Hey everyone!

Thanks for your votes!

How'd you like our "chalsa"? I though Marilu did a great job. It was a pretty difficult routine with a lot of footwork and it's wildly different from a Viennese waltz, which is "easier," so to speak. But she handled it really well.

What was nice about it was that halfway through the dance, she started laughing. She was having such a good time and started laughing. It made me so happy to see that. She's never done that before on the show. But during practices, she would make a mistake and then say, "Oh, sorry, I was celebrating the stuff before." So when we were dancing, I was thinking, "Oh, she's celebrating. Stay focused! Stay focused!" And she did! And how good did we look in coral? That was a little throwback to the old school Dancing with the Stars Latin costumes. That was totally a look I used to wear when I competed!

This week is going to be pretty fun. It's Eras Week and we have the Charleston. I had a really busy day Wednesday. I was doing another project for something else all day, so I wasn't able to see Marilu, but I went in last night and choreographed the routine. After I get done with Hairspray rehearsals today, I'm going to go over and rehearse with her. So to answer the question you're probably thinking: No, we haven't gone through the whole routine yet! Tonight will be the first time. I think it will be fine. I'm trying to stay ahead of the game and pre-plan so that way tonight when we finally rehearse, we can go full at it. I put a little surprise in there as well.

Oh yeah, there's a team dance too! We're on Team Future with Laurie and Val, Terra and Sasha, and Jana and Gleb. We're going to do a full rehearsal tomorrow or Saturday. We have a really weird song, but we figured out a narrative. There are still things to create and figure out. It's things that you think in your mind might be brilliant but when you try it, you're like, "Uh, maybe we should try something else." I would say right now, there's some stuff in our heads and we have to make them a reality when we get together.


The concept is kind of a common futuristic story. The routine starts in a world where we're all kind of the same, but as it progresses into our solo sections, it breaks free and showcases everyone's personalities. It's more of a rigid, grid-line, oppressed beginning and by the end, it's a more expressive, individualistic oasis. I'm having flashbacks of my futuristic paso with Joanna Krupa! That was the first time "future" was introduced into the show, which is kind of hilarious when you think about it. Everyone had a past or current decade and we had the future!

As I mentioned, I have Hairspray rehearsals today. It's the first day and we have a table read. I'm very excited! Corny Collins in the house! Things are going to get a little more hectic now that Hairspray is starting, but I'm not really worried about that aspect of it. I just need to take care of myself and my voice. I still have a stress cough. It won't go away for some reason. I'm trying to get rid of that, so hopefully I don't get sick again!

The most exciting news of the week is hands-down Mark's Broadway debut in Jersey Boys! I'm so stoked for him. I won't be able to see him until after Hairspray airs on Dec. 7. My dad went to his first show though. I got him and his wife tickets to Hamilton. They got to meet Lin-Manuel Miranda, which is really cool. They stayed in New York a couple days and went to Mark's opening night. He was texting me the whole night with pictures. So it was like I was there! My dad said the audience loved him and they cheered when he came on. If you're in New York, and even if you're not, go check out Mark!

Thanks for reading! See you Monday!

Derek