Shannon Elizabeth, Derek Hough dance around romance questions
By Christopher Rocchio, 04/22/2008
Although photographers caught them canoodling and kissing on a Malibu beach last Thursday, Dancing with the Stars sixth-season couple Derek Hough and Shannon Elizabeth continued to play coy about their romantic relationship during last night's broadcast of the ABC reality series.
During a video package prior to Hough and Elizabeth's rumba performance, the two were seen on the Malibu beach with Elizabeth using a Hula-hoop to relax her hips. Elizabeth also expressed her concern that the two were going to be booted after last week's low scores.
"I was definitely afraid that I might be going home last week, and the worst part about it is this whole experience would be over and I wouldn't get to see Derek anymore," she opined. "Being on the beach at sunset is definitely a romantic place. That helped to put me in the proper mind set for this rumba."
After the rumba routine last night, Dancing with the Stars host Samantha Harris commented on Hough and Elizabeth's "great chemistry" and asked about Elizabeth's goodbye comment during the video package.
"Where does it say you can't speak after you're off the show?" asked Harris.
"We're just having a lot of fun working together everyday and learning," answered Elizabeth. "I'm going to miss all these guys too. We've become quite a family."
"Are you saying then that this is just a showmance?" inquired Harris.
"This is just... We're working on our dances and learning," replied Elizabeth, looking at Hough to see if he could help.
"And we're serious about the routines," he added. "We want to get the character of the dance."
"You guys have become very close," said Harris, continuing to push the issue. "How close have you become?"
"We're really serious about this competition," reiterated Hough. "We went to the beach and we got into character. What can I say?"
"They're definitely committed actors," answered Harris before the judges revealed a score of 24.
While the couple continues to play coy, some of their fellow Dancing with the Stars participants apparently think they should just come clean.
"They should just admit it," Dancing professional Cheryl Burke toldEntertainment Tonight, according to OK! Weekly.
"Yeah, she's been single for a few weeks, or a few hours? So what's the problem? Single is single," added Burke's celebrity partner Cristian de la Fuente about Elizabeth, who was reportedly dating California math teacher Brett Estrada when Dancing with the Stars began earlier this year.
Dancing with the Stars professional Mark Ballas -- who trained as a youth in England with Derek and his sister Julianne -- said he hasn't officially gotten the word from Hough that he and Elizabeth are dating.
"I think it's great," Ballas toldTV Guide after last night's performance episode. "Derek is so private about all those things. He still hasn't told me that it's official. But whenever they're together, it seems like they're having a great time. And they're putting on a great show."
Dancing with the Stars sixth-season celebrity participant Marissa Jaret Winokur agreed with Ballas that learning of a romance between Hough and Elizabeth isn't exactly earth-shattering news.
"I'm not shocked they're a real couple," she told TV Guide. "I'm shocked that there's only one [off-stage couple] this season."
Winokur explained dancing is "10 times more physical" than singing or acting, hence the romantic relationships.
"Either you're going to love, love, love your partner or you're going to hate them," she told TV Guide. "If a man that I had a crush on said, 'That looks sexy,' forget it! I think that's why so many people do hook up on this show. You become so comfortable, and you spend so many hours touching each other. How could it not become physical if you're not going home to someone -- your significant other -- to really touch?"
While Ballas and Winokur wouldn't be shocked by the romance, the same apparently can't be said about professional Edyta Sliwinska.
"Their relationship came as a surprise to me because we don't really see the other couples except on show days," she told TV Guide. "But it was a nice surprise. It's very cute."
Karina Smirnoff -- who was the subject of a romance rumor with her sixth-season celebrity partner Mario before both denied it -- offered her two cents on Hough and Elizabeth's relationship.
"If that's true, we're excited for them," Smirnoff told OK! in a Tuesday report. "We're excited that people are actually talking about somebody else but us. Yay -- the heat is off!"