A fan-favorite is making his way back to the Dancing with the Stars set this fall, but this time in a whole new role. Derek Hough is a Dancing with the Stars judge for Season 29, which means the series veteran will be around to impart some of his dancing expertise on this season's dancers. The news was announced on Good Morning America on Sept. 8 and it was a majorly happy surprise for fans.
"This show has been and will always be incredibly special to me," Hough said in a statement about his new gig. "Coming back feels like coming home and I couldn't be more excited to be back in the ballroom."
The accomplished dancer and choreographer won Dancing with the Star's coveted Mirrorball top prize six times — the most of any dancer — during his time performing. He also won two Emmy awards for his choreography on the show, and most recently was a judge on NBC's World of Dance. Suffice it to say, he definitely has the chops to hand out scores to this season's dancers.
Hough will join longtime judges Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli at the table. He'll be taking the spot of judge Len Goodman, although not fully replacing him. ABC said in a statement that "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 the UK."
Hough took to Instagram to celebrate his big announcement, writing: "I hope to be fair, fun, encouraging, honest, helpful, compassionate and I look forward to watching these amazing journeys unfold."
The addition of Hough to the judge's table won't be the only change fans will notice in the upcoming season. Hosts Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews won't be returning this fall, and instead Tyra Banks is stepping into the hosting duties. Hough previously told Bevy Smith on an episode of Bevelations on SiriusXM's Radio Andy that he's "optimistic" about the upcoming season of the show and is looking forward to seeing Banks take on hosting duties. "I thought she was a fantastic host on America's Got Talent," he said.
The Season 29 cast of Dancing with the Stars includes Tiger King's Carole Baskin, former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe, Cheer coach Monica Aldama, Backstreet Boys alum AJ McLean, rapper Nelly, and Selling Sunset's Chrishell Stause, just to name a few.
Dancing with the Stars Season 29 premieres on Monday, Sept. 14, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.