Derek Hough Joins DWTS as Judge as Its Revealed Len Goodman Will Be Part of Show in Different Role amid COVID-19
Derek Hough is heading back to the Dancing with the Stars stage — this time as a judge!
Hough, 35, will be joining the season 29 judges panel, it was announced on Good Morning America Tuesday.
“This show has been and will always be incredibly special to me," Hough, who serves as a judge on NBC's World of Dance, said in a statement. "Coming back feels like coming home and I couldn’t be more excited to be back in the ballroom.”
He will join returning judges Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli in the ballroom. Though longtime head judge Len Goodman is unable to judge this season live in the ballroom in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, he will continue to be a part of the show in a different capacity — sharing his expertise from the U.K.
Hough last appeared on the show as a pro during season 23, after taking the previous season off. His return was teased last week, when GMA tweeted, "TUESDAY: @derekhough is coming BACK to @DancingABC – but what will he be doing?"
The six-time Mirrorball trophy winner's return comes amid a shakeup on the reality dance competition series, which included the exit of hosts Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews.
ABC and BBC Studios announced their departures in July, saying in a joint statement provided to PEOPLE, "Tom Bergeron will forever be part of the Dancing with the Stars family. As we embark on a new creative direction, he departs the show with our sincerest thanks and gratitude for his trademark wit and charm that helped make this show a success."
"Erin will also not be returning, and we appreciate all that she brought to the ballroom," the statement continued. "Fans have been rooting for her since she originally competed as a contestant back in 2010, and her signature sense of humor has become a hallmark of the show."
It a tweet following the news, Bergeron, 65, said that his time on the show was "the most unexpected gift of my career," and said he's "grateful for that and for the lifelong friendships made."
Andrews, 42, has said that the news of her and Bergeron's exits was a surprise, telling Extra last week that she wasn't expecting it.
"It was a surprise," Andrews said. "I got a phone call and I answered the phone. I was like, 'This isn't good.' "
Tyra Banks will be taking over the role as host when the new season premieres Sept 14.
In July, Hough expressed surprise at the host shakeup, telling Bevy Smith that he "was pretty shocked" at the news during an episode of Bevelations on SiriusXM's Radio Andy.
"I think Tom Bergeron is such a staple of Dancing with the Stars, and he's a good friend of mine. He's a good man," Hough said. "He's been there from the beginning, and you know he's just a great guy."
Of Banks, Hough said, "I think she's fantastic."
"I thought she was a fantastic host on America's Got Talent," he added, continuing to say that he feels "optimistic" for the upcoming season.
"I feel optimistic. I think she'll do fantastic. As far as my history [with the show], I was definitely shocked about Tom," he said. "For me, I'm always sort of a cheerleader for the show to succeed … especially for shows I've been a part of. I want Dancing with the Stars to succeed and do well, and I hope it does."
Hough will be judging pro dancers 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.
Among the list of stars competing this year are Jeannie Mai, Backstreet Boys' AJ McLean, Tiger King subject Carole Baskin, Selling Sunset's Chrishell Stause and former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe.
Season 29 of DWTS will premiere Monday, Sept. 14 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
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