Derek Hough, Dancing with the Stars Derek Hough, Dancing with the Stars

Hey everyone!

I'm back! Hope you had a great summer! I can't believe summer's over, but I had a blast seeing you guys out on tour.

What did you think of the premiere? I thought it was a fun show and I'm so happy and proud of Bindi.

Bindi is awesome. I cannot say enough great things about her. She really reminds me of the magic of living life. It's about the small things and the connections with people. She's always so present and in the moment. And she's teaching me to love all animals! I love animals, but she's teaching me to love all of them, including ants. She worked at a zoo one summer where she just directed people to step over ants. There would be a line of ants and she'd be like, "Excuse me, please step over the ants." When you meet her, she's incredibly elegant and she has this amazing energy and life force and infectious. It's also fun to watch her get frustrated. I think you saw a lot of that in the routine. The energy in the room felt amazing. She came off the floor and she had tears in her eyes. She was like, "That dance just changed my life." We take for granted so many different things and she really doesn't. She's so excited for every moment.

One thing you learn after doing this show for a long time is if you have expectations, you start to create pressure and you tend to make mistakes or get in your head. I didn't know what to expect from our dance, except for the fact that I was excited for people to meet Bindi. The funny thing is everyone is saying what a great job she did and I wanna be like, "If you only saw our first rehearsal..." If you had seen her the first couple days, you would've been like, "OK, that's a completely different person." It's been miraculous. I feel like she's had this dancer within her. The reason why she learns so well and so quickly is because she's in that state of openness. She's always willing to try. My family called me last night and was like, "What an amazing role model" to have a girl like that. You can tell she's so comfortable in her skin. She has a mission. I think her dad would be very proud of her.

We've had our moments in rehearsals where we've broken down in tears talking about her dad. I haven't told her this yet, but I remember being in Victoria Station in London and looking up at the jumbotron and seeing "Crocodile Hunter Killed." I remember my eyes welling up with tears. And then on the train ride home, I was crying thinking about him. I was upset. What an amazing guy. People like him are who I aspire to be like — to have that love and passion about anything. So for me, when he passed, it was really emotional and I think that was true for a lot of people around the world. Now I get to work with his daughter and I'm very grateful for it.

For me, Alek was the biggest shock of the night and one of the best ones. I don't think anyone had any idea how he was gonna do and he busted out this incredible routine! Hanging out with him is a trip. He is like a deer in headlights. I can't even imagine being him the past month. What a whirlwhind. He was like, "Where am I?" and "Dude, how do you do this? All these girls are so hot!" I think he can go very far on the show.

We are working on two dances. It's hometown week and we're doing some ballroom. I'm excited. For my hometown, I'm gonna talk about this song I heard that kind of reminded me of my younger self. The dance is gonna be about how this guy came up to me and said, "You gotta go pick him up now." I'm like, "Who?" And he said, "That little boy Derek you left back in Utah. You had to leave to achieve certain things but now you gotta pick him up." That was an emotional moment for me and I've been remembering that boy every day and making sure he comes with me wherever I go.

It's been a crazy couple of days. Julianne, Tessandra Chavez and I won an Emmy on Saturday, which is awesome and wild! I don't know where I'm gonna put it yet. Right now, where they are, it looks a little much, the two of them right next to each other. I'm gonna have to spread them out. I gotta get a picture with them and the Mirrorball trophies. That'd be really cool!

Thanks for reading! See you next week!