Derek Hough Returning To ‘DWTS’ As New Judge For Season 29: ‘Coming Back Feels Like Coming Home’

He's back! 'DWTS' veteran Derek Hough is returning for season 29 as a new judge! He'll be joining Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli at the judges' table this season.

Derek Hough
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Dancing With the Stars continues to switch things up for season 29. Derek Hough who has famously won six mirrorball trophies, is returning to the show as a new judge for season 29. The 35-year-old will be joining Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli at the judges’ table in the ballroom. “This show has been and will always be incredibly special to me,” Derek said in a statement. “Coming back feels like coming home and I couldn’t be more excited to be back in the ballroom.”

This means that Len Goodman will not be back as a judge in the ballroom this season. In light of current circumstances, Len is unable to judge season 29 live in the ballroom. However, he will still be a part of the show in a different capacity, sharing his ballroom expertise from the UK. The only other time in DWTS history that Len was not a judge was season 21.

Derek Hough
Derek Hough was a ‘DWTS’ pro for 17 seasons. (ABC)

The exciting news was confirmed live on Good Morning America on Sept. 8. Derek’s return to Dancing With the Stars was teased leading up to the big reveal. “He started with the show as a pro and has made it really big,” new host Tyra Banks told media outlets, including HollywoodLife. “So for him to be coming back, I think is honoring his roots and the fans are going to be crazy excited.”

Judging dance competition shows is nothing new for Derek. He has been a judge alongside Jennifer Lopez and Ne-Yo on NBC’s World of Dance for 4 seasons. His sister, Julianne Hough, was a DWTS judge for 5 seasons.

Derek Hough
Derek Hough with fellow ‘DWTS’ pro Witney Carson. (ABC)

Dancing With the Stars season 29 will premiere Sept. 14 on ABC. Tyra is taking over as the host, replacing Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews. There will be no live audience due to the COVID-19 pandemic and strict health and safety protocols are being implemented to protect the cast and crew. This season’s celebrities include Carole Baskin, Nelly, AJ McLean, Monica Aldama, Jesse Metcalfe, Anne Heche, Johnny Weir, Vernon Davis, Kaitlyn Bristowe, Justina Machado, Charles Oakley, Jeannie Mai, Skai Jackson, Chrishell Stause, and Nev Schulman.

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