Wed., Jun. 3, 2009 2:00 PM PDT by Marc Malkin
Guess who loves Julianne Hough?
Kenny Ortega, the director of the upcoming remake of Footloose.
Nope, the Dancing With the Stars hoofer and country singer hasn't landed the female lead opposite Chace Crawford yet, but...
"I love her," Ortega tells me. "I adore her. I'm a big fan of hers. Not only how beautiful but how deep her talent goes."
Ortega, the man behind the High School Musical cameras, was more restrained when asked if Hough will indeed be Crawford's leading lady.
"Maybe," he said with a grin.
Hough has been just as coy. "I don't want to say anything until it's a 100 percent thing," she recently told Ohio's WTAP News.
As for Crawford, Ortega says he nailed it at his audition. "He left his apartment at 4:30 a.m. in New York, flew across the U.S. and walked through the door," he recalls. "He was ready, open, no excuses, just dove in. So disciplined. He's colorful, smart, musical, sexy and fun.
"There were 12 of us there, and you could see the little smirks going up," he continues. "Everyone was smiling when he walked out the door."
Should Hough be in Footloose? We say yes, but wanna hear from you, too. Let us know what you think.
Hough operates at the other end of the spectrum, a fresh-faced family entertainer making a bid for Nashville stardom. Her self-titled debut does its business quickly (it's over in just 38 minutes), and like Hough herself, doesn't leave much of an impression beyond the warm, occasionally out-sized voice and that irrepressible perkiness she's displayed on two seasons of Dancing With the Stars.
If you close your eyes, it's not hard to imagine fellow Music City blonde Carrie Underwood handling a lot of the same material (with similar style). The 19-year-old Hough is competent and slickly produced but doesn't add much to the equation beyond her bubbly personality and a creepy Children of the Damned vibe (although that might just be Dreaming Under the Same Moon, a gooey duet with her brother Derek, a fellow Dancing alum).
While charisma might be enough to move a few extra copies of this 11-track collection, it doesn't suggest that she'll necessarily have a lengthy, rewarding career. Then again, if Nashville can go ga-ga for the mystifying Taylor Swift, perhaps Hough's got more of a future than it would seem.
Download these: Johansson -- Anywhere I Lay My Head; Hough -- Hello
** out of 5 stars