'Dancing with the Stars' pro Derek Hough performs despite stiff neck
By Christopher Rocchio, 04/08/2008
A stiff neck apparently wasn't enough to keep Derek Hough from wowing the judges with celebrity partner Shannon Elizabeth during last night's live Dancing with the Stars sixth-season performance episode broadcast.
"I'm feeling a lot better," Hough toldOK! Weekly backstage at last night's taping. "My neck is still stiff, but it will be fine. It's nothing I can't handle and that we can't get through. Nothing will hold me back."
He was subsequently taken to the hospital and wore a neck brace throughout the week to hold it stable. Elizabeth was worried Hough wouldn't be able to participate in the upcoming performance episode.
"He was trying to be on his feet the first day after the injury," Elizabeth told OK!. "Then it would hurt, and I'd sit him back down. He'd try again and it would hurt and I'd sit him back down."
During a video package last night prior to Hough and Elizabeth's Viennese waltz, he told her that doctors instructed him to "stay off it for a week, maybe even longer," so she spent the majority of the week rehearsing with previously ousted professional participant Jonathan Roberts.
"Jonathan's going to come in this week and help us out with the Viennese waltz," Hough told Elizabeth. "I'm going to be on the sidelines and you're going to dance with him."
However watching from the sidelines apparently didn't suit Hough.
"It's really frustrating choreographing a routine and not being able to dance it with your partner. I'm a very hands-on, physical person, so it was hard for to keep me in the chair," he explained during the video package. "With show night approaching, I'm still in a lot of pain but I don't want to let Shannon down."
He didn't, as the duo's Viennese waltz earned them their highest judges score of the competition so far -- a 28 out of 30 possible points.
"I think that -- for me -- was the best dance I've seen tonight," commented judge Len Goodman, as Hough and Elizabeth were the second-to-last couple to perform.
Only Olympic gold medalist figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi and her partner Mark Ballas and NFL star Jason Taylor and his partner Edyta Sliwinska -- who each received 29's -- received higher judges scores.
"He's amazing! I keep having to sit him down and make sure he's okay," Elizabeth told OK! about her partner. "I know he'll push himself too much and he seems to care more about me than his neck -- and I think he needs to care about his neck!"