.
Sue and I have yet another Derek encounter to share with all of you. It started with Sue winning tickets for a Monday taping of DWTS (Week 2). We drove out to Hollywood on Saturday and stayed at the Roosevelt Hotel, right across the Chinese Theater! We were excited to plan for our trip and decided that we were going to swing by the rehearsal studio the following day. In the morning, I checked my phone (yes I admit it, I can’t live without my phone!) and thought that I might chuck it across the room after reading a tweet from Derek that said: “Mr. Shaw good night son . A fellow brit !RT @steveshawphoto Another night @juliannehough @RyanSeacrest not here at beachers with @derekhough” As some of you might know, the Beacher’s Madhouse is a very elite social and nightlife scene in Los Angeles and is located inside…….(wait for it)………. THE ROOSEVELT HOTEL!!!! So, while we are being super lame and sleeping at 3am in the morning on a Saturday night in Los Angeles, 11 floors below us, Derek was partying at the Beacher’s!
So, after this realization we decided to immediately drive by the rehearsal studios to see if he was there before we go to breakfast. Of course he wasn’t, since he was partying into the wee hours the night before! We talked to a paparazzi guy and asked if he knew if Derek usually comes on Sunday’s since they do camera blocking on the day before the show. He told us that he usually shows up a bit later in the day. We kindly asked this paparazzi guy if he could let us know when Derek gets to the studio (we bribed him with the promise of bringing him cookies from breakfast). So, we headed to Fratelli’s Cafe for some urgently needed coffee!! The day, so far, was pretty glum, and the pouring rain didn’t help to lift our spirits either. Stuffed and with cookies in hand for our paparazzi friend we drove back to the rehearsal studio to wait a bit more. By this time it truly was gushing rain and Paparazzi Guy was sitting in his car and appreciated our gift for him. After a while we decided to go back to the hotel because the security guard was giving us dirty looks because we were blocking the alley. We changed our wet shoes and faster than you can say “Go Team Menough” my phone buzzed with a text message that said “He’s here.” I screamed at Sue from the other room “He’s here!!!! He’s THERE!!!” We both looked like a bee hive was buzzing around us, trying to gather our cameras, jackets, t-shirts for Derek and Maria and an umbrella as quickly as possible to get out of the room!
As we got there, our Paparazzi Guy took off and we were parked in a river rather than an alley!!! We waited and waited and waited and thought that even if Derek would come out of the studio he would just book it to his car since it was gushing rain like water out of a faucet! We decided to park the car and come back to wait another twenty minutes in the cold and rainy weather. By the time we reached the alley on foot (a three minute walk from where we parked the car) my shoes were completely soaked again! Sue and I huddled together under the tiny umbrella and looked like two wet rats that the cat dragged in! A whole four and a half minutes later the door opened and out come Derek and Maria!! Both Sue and I said “Hey Derek!!” and he returned our greeting with a friendly “Hey guys!!” as he walked to his car to put something inside. Sue told him that we had shirts for him and Maria and he seemed to think that that was “awesome”. He wrapped is arms around himself after he closed the door to his car because it was still raining a bit, so I asked “do you need an umbrella??” Coincidentally, I happened to be holding one and started walking toward Derek since he was walking toward me……totally leaving Sue behind in the rain! In my defense, I thought she was right next to me (!!!) and it’s kinda hard to focus when The Hot Blond One is a mere 5 feet way from you, looking for shelter from the bitter rain
He gave me a hug and by that time Sue caught up to me and he gave her a hug, too. I said hello to Maria and hugged her, too (very gently!! Didn’t want to crack more ribs). She is super gorgeous, incredibly sweet and the tiniest thing I’ve ever seen! Sue gave her a shirt and she put it on right away. Derek also got a shirt from Sue and I asked him to sign the Jenougher shirt that I designed for season 11. He said he remembered the shirt and signed it for me Back when we met Derek in Texas, we gave him an early birthday present. I asked him if he still had it and he said: “Actually, I do! It’s sitting on my kitchen table!”
We also told him that we had tickets for the show on Monday and that we will be screaming for them. They both laughed and said they appreciate the support. Then, Derek and Maria did their “Singing In The Rain” bit, which we shared with all of you If you haven’t seen it yet, I think Heidi still has it up on PDH. They were just darling together, splashing in the puddles! They were completely soaked and I told Derek not the get sick like he did on Season 9 (and we got robbed a Argentine Tango choreography by Mr. Hough!). We said endless goodbyes and thank you-s to both of them as they went back into the rehearsal studios. Then it was our turn to jump and scream (well out of sight from ANY windows, I might add). We sat in the car and ran through the entire conversation and the hugs and smiles we got from Derek. We were like two teenagers, lol!!
The next morning we got up early to get ready for the show and by 11am we were sitting in line at the CBS studios. We were 16th in line! We made friends with the people sitting next to us but time went by pretty slowly. At one point a security guard came out and let us know that it was almost time to go inside. He was very nice and Sue and I were chatting with him for a while. Then, DWTS crew members came outside and assigned us our seating numbers. Shortly after that, it was finally time to go inside the lot and we were approaching the trailers of the stars and pro dancers. I recognized Derek’s car immediately and a lady next to me asked me how I knew it’s his…..uhm, because…I sorta remembered his license plate from yesterday and the paparazzi videos online??? Luckily, her friend saved me big time by saying: “Because there is a sign that says ‘Derek Hough’ on the cone next to it!”. Whew, saved by the cone!!
After checking our cell phones, we were seated in another area right by the stage doors. Somebody came out to explain a few rules about the seating inside, when an enormous screaming started to the left of us. Derek came out and was greeting and hugging fans in line! He was a few rows down and didn’t see or hear us becuase EVERYBODY was grabbing and yelling at him. Later on, Mark and Katherine came out, signing autographs and greeting fans. They both were so sweet and nice to everybody!
They finally took us inside the ballroom and Sue and I were seated right next to the Skybox where the couples get their scores after the dance!! We were on the other side of the stairs that lead up to the Skybox. I was sitting right next to Brooke Burke’s family and friends!! Her husband, David Charvet, greeted me and shook my hand. Nice guy! Sue was sitting to my right but we were separated by a few stairs. We were still able to talk to each other though, and planned when we would scream for Derek and Maria during the show.
The ballroom sure was glamorous, with all the lights and the band. We had a great view of the dance floor and it was really fun watching everybody come in and get seated. We recognized Shirley Ballas and tried to get her attention, but there was loud music playing and she didn’t hear us. I saw our security friend from the outside line and waved to him. He was in charge of the section next to the stairs that lead to the Skybox. He came over to chat a bit more and then told me to look for him after the show ended because he had a camera and said that he would take our picture and email it to us!!!
The show was just about to start and everybody was getting super hyped! The lights dimmed and the familiar opening song started to play and everybody was screaming and clapping as the stars and pro dancers descended down the stairs. Sue and I were screaming at Derek after they were standing in the line up for the close up shots of the camera and at one point he turned around and he pointed right at us, gave us that amazing smile and waved right back. The show was great but the only negative thing was that the audio of anybody talking was super low. You really had to strain your ears to hear what the judges or anybody else was saying. According to the person sitting next to me, it is always like that. During commercial breaks the stars and the pros in the Skybox were super friendly with the fans, waving and blowing kisses. We could hardly wait for Derek and Maria to take the dance floor and were screaming and clapping and whistling throughout their whole dance! After the clapping died down Sue and I were getting ready to show our “fan-love” and planned on screaming for them after the first judge gave their critique. After Bruno finished, the applause bled into Carrie Ann’s comments and our last chance was right as Len started talking. Sue and I counted down 1, 2, 3….and gave it all we had and screamed “DEREK!!! MARIA!!!!” Len, didn’t seem to appreciate it at all, but as long as Derek and Maria did, we didn’t care!! The show went on and it was fun to watch the cast during the commercial breaks. They all huddled together and took pictures, goofed off and had their make-up touched up. The show went by way too fast and all too soon Tom and Brooke were closing the show. We stayed and watched the interviews on the dance floor and FINALLY were able to catch Shirley Ballas’ attention. She smiled and waved to us
I looked for our security friend and saw him in the Skybox waving us over. We went to meet him and he kept true to his word and took a picture of us inside the Skybox!! Then he escorted us out through the backstage area. We rounded the corner through a door and I literally (seriously) ran right into Tom Bergeron! He was super sweet and I hugged him (twice!!), lol. Security Friend took us passed the confessional room where Donald and Peta were just about to enter. He also took us passed the area where all the couples go to be interviewed after the show. It was draped off so we couldn’t see anything. He took us back to where we checked our phones and I made sure to give him my email for the picture. We went back to the hotel to change and decided to go out to eat at the Grove. After dinner we walked around a bit and saw this place that seemed to be the happening club/bar and decided to check it out. As we approached the stairs to the club, two hostesses informed us that there was a private event at the bar but we were welcome to enter their restaurant which was right next to the bar. We went up the stairs and saw Kym Johnson and Cheryl Burke coming out from the restaurant and returning to the bar. Sue and I exchanged a look that said….”Naww, it can’t be. Surley this isn’t the after-party from the show!!” Only, that it WAS!!!
We went inside the restaurant and saw Mark standing next to the restrooms, apparently waiting for someone. We went over and greeted him and he was just the sweetest thing. He asked us like twice if we had a good time at the show and introduced us to his girlfriend. We stood and talked for a little while and he hugged us and they went back to the bar. We got a drink ourselves and were trying to get a glimpse of Derek, but never saw him.
It sure was a wonderful experience with unexpected surprises that we will never forget! Thank you for letting us share our adventure with all of you!