The finale Freestyles have been a staple of Dancing with the Stars
since the beginning, and no one has been to more of them than Derek
Hough. While he may be absent from season 24, the six-time Mirror Ball
champion has reached 10 finales and performed 10 Freestyles.
As season 24 winds down, I thought it would be fun to look back at all 10 Freestyles from the all-time champion of Dancing with the Stars
to see what worked and what didn't.#10 Season 19 with Bethany Mota
The height of Derek's creativity, this routine was set in a dystopian future. It was a cool concept, but Bethany got lost in the crowd.
#9 Season 13 with Ricki Lake
This was a fun number with a lot of shimmying and shaking, though given the rest of the dances on this list, it feels a little safe. (NOTE: For the Freestyle, jump to the 20-minute mark in this video.)
#8 Season 7 with Brooke Burke
Derek's first Freestyle, the Grease
concept was a little hokey but it had some cool stuff and set the stage for a lot of Derek's future moves.
#7 Season 11 with Jennifer Grey
These two were a little tongue-in-cheek and had a good time grooving and partying, but looking back on it, it seems like Derek does almost all of the work and it actually looks rather similar to his Freestyle with Brooke.
#6 Season 18 with Amy Purdy
Triumphant and inspirational, this routine is best remembered for the spinning rope at the end. It was a perfect blend of Freestyle and star, though it did highlight by top complaint about these two, namely that Derek was lifting her up more than half the time.
#5 Season 17 with Amber Riley
Like Bethany, this was a Freestyle filled with other dancers, but Amber was able to shine in an Old West saloon theme. Amber was front and center the whole time, taking charge and showing off her impressive moves. The only real complaint I have is that Derek blended in with the other pros a bit.
#4 Season 15 with Shawn Johnson
Using Shawn's gymnastics background to great effect, this dance had lifts, flips and one absolutely brilliant and jaw-dropping moment where she stood on his shoulders and he tipped over, with both of them somersaulting out of the drop.
#3 Season 16 with Kellie Pickler
Derek pulled out every trick from his Contemporary playbook with this fascinating dance that had spins, lifts and one section where Kellie tilted down so far, it looked like she was breaking the rules of gravity.
#2 Season 10 with Nicole Scherzinger
A cool and fun old-school Freestyle, this dance had plenty of content from different styles, lots of attitude and even a quick costume change in the middle. Were it not for an unfortunate struggle with the final lift, it would've been perfect, but they still won the Mirror Ball.
#1 Season 21 with Bindi Irwin
Raw and powerful, this Contemporary routine was dedicated to Bindi's late father, Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin. The movement was superb and the emotion was extreme, ending with Bindi staring at a giant photo of her dad. It's impossible to watch it without crying.
(Image and videos courtesy of ABC)