May 21, 2013 at 4:55 PM ET
"Dancing With the Stars" pro Derek Hough seems poised to win his fourth mirror ball trophy Tuesday night with partner Kellie Pickler. But will he return when the show comes back in September for another season?
“I don’t know yet,” he told reporters on the post-show red carpet Monday. “Next year (2014) is going to be a little different. That’s when these projects I’m working on will come to life. Right now, they’re in the preparation stages. (So) it might be a good idea to do next season.”
As fans of Hough know, the three-time winner almost didn’t partake in this season.
“I was literally within an hour of not doing it,” he shared. “I called the producers and said I have this weird feeling that I need to do this season. ... They said, ‘Well, we need to know within the next hour.’ Then, I was like, ‘OK, Let’s do it.’ Now, I know why.”
That reason? His amazing run with current partner, "American Idol" alum Pickler.
Judge Carrie Ann Inaba criticized the pair earlier in the season for not having enough of an emotional connection in their dances.
“That actually stuck with me,” Hough said. “I wanted (our freestyle) to be an emotional routine. I wanted it to connect with people and connect with us. Afterwards, I looked over and saw Carrie Ann crying. That was the moment to top off the season for us.”
Hough knows he could have gone all out and added more production values to the freestyle routine, but he opted to keep it simple.“I’m all for big productions,” he told TODAY.com. “I love putting on shows. I wondered if it was it right to downsize the routine physically and supersize it emotionally? I wanted to make it about Kellie and not wow the audience with a spectacle, but to wow them with heart. I think it paid off, but there was definitely a ping pong match going on in my mind.”