Utah native Derek Hough is keeping busy lately as a judge on the new NBC show "World of Dance" and is currently on tour with his sister, Julianne Hough. They will be making a stop in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, June 7 at the Eccles Theater.
"World of Dance" will be premiering Tuesday, May 30 on NBC. Derek Hough is judging dance competitors along with Jennifer Lopez and singer and dancer Ne-Yo. Dancer and actress Jenna Dewan Tatum ("Step Up") is hosting the show as crews, groups and individuals of all different ages, nationalities and styles of dance compete in what Lopez called "the Olympics of dance."
As someone who's competed all around the world, Hough said he was attracted to the idea of a show that opened up the competition internationally. He's also trained in so many different styles of dance, though his emphasis is in ballroom and Latin, that he felt comfortable judging contestants from all different genres. He does admit that judging is a lot easier than competing.
"I have a lot of compassion and a lot of respect for these competitors," he said in an interview with the Deseret News. "I think to put yourself out there, to dance and to do what you do — it's nerve-wracking. You put a lot of work into it — blood, sweat and tears. I just respect everybody who comes onto that stage because they dedicated so much to what they're doing."
He is also pleased that these dancers will be able to compete for $1 million, something that's unheard of in even the biggest dance competitions.
"The most I've ever competed for is probably $200 with a plastic trophy," he said. "There's no money behind it, there really isn't. You don't dance for wealth or fame, you dance because you love it, you're passionate about it. … These dancers dedicate so much time. … To give them an opportunity to win a fair amount of money, for me I was very excited about that because there just isn't anything like that for any dancers to strive for. I love that they're putting their money where their mouth is."
On "World of Dance," competitors are judged in five categories: performance, technique, choreography, creativity and presentation. Each category is worth 20 points and dancers need to receive an average of 80 points from the three judges in order to go through to the next round. There will be five rounds before one winner earns the grand prize.
But now, Hough has finished filming "World of Dance" and is busy touring with his sister. They're both excited to come home to Utah, and even added a matinee show because the first one sold out so fast.
"I just wanted to be able to have as many people come as possible," he said. "We're very proud of this show. We put a lot of heart and soul into it."
This is Julianne and Derek Hough's third tour together and they named it "Move —Beyond — Live On Tour" to force themselves to make it better than what they've done before. In the past, audiences always had an obvious favorite part of their shows, but Hough said his goal this time was to make their whole show the best part.
"Every act has something special, it has something unique, it has something that's eye-catching," he said.
They're both excited to come back to where they got their start.
"We started dancing in our living room with our family when we were kids," he said. "To be able to come back to Utah with this big show that we built … it's something we're very proud of. It's an amazing time to reflect to see how far we've come from that living room to taking this show on the road."
If you go …
What: "Julianne and Derek Hough: Move — Beyond — Live on Tour"
When: Wednesday, June 7, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Where: Eccles Theater, 131 S. Main, Salt Lake City
How much: $36-$81