Thanks so much for your messages!
Second place! Woohoo! Who would've thought that when I was sitting at a table and saw Amy walk through the door for the first time? Seeing her walk in with these prosthetic legs and not having any idea what at all would be possible, and now to think about what we've achieved and what we've created — that really is amazing.
I had a gut feeling that Maks and Meryl were going to take it, and I said that to Amy, so we knew. Based on the packages and the tone and the way they put everything together, I had a feeling they were winning. I think everyone did. I'm so happy for them. It was well-deserved. Meryl is a beast and was so consistent all season long. I couldn't be happier for Maks. I told Maks the night before, "I'm genuinely really happy for you and would love to see you win." Obviously, I would be happy to see Amy win because of what she represents, but knowing Maks for such a long time and him having been part of the show for so long, truthfully, it was nice to see him experience the show it was meant to be experienced. All season, in a way, was about Maks' journey, which was wonderful to watch. Being a friend of his and seeing that was great.
I really loved our freestyle. That was such a culmination of Amy's story this season. When I heard the music we were going to use, it was perfect for what it stood for. It was, "I dare you to love / I dare you to cry / I dare you to run / I dare you to try / I dare you to fall / and lay on the ground / I dare you to feel / I dare you to be here now."
That's exactly what this entire season has been about for Amy and me: not being afraid and really going for it. I wanted that last note we hit to be positive and a challenge, and to dare people to try and see what happens. That's what Amy's been saying by what she's been doing on the show. Everybody asks me, "Where do you get all your ideas?" It really comes from the music. Whatever pops into my head when I'm listening to something is how it starts. I just envisioned Amy spinning in the air, ascending and being transcendent of dance. I looked into the rope thing and I asked my friend, "Hey, is this possible?" He was like, "Yeah, it'll take a couple weeks to teach her that." And I was like, "Well, we have an hour." And it's all back muscles, which was what she was having problems with, so it was wild to see her up there. It was just incredible. And for her to let go and do it with one hand was awesome.
There are a lot of changes going on with the show right now. Some amazing news is we had the biggest viewership last night and beat The Voice and American Idol. It's great to be part of a show that's been around for so long and is as strong as ever, and that's because of Conrad Green, our executive producer. He's leaving now, but he had been at the helm since Day 1. He is the show. We're all going to miss him tremendously. All of us are indebted to him. He's such a great guy and so, so supportive. He was the guy who told me after I won the Emmy and was sobbing, "You did it, son. You did it." I'm really sad that he's going, and I'm also sad if Len is leaving as well, but I'm also really excited and happy for both of them.
I don't know if I'll be back next season yet. At this point, for me, it's about progress. It's about feeling like you're going in a certain direction and moving toward something. I definitely felt like this season brought something new and different and significant to my life. People ask, "Is there a formula to success?" Yeah, there is a formula. You ask any successful person and see what they've done, and you'll see what the results are. But the fulfillment is the art. That's not a formula. I feel like this season with Amy was truly a fulfilling experience that transcended the whole competition element of it. I had never been more calm in my entire Dancing with the Stars life than I was last night. When we were standing there, I had the most amazing sense of calmness and joy. I knew that regardless of the result I would be extremely happy, proud and fulfilled. The deed has been done. What we did was remarkable.
Amy brings kids with disabilities to the show every week. On Monday, we had a 10-year-old girl with prosthetic legs, and during the commercial breaks, she got up and was dancing around. I thought, "You know what? That's it. That's what it's about." Amy didn't have that person to look up to or watch videos online or to read about. Instead, she became a pioneer. It's amazing to know that she's that person now for these little kids. She did it, and that's the best victory.
I was thinking back to the last 10 seasons recently and marveling at how amazing they've all been. The past four seasons, I've been in the finals — second, first, first and second — and this last one in a way tops them all as far as the meaning behind it. I don't want to take away from my past partners, but this one was very unique and very special. It's a definite incredible high note.
Right now, I'm preparing for the tour. When I was doing my tour dates, I didn't realize I would be going to the end of the season! I have a lot to cram in right now. After doing an entire final week, which is a lot of work, then flying all night to New York to do morning shows and then heading to the airport, the second I land, I'm going straight to rehearsals for the 48 shows ahead of me!
Hope to see you on the road. Thanks again for everything this season!
Dancing's Derek Hough: Amy's Journey Is the Best Victory