"Dancing With the Stars" (DWTS) Season 29 is certainly bringing a lot of changes in the long-running reality dance competition. After replacing the long-time hosts Erin Andrews and Tom Bergeron, the show will also be switching a judge.
Fan-favourite dance professional Derek Hough is returning to DWTS 2020 and not as a participant, but a judge. The six-time Mirrorball champion will be taking long-time judge Len Goodman's place on the judges' panel. He will be joining Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli for judging duties.
Speaking with People, Hough talks about his new role on the show. "I'm excited to see what happens," the 35-year-old choreographer said. "There are a lot of unknowns and uncertainties this season, but I'm excited to see the solutions and see how we're all going to do it."
Hough has been a part of the show for nearly a decade. His stint as a professional dancer lasted from 2007 to 2016. Apart from winning the most-coveted Mirrorball trophy for record-breaking six times, he has also received nine nominations for Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Choreography, winning the award twice.
This won't be his first time judging a dance competition for the first time. He has served as a judge on the NBC dance show "World of Dance." The professional dancer apparently also shares a good relationship with other judges.
"I already have a great relationship with them — I've known them for years," Hough added. "We've been chatting. We're supposed to be eight feet apart from each other at the judges' desk, so that's going to be a long desk. Bruno and I are very similar in the way I move my body. It's probably good that we're not next to each other, because it would have been a hazard. Poor Carrie Ann would've been dodging arms everywhere."
About judging the contestants, he wants to be "fair" and "helpful." He believes his experience on the stage can help him do his job well. "But also, I've been in their shoes. I've been in that experience on the dance floor so I know what it takes," Hough explained.
The big announcement about the change in the judges' panel was announced by ABC in a statement on Tuesday. They revealed that while Goodman will not be able to judge the ballroom performances, he will remain a part of the show "in a different capacity."
"In light of current circumstances Len Goodman will be unable to judge this season live in the ballroom, though he will still be a part of the show in a different capacity sharing his ballroom expertise from London," according to ABC (via CNN).
"DWTS" season 29 premieres Monday, Sept. 14 at 8:00 pm ET on ABC.