Adam Taylor/ABC
November 28, 2012 at 05:43 AM EST

Is the Dancing with the Stars golden boy ready to bolt?

The tears that Derek Hough shed during Tuesday’s finale of Dancing with the Stars seemed to indicate that he was mourning more than just the end of the season with Shawn Johnson. Was he preparing to say goodbye to the ABC show that made him a household name?

“I was shocked at how I reacted,” Hough told reporters afterwards. “I was sort of overwhelmed and could barely speak, to be quite honest, because of all the memories of the show and how amazing it is. It was overwhelming.  I couldn’t even describe the feeling and I always want to be part of the show in some way. Who knows but …”

But what? Is the three-time Mirror Ball winner finally ready to hang up his dancing shoes after failing to take the top prize on Tuesday? [He and Johnson came in second place behind Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani). “There’s so much I want to do,” Hough said. “It’s just about the next chapter.  It’s been ten seasons of this and I’ve won three times and the seasons I haven’t won, I’ve been more than proud  of and it’s been extraordinary. I feel like it’s conquered and on to the next, you know?”

This isn’t the first time a popular pro has hinted about bolting. Almost every year, Maksim Chermkovskiy generates headlines by suggesting he won’t return to the ballroom. Maybe that’s why, for now, Hough will only say this: “We’ll see. I can’t say right now.” — With reporting from Carole Glines

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