Dancing With The Stars' Derek Hough Is Returning In An Unexpected Way For Season 29

derek hough dancing with the stars season 29

Dancing with the Stars is going to look a lot different when it premieres for Season 29. Not only will hosts Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews be missing from the season, with Tyra Banks now hosting, but Derek Hough is now officially confirmed to be returning, though not in the way you might think. In the past, Hough was known to serve as a pro dancer before leaving to judge NBC’s World of Dance. Now, he’ll be putting those judging skills to good use for DWTS in Season 29.

That’s right, Derek Hough will officially be joining Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Toniolo as a judge for Dancing with the Stars Season 29. Hough will be replacing long-time judge Len Goodman in the ballroom. But don’t worry about Goodman, who will still be around in some capacity. The goal is for the Dancing with the Stars vet to tune in and share his expertise remotely from London, instead of live and in person from Los Angeles. Goodman isn't able to make the travel situation work due to COVID travel regulations.

Derek Hough was ecstatic about his return to Dancing with the Stars. Here’s what he had to say:

This show has been and will always be incredibly special to me. Coming back feels like coming home and I couldn’t be more excited to be back in the ballroom.

It’s a shame that Len Goodman (and his snark) won’t be around in quite the same way this season, but I think Derek Hough is a really good and smart choice for a replacement judge. Hough has a tremendous amount of dance credibility and has been a fan-favorite for a long time. Hough was paired with several celebrity partners over the course of Dancing with the Stars, including Nicole Scherzinger, Glee’s Amber Riley, and Brooke Burke, and he has won a grand total of six ballroom trophies. The celebs in Season 29 are definitely going to want to listen to his advice.

Derek Hough isn’t the only member of his family who has transitioned from pro dancer to judge on the ABC series. Sister Julianne Hough also started off as a ballroom pro before graduating to Dancing with the Stars' judge table for Season 19 through Season 21. The older Hough will be filling in for some big shoes this season, but he’s more than capable of handling it.

Dancing with the Stars Season 29 will be hosted by Tyra Banks, who will serve as a permanent replacement for Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews, as well as an executive producer behind the scenes. It was announced in July that the longtime hosts wouldn’t be returning to the show, and that ABC execs were moving in “a new creative direction” for the upcoming season. When asked about the change, Derek Hough cited that Bergeron’s ousting was “understandable,” because such is the nature of Hollywood.

The cast of Dancing with the Stars Season 29 will include Tiger King’s Carole Baskin, Nelly, One Day At a Time’s Justina Machado, and Backstreet Boys singer AJ McLean, among several others. The new season will premiere live on Monday, September 14 at 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC. For more on what to watch, be sure to check out our 2020 fall TV schedule.

Mae Abdulbaki