Accolades for Our Man, Derek!

Prepared by @donamadrina.

Derek Hough is a contemporary, quintuple threat: a dancer, a choreographer, a singer, an actor, and a director. By his fans, and by his peers, he has often been referred to as the modern day Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly, both of whom shared the same quintuple talents.

Derek Hough Is Recognized for His Talent

Barrie Chase, Paula Abdul, Liz Imperio, Derek, Kenny Ortega, Napoleon D’umo

Below is just a sampling of the esteem, respect and admiration that Derek’s peers, friends, reviewers and others have for him.

  • Kenny Ortega – (The Choreographers – Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, November 1, 2012) –
    “For years, I’ve had people walk up to me and ask me this question, ‘Are we not seeing the kinds of musicals that we remember from the days of Gene and Fred because the talent doesn’t exist anymore?’ And all I have to say is, ‘No, it’s the imagination in an industry that doesn’t figure out that it is standing right in front of you. (pointing to Derek)”
  • People Magazine – (Commenting on Derek’s portrayal of Corny Collins in Hairspray Live, December 7, 2016)
    “The performance… featured an A-List cast….Hough stepped into the shoes of TV host Corny Collins…for the live production, and showed off his triple-threat dancing, singing and acting skills for fans — and did it all in style!”
  • BigMan Productions – (Working with Derek on his concept and passion videos, 2016) –
    “Really hard working!….Derek is amazing to work with, talented beyond, full of energy, constantly creating, and best of all very collaborative!”
  • Kevin Boston – Riveting Entertainment (Commenting on Derek’s work as a director on Michael Buble’s music video, “I Breathe For You,” January 2017) –
    “It was a honor working along side with Derek Hough. He is [a] true professional and incredibly inspiring! From day one he was hands on. Everything from the creative process, to casting, to directing, to choreography and dancing. He did it all with a smile and positive attitude! Another example of how successful people stay successful. Hard work, positive attitude and treating everyone equally. Didn’t matter if you were a PA, make up artist, or producer, Derek acknowledged everyone and got everyone involved, a true leader!”
  • – (November 2, 2016) –
    “Aspiring entertainers love to get career advice from successful actors, musicians and comics. Celebrities who are serious about their craft, like…Derek Hough…, often share pointers about breaking into the entertainment industry or just maintaining quality work. Find out what [this] A-list [star has] to say about making it in show business.” Click here for the entry about Derek.
  • Rita Moreno – (Industry Dance Awards, August 19, 2015) –
    “I have a feeling that Derek left, but I got to tell you. He makes me think of Gene (Kelly). He really makes me think of Gene.”
  • Bruce Reisman (Writer/Producer/Director/Actor ) – (Twitter, August 2015) –
    This guy’s star power hasn’t even been seen yet. Superb actor, singer, dancer – he COULD be the last chance Hollywood/NY has…(Directed to Derek) Lemme tell ya, dude… Gene Kelly directed me as a 17 year old in HELLO DOLLY — u r HE either reborn, re-channeled, who cares?”
  • Kristyn Burtt – (Red Carpet Closet, September 19, 2013)
    “I have always maintained that I believe that Derek Hough is going to be one of the defining choreographers of his generation. I don’t take that statement lightly. As someone who has been a student of dance history, think of the names you would put in that category: George Balanchine, Agnes DeMille, Jerome Robbins, Bob Fosse, Michael Bennett, Martha Graham. There are more, but it’s not a list of thousands or even hundreds. I don’t say that about any other pro on the show.”
  • William Shatner (Jimmy Kimmel Show, October 27, 2010)–
    “Derek Hough! He is America’s greatest dancer. Oh my God. He is Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly wrapped up…and his choreography is so imaginative. He’s one of America’s treasures….”
Bethany Mota, Patricia Kelly, and Derek Hough

Bethany Mota, Patricia Kelly, and Derek Hough

  • Patricia Kelly to Derek– (October 2014)
    Thanks for continuing Gene’s legacy….I see a little bit of Gene out there.” See Statistics and Trivia, Week 4
  • Tom Bergeron (Archive of American Television – April 14, 2013 –
    “I don’t think you can throw any concept to say Derek Hough, that he couldn’t come up with a dance for.”
  • Misty Copeland (Ameska “Behind the Scenes”, June 2014)
    “Just having the opportunity to meet someone at Derek’s level, with all the accolades and his accomplishments, to see how grounded he is, and how real he is, and of course, how beautiful he is, and his amazing hair that’s always perfect…Besides being hot, he’s just an incredible guy.”
From Derek's Instagram: Misty Copeland

From Derek’s Instagram: Misty Copeland

  • Shawn Johnson (Season 15, Week 4)
    “I’m biased, of course, but Derek is phenomenal. He has a vision. He works with the band. He’ll change the music. He designs props, and has input into the sets and lighting. Also, he works with me on my confidence.”
  • Len Goodman (Season 14, Week 8)
    “I don’t say this word often, but Derek as a choreographer is a genius. He’s a genius.”
  • Napolean D’umo of Nappytabs – (The Choreographers – Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, November 1, 2012)
    He is ridiculously talented.”
  • Regis Philbin (Live With Regis and Kelly, November 30, 2010)
    “I think you dance with the flair of Fred Astaire and the gusto of Gene Kelly. You’ve got to do something with that someday.”
  • Nick Gonzalez, tap choreographer for “Make Your Move” (Twitter, April 6, 2011)
    “My man has skills you can only dream of. So much respect to him for his hard work.”
  • E. Mitchell, Reviewer, (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 8, 2013)
    “Derek Hough is the modern day heir apparent to the flawless Fred Astaire; time for Hollywood to feature him in a film!”
  • Diane Pucin – Reviewer (Los Angeles Times, October 20, 2008)
    “This may sound like sacrilege to some more veteran movie star fans, but Hough dances almost as beautifully as Fred Astaire, almost as athletically as Gene Kelly.”
  • Duane Adler Interview – (Dance Spirit Magazine, March 14, 2014)
     “Derek’s energy on set is contagious. Sure, his career is in its early stages. But if there’s a dancer today with Fred or Gene’s potential, I think it’s him.”
Derek with Screenwriter/Director Duane Adler of "Make Your Move"

Derek working with Duane Adler, Screenwriter and Director of “Make Your Move”

  • Ann Blackburn – Reviewer (BBC Nottingham News, May 15, 2007)
    …Derek Hough…prove[s] that white men can dance.”
  • Prince Charles (“Cheryl: My Story”, Harper, October 2012)
    “We all love watching Dancing With The Stars….Derek is our favorite dancer, actually….”
  • Michael Jackson Who’d have ever thunk that the iconic King of Pop watched Dancing With the Stars? Well, he did. And guess what?  According to his siblings Jermaine and La Toya, Derek was MJ’s favorite dancer. Click here.

Here is a video from the GLSEN awards, October 2014. Kenny Ortega introduces Derek, at 1:19.

Accomplishments (continued): The Award Winning Derek Hough

Accomplishments are prepared by @donamadrina.


10 Responses to Accolades for Our Man, Derek!

  1. Michaele says:

    ❤️❤️❤️ I’ve watched him for years, admired him for a long time, was honored to meet him this summer, and reading these…I was incredibly PROUD of him. What a wonderful tribute. ❤️❤️❤️

  2. Renee says:

    Thanks so much for this list. I remembered most of these as I reread them but enjoyed reading the list all together. I truly believe he his career will continue to grow.

  3. Amy says:

    Not sure how I missed the fact that this is the work of Donamadrina. Thank you for this!

  4. Amy says:

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart to whoever is responsible for putting this list together with videos and origins of statements in one place! It’s a treasure. I’ve wanted to do it myself for a long time but just haven’t done so. I will keep it forever.

    Sitting here this morning, remembering as Rose did the way I felt when hearing these praises or reading them the first time, I felt the same things all over again but with bushels of tears instead of a few. It’s very powerful to listen to each word and realize how much more they are saying beyond the words themselves, how they represent so much of who Derek is. He wasn’t born a great dancer. He was born with a gift, but the greatness has come with many years of hard work, endurance, determination, courage, passion and refusal to quit. I thought about the stories from his book, the pain he has had to withstand and the emotional struggles he’s had to bear up under from his early days.

    Derek is the greatest dancer of our generation because he is a great human being who has devoted himself to the gift he was given with every part of his heart and every ounce of his strength. It’s an honor and a deep joy to be a part of the world he has lived in and to have benefited from all the beauty and goodness he has contributed to it.

    Thank you to Heidi and Vogue for providing this place to come and thank you again for the chronicler who took the time to organize this beautiful collection of tributes.

  5. Sharon1 says:

    Wow what a list of wonderful accolades for Derek. These should be framed and presented to him. Rose has said it all and I just echo her sentiments.

    Thanks for the post and mostly congrats again to Derek, our modern day Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly.

  6. Rose Rus says:

    Being a longtime devoted fan of Derek Hough, I was already aware of the accolades mentioned above. In reading this list, I found myself, at time brought to tears, remembering and reliving the first time I heard of each one. The happiness I felt hearing him recognized. The swelling in my chest from the pride I experienced upon seeing him receive an award. And just the overall joy of knowing others were appreciating Derek’s talents, accomplishments and beautiful soul as I had from the first time I saw him perform

    He has been referred to as ‘dancing royalty’. He is Prince Charles’ favorite dancer.
    His tap instructor spoke of his having ‘skills you can only dream of ‘.
    Gene Kelly’s wife commented, while watching Derek dance, “I can see a little bit of Gene out there!”
    Kenny Ortega says if you took Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire and mashed them together you would have Derek Hough! LOL When introducing him as the recipient of the Glsen Inspiration Award, Mr Ortega said, “And I give you, the incomparable Derek Hough!” Incomparable . . . a word we fans use or imply a lot!
    Derek was Michael Jackson’s favorite dancer!
    Comments made concerning our Dman;
    . . . defining choreographer of his generation.
    . . . one of America’s treasures.
    . . . He is ridiculously talented.
    . . . can throw no concept to Derek Hough, that he couldn’t come up with a dance for.
    . . . as a choreographer, Derek is a genius!
    Ballerina Misty Copeland’s assessment is a favorite the ladies of the PDH Website appreciate . . . “and of course, how beautiful he is, and his amazing hair that’s always perfect . . . Beside being hot, he’s just an incredible guy.”

    Derek’s fans love and adore him, support him, pray for him and wish him well. He in return is devoted to his fans, always aiming to please with the best entertainment he can deliver and inspires us to strive to be better human beings! It’s the perfect love affair with amazing benefits to all parties involved!

  7. QueenieofHearts says:

    I can’t believe that no one has commented or liked this yet!! I had tears reading the great accolades of a great man!!

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