Derek Hough DWTS
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It’s halfway through the 28th season of “Dancing With The Stars,” and there are currently eight couples still in the running for the mirror ball. In a new interview this week, former pro dancer turned “Dancing With The Stars” judge Derek Hough, who is the fourth judge on the panel this season, revealed why Olivia Jade Giannulli is the celebrity dancer to surprise him the most this season. 

Judge Derek Hough Gushes Over DWTS Contestant Olivia Jade

Derek Hough explained that Olivia Jade Giannulli, daughter of ex-con Lori Loughlin, “wasn’t on the radar” for him in the pre-season.

However, he’s been pleasantly surprised by the performances she’s given with her professional partner Val Chmerkovskiy.

Backstory: Lori Loughlin’s Daughter Joins ‘DWTS’ – See Who Else Made The Cast

Check out Olivia Jade and partner Val Chmerkovskiy’s latest dance below.

“To be honest with you, at the beginning … you had those few people that you were looking out for them and all of a sudden I’m like, ‘Wait, [Olivia Jade is] really good,” Hough admitted to Pop Culture. “She’s a great performer. She’s really charismatic. It’s very natural. But also just the technique is really good, and so I was pretty impressed. I’m pretty surprised by her.”

This is high praise coming from Hough given how stiff the competition is this year on the ABC reality show.

‘Everybody’s So Good!’

“Who knows what’s going to happen? Everybody’s so good!” he continued. “This is an exciting part of the season because this is where it gets competitive. … People that you might have thought were going to be in the final are being knocked out. So it’s going to be exciting.”

As for the person Hough was most “bummed” to see go, that would be Spice Girl Mel C, who was shockingly sent packing in week 5 on Grease night despite having a high score. 

“She’s just pop culture legend,  and so I was really bummed [to see her go],” Hough lamented. “Man, she definitely went home too soon for sure, because she was super talented and super kind and just awesome.”

Related: Lori Loughlin’s Daughter Reveals If Her Mom Would Ever Do ‘Dancing With The Stars’

Olivia Jade Speaks Out

Olivia Jade has admitted that it took her some time to have pride in her performance on “Dancing With The Stars,” especially since she was keenly aware of the fact that most viewers know her solely from her parents’ college admissions scandal.

After this week’s show, she told Entertainment Tonight:

“It definitely wasn’t after the first or second week. It’s scary in general for anybody putting yourself out there and then already being in the public eye, and I feel like most people — besides, you know, my OG subscribers and fans that have watched my YouTube that I’m so grateful for — but I do feel like most people know me for a certain thing and a certain narrative, and I was just really excited that I had this chance to maybe show a different side and to hopefully switch it a little bit. I think the confidence started to come probably, like, maybe week four, week five.”

While that’s certainly high praise from judge Derek Hough, it will be  interesting to see how far Olivia Jade can take her ‘Dancing With The Stars’ run.

Who knows, Lori Loughlin’s infamous daughter might even win the mirror ball trophy at the end! 

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