Derek Hough

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This week is not going that well so far. We are really, really behind! Amber's knees have been acting up, so we haven't been able to rehearse at all. She got them drained the other day, so we're finally going to start rehearsals today and see how that goes. There wasn't any injury or anything — more like pressure that's been building up on them. She said they're not really that stable, so I think the grind of the past few weeks has worn them down, especially with the high-energy, fast dances we've had the past two weeks. We did a little work Thursday for about an hour. We have the tango this week and it's our first ballroom dance, so I wanted to work on the frame a little, but we haven't done any choreography yet.

I don't really have a routine in mind yet. I usually have an abstract idea, but I like to choreograph in the moment with my partner. I like to try different things and see what works the best and looks the best, so we'll see how Amber's feeling today and how it goes. Once we start today, I'll have a better idea of what we can and need to do. These things happen and you just have to make the best of it. I'm not worried about the routine — I just want Amber to be OK. Health is the most important thing. Right now, our concern is to see if it's just pain that will go away or if it's pain that's going to do more damage if we continue. If it's just pain, we can push through it, but if it gets worse, then that's a different story. 

Amber was experiencing some pain on Monday, but it wasn't that bad. I thought our Charleston went well. I watched it back and I could see what the judges mean about her footwork not being as strong as her upper half. Mostly, I was just shocked that none of them hated the hip-hop!

It was really sad to see Bill leave. Everyone loves him. He's Bill Nye the Science Guy! However, I don't think I would've danced if the doctors told me that the tendon on my knee is hanging on for dear life. I would've been like, "OK, got it, not dancing." A dancer's career is short-lived as it is, and we all get injuries and niggles all the time, whether it be little bruises or sprains or whatnot. But those types you can usually push through. This was serious! That being said, it's a personal decision. Bill loved the show and loved doing it and he wanted to go out on his terms. It was admirable and he gave it a go. Their dance was also strategic in masking his injury, so that helped a little bit. We're all going to miss Bill a ton.

This week, Julianne is going to guest-judge. If you think she's going to go easy on me, don't! I've been joking around that she's going to be like, "Remember when you ripped my Barbie's head off that time?" She's going to be a hard-ass! Nah, she will be fair. We've been texting back and forth, and she's really excited. I think it's cool to have a former pro be a judge. I love our judges, but they've never been in our shoes on the show. I think she'll be great.

That's all for now. Thanks for reading!

Derek