At this point, Maksim Chmerkovskiy has said he's leaving after his contract expires next year, and he expected that to be true of other pros as well. Cheryl Burke has hinted to wanting to take off the next season, to either be The Bachelorette or explore other projects. And Derek Hough launched speculation that he was leaving DWTS after All-StarsSeason 15, when he called this season his "swan song" and "last hurrah."
That was over the summer. Earlier this month, Derek told TV Guide he couldn't confirm leaving or staying, "But no matter what, I'll always be part of the show. I'll always be on hand if they need me or want me." Well, that sounded promising!
Derek took a more measured tone when talking to reporters after the All-Stars finale, in which he and Shawn Johnson took second place. During the finale, they showed Derek tearing up when talking about how important Shawn had become to him. He wanted a perfect ending for them — but he was also thinking about how this might be his own last time on the dance floor.
“I was shocked at how I reacted,” Derek told reporters later (via Entertainment Weekly). ”I was sort of overwhelmed and could barely speak, to be quite honest, because of all the memories of the show and how amazing it is. It was overwhelming. I couldn’t even describe the feeling and I always want to be part of the show in some way. Who knows but …”
He keeps leaving us on "but." He repeats "We'll see" and "I can't say right now," which is frustrating. But we can understand his ambitions. He's a creative guy, anxious to stretch his legs. “There’s so much I want to do,” Derek said. ”It’s just about the next chapter. It’s been 10 seasons of this and I’ve won three times and the seasons I haven’t won, I’ve been more than proud of and it’s been extraordinary. I feel like it’s conquered and on to the next, you know?”
That sounds like he's angling to leave, but we thought we might never see him again when he took Season 12 off to film Cobu 3D. He came back to us, so it's possible he could be thinking about a break, but still return for Results Shows and even to compete again. Or he could follow his sister Julianne Hough out the door. As he keeps saying, "We'll see..."