Hough wears a Dsquared2 shirt and pants.
Hough wears a Dsquared2 shirt and pants.

Before he became a regular on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, the hugely popular live competition that has brought ballroom dancing to the masses, Derek Hough was wary of reality TV. “It just seemed absurd to me,” he admits. But his sister, Julianne, convinced him to appear as a guest dancer, and he hasn’t looked back in 15 seasons—even if the show, on which Marie Osmond fainted and Bristol Palin shed bitter tears, can be physically and emotionally taxing. “If youtry to be cool, if you worry about being embarrassed, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons,” Hough says. “You’ve gotta embrace it—and sometimes that means going for a ridiculous song.”