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Dancing with the Stars is about to lose one of its major players. Dancer, actress and singer Julianne Hough is leaving the judges panel and will not be returning for the next season, which will be the show’s 22nd.
According to People magazine, Julianne Hough will end her work with the show before the next season. She started her time with Dancing with the Stars as a company dancer with the national tour that was put together for the hit dance competition. She then joined the cast of the televised show for Season 4, in 2005. Hough has helped her celebrity partner win the contest twice; she won with Olympic gold-medal-winning speed skater Apolo Ohno in her first season on the show, and in the very next season with three time Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves. Her work as a choreographer on the show has seen her nominated for a Creative Arts Primetime Emmy in 2007, and win a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Choreography in 2015.
In 2008, Julianne Hough decided to take a break from Dancing with the Stars to focus on her singing career. Her first country music single was released in the spring of 2007 to raise funds for the American Red Cross. Her self-titled, inaugural album was released in 2008, and even though it received mixed reviews, it debuted at Number 1 on the Top Country Albums chart and peaked at Number 3 on the Billboard 200 chart. She also won Top New Female Vocalist and Top New Artist awards from the Academy of Country Music in 2009.
Even though Julianne Hough visited her old dancing ground here and there during her time away from the show, she also used that time to beef up her acting career. Her first leading role was in 2011, with the remake of Footloose. She then moved on to a starring role in the 2012 film adaptation of the Broadway musical Rock of Ages, where she got to show off her singing voice, as well. Hough also starred in Safe Haven, which was based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, the next year. But the most recent effort that took wonderful advantage of her many talents, was the live FOX musical Grease that aired at the end of January.
Hough returned to Dancing with the Stars as a member of the judging panel on the show for the nineteenth season in the fall of 2014. She had appeared as a guest judge for the previous two seasons, but was then added as a permanent fourth judge, along with Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli and Len Goodman.
After her appearance in Grease, Julianne Hough is likely fielding a lot of offers to broaden the scope of her acting, singing and dancing career. Her time away from Dancing with the Stars will, undoubtedly, be used wisely.