Derek Hough is heading back to the ballroom, but this time, he’s stepping off the dance floor and shaking things up at the judges’ table. During Tuesday’s Good Morning America, ABC revealed that the six-time mirrorball champion will be joining the season 29 judges panel. Four years after he departed from the show.
“This show has been and will always be incredibly special to me,” said Hough in a statement to GMA.“Coming back feels like coming home and I couldn’t be more excited to be back in the ballroom,” Hough said during a virtual press conference. “The joy it brings, the pure entertainment, I think it’s much needed right now. To be a part of that once again is a privilege.”
“There’s nothing they’re going through that I haven’t gone through before”
Derek also revealed his plans to become a “fair” and “fun” judge who is there to help the celebrity dancers improve.
“I want to try to inspire and motivate these celebrities to have the best possible time they can have and to get better each week,” he said. “For me, I’ve experienced everything they’ve experienced. I’ve been on the show 17 seasons. And there’s nothing they’re going through that I haven’t gone through before so I understand. I’ll be very emphatic and very compassionate as well,” Hough added.
Hough still holds the title of most wins in DWTS history
Hough, who is also a judge on NBC’s World of Dance, alongside Jennifer Lopez and Ne-Yo, starred as a professional dancer on DWTS from 2007 to 2016. In fact, Derek still holds the record for most wins in DWTS history.
Replacing Len Goodman
Derek will serve as a judge in the latest season of the dance competition series alongside fellow judges Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli.
As a result, Hough will be replacing Len Goodman, who is exiting his longtime role as judge due to circumstances surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. Goodman, is however, expected to participate virtually from the United Kingdom, in the newest season of the ABC reality competition.
Derek isn’t first Hough to judge
Derek isn’t the only Hough to grace the judges panel. His sister and fellow dancer, Julianne Hough was also a judge on DWTS for seasons 19-21, 23, and 24. Which came after her stint as a professional dancer earlier on the show.
Apart from his gig at NBC’s World of Dance, Derek has also guest starred on High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. And has appeared in the Disney Family Singalong specials earlier this year. He’s also prepping a residency at the Flamingo Las Vegas, which is set to open next year.
“You need to get ready because it’s going to be different!”
The latest season of the dance reality show has seen quite a few changes and will also be seeing a couple of new faces. For the upcoming season, Tyra Banks is taking over hosting duties from DWTS veterans Tom Bergeron, and co host, Erin Andrews after their exit was announced last month.
Banks recently teased big changes for the upcoming season, saying, “[We’re] keeping the stuff that we know America loves. But you need to get ready because it’s going to be different!”
According to insiders and reports, these differences will include safety measures to ensure a COVID-proof production. With contestants and their partners quarantining together to protect against coronavirus. “You’re gonna get very close to your partner real quick. Mainly because that’s gonna be pretty much the only person you’re gonna see for the next few months,” Hough said. “It’s gonna make for some either really great relationships, or it’s gonna get pretty tense pretty quick.”
Announcing the Celebrity Contestants and Pro Dancers
Last week, the show announced this season’s celebrity contestants, which include, The Bachelorette’s Kaitlyn Bristowe, Backstreet Boys’ AJ McLean. Tiger King star Carole Baskin, Selling Sunset’s Chrishell Stause, Former NFL player Vernon Davis, Actor Jesse Metcalfe. Monica Aldama (Netflix’s Cheer), Anne Heche, Skai Jackson, Actress Justina Machado. The Real host Jeannie Mai, Rapper Nelly, Catfish host Nev Schulman, NBA superstar Charles Oakley and Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir.
Although Hough won’t be a part of the show’s pro dancers crew this season, he will be judging the likes of Sharna Burgess, Peta Murgatroyd, Val Chmerkovskiy. Cheryl Burke, Keo Motsepe, Jenna Johnson, Alan Bersten, Brandon Armstrong, Sasha Farber. Pasha Pashkov, Emma Slater, Gleb Savchenko and Artem Chigvintsev. As well as newcomers Britt Stewart and Daniella Karagach.
Season 29 of DWTS is all set to premiere Monday, Sept. 14 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.