‘Dancing With the Stars’ Pro Derek Hough Joins TV Series

Derek Hough DWTS

Getty Derek Hough is returning to "Dancing With the Stars" for season 29.

Derek Hough has been a professional dancer and judge on Dancing With the Starsand now the Emmy Award-winning choreographer is taking his talents someplace new. Hough will guest star on Disney’s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series in season 2 of the show, as Deadline reported last March.

The new season premieres on May 14, with Hough playing the character Zack, a Broadway star coming home to direct a theater program at East High’s rival school, North High. He also happens to be the ex-boyfriend of East High drama teacher Miss Jenn, played by Kate Reinders.

When talking to People about the role, Hough said his character is completely different from who he actually is in his life.

“He’s a little bit of a baddie – or the opposition,” Hough told the outlet. “It was fun to lean into just being a little smug. In life, I’m very self-deprecating and a goofball really, so it was fun to play that character. And to sing a little bit and to dance.”


Things Get Steamy Between Zack & Miss Jenn in Season 2, According to Hough

Hough said that things get a little bit steamy between his character and Miss Jenn.

“There’s definitely some flirtation happening there,” he told People. “It’s sort of playful but also quite seriously competitive. It’s a weird combination of, ‘Remember that time?’ and also, ‘You look really good,’ and also, ‘I’m gonna kick your butt.'”

Unfortunately, Hough said his role didn’t allow him much time to work with the young cast members, but he did tell People he thinks they’re very talented.

The season’s filming wrapped up by the end of February, Just Jared Jr. reported. Playbill reported the season was “COVID-delayed” but began production on February 5 in Salt Lake City, Utah.


Hough Admires Olivia Rodrigo

Olivia Rodrigo stars as Nini in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, and Hough said he admires her talent.

“Honestly, I heard [‘Drivers License’], and I was like, ‘This is a great song,'” he shared with People. “It was all over TikTok and all these things, and I didn’t even put two and two together. Then eventually, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s Olivia! That’s amazing!’ And then you started hearing about all the backstory. … And the only thing I could think about, honestly, during all that was like, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve been there. A hundred times.’ When I was going to school, you go through that time — and I think we can all relate to that.”

Hough also took the time to open up about what it was like learning that World of Dance, a show he’s been part of for three seasons, was canceled. He shared that he’d known the show wasn’t coming back for quite some time, but he loved working with J Lo and Ne-Yo.

“But I’m really, really excited about where I am right now with Dancing With the Stars and with ABC and Disney, and I have a new show that I’m very, very, very excited about that is extremely challenging but is sort of a dream project,” he told People. “I can’t say what it is yet, but we’ll probably be announcing it relatively soon.”

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series season 2 premieres on Disney+ on May 14.

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