Derek Hough: “Dear Maria Menounos…”

Such a cute pair! (Photo Bob D'Amico/ABC)

Did you see Derek Hough’s open letter to his soon-to-be “Dancing with the Stars” partner Maria Menounos? DHough took to the Huffington Post to share a few pre-competition words of encouragement for the “Extra” host. “When I first heard you were going to be my partner, I was completely stoked,” he says. “You have incredible energy and are full of life. Some may even say you are a bit of a looker. I hadn’t noticed.” (Nyuk nyuk.)

Derek’s letter also gives us an interesting peek at all the hard work that happens before “DWTS” filming begins. “Unfortunately, the audience doesn’t get to see the first weeks of rehearsal, where I believe the majority of the transformation happens,” he says. “It’s like going from Bambi on ice to actually dancing full routines with all the bells and whistles.”

Much has already been said about how the “DWTS” professionals, rather than the celebrity competitors, have become the true stars of the show. But I can’t get over just how dramatic that flip-flop has been. Can you imagine anyone—well, us super-nerds aside—reading an article by one of the pros during Season 1? People barely knew their names. Whatever my conflicted feelings about “DWTS” as a whole, how awesome that it’s given these fabulously talented ballroom dancers the recognition they deserve.

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