“In my very first season, my second dance, this is when I’m like, ‘This is my chance. I’m going to show what I got. This is my first time on TV doing this.’ And I dropped my partner, Jennie Garth, on live television,” Hough, 35, told Us Weekly exclusively while promoting his partnership with Red Robin to encourage fans to show off their moves with a Bacon Dance TikTok challenge.
He continued: “Which by the way, dropping your partner and falling on live television … But it was, like, the worst thing, but the good thing about that is I got that out of the way real quick. That’s the worst thing that could possibly happen, so it’s only uphill from here.”
Hough, who won the ABC dancing competition six times, had countless experiences that he enjoyed during his run as both a professional dancer and a judge.
“The one very memorable moment was when I danced the freestyle with Kellie Pickler. That was a dance that was a risk. I was like, ‘Let’s do something different from everybody else.’ It was the first year they were doing super-sized freestyle and everybody’s doing more and more and more,” Hough explained.
For the Utah native, it was all about setting a scene during the one-of-a-kind performance. “It turned out to be … a special moment. Honestly, I could give you 20 of them, because there’s … incredible moments every season, at least,” he told Us.
After being a professional dancer on the show from 2007 to 2016, Hough still struggles to choose his favorite performance and the best celebrity dancers.
“It depends. There’s so many different variables of what you consider to be the best,” Hough explained. “I think, like, natural ability, Jordan Fisher was super great and very natural. Nicole Scherzinger, obviously. But there’s some other people who are better in other ways.”
The choreographer, however, is able to pinpoint the celebrities that blew him away the most.
“Amy Purdy was incredible. Obviously being a paralympian and working with prosthetics, she was incredible. But also, Bindi Irwin, she just kind of walked in the room and was like she just got off a hike with muddy boots and then she was phenomenal. She was fantastic,” Hough said. “Also, Kellie Pickler, she was a big surprise as well with no dance training. She just had the most extraordinary feat and beautiful extension, and it was awesome.”
For more, watch Hough in the video above!