Derek Hough will be returning to Dancing With the Stars this season— but not on the dance floor! As Entertainment Tonight reports, Hough is set to join the show's panel of judges, and he opened up about why he decided to accept the offer!

Hough says he likes the "uncertainty" of this season of DWTS

Hough shared that he'd been in talks to return for a while, but it just didn't end up working out until now. "It was something that was talked about, I think maybe last year, but timing, things happening, this is the right time," he told Entertainment Tonight's Keltie Knight over Zoom. Last week, Good Morning America shared that Hough would be coming back to the show for season 29. However, it was only revealed on Tuesday that he'd now be judging it!

And because of the unique situation this year with the coronavirus pandemic, Hough said that he's looking forward to seeing how things play out! "I'm excited. I'm actually excited about the timing of this in the sense that I don't really know how they're going to do this and how the season's going to happen with protocols and stuff," he shared. "But that excites me. I like that uncertainty; I like that unknown."

Hough feels he's done everything as a competitor on DWTS

Hough is a six-time mirrorball winner who last competed as a pro in season 23 of Dancing with the Stars, which means he has a lot of experiences to draw from! "It's interesting, actually, because being apart of the show for so long, so many seasons, I feel like I've been through every possible experience," he explained.

"Embarrassment, bad choices, triumphs, success, all the different experiences you could imagine. I kinda felt like I've already done that part." That's why when Hough he had the opportunity to join Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli on the judging panel, he took it! "So coming back into a new role ... I feel like I have a lot of compassion and empathy, but also a lot of experience," he shared.

As Entertainment Tonight mentions, Len Goodman— who's one of DWTS' regular judges— will be unable to physically appear on the show this year. Goodman is in the United Kingdom, and COVID-19 travel restrictions mean he can't travel to the United States. He'll still be involved somehow, which Hough speculates will be "digital in some way" although he isn't sure how. "Or hologram, who knows," he joked. "But no, he's very much a part of the show."

Hough describes his judging style: "I'm going to be honest"

Hough went on to talk about what he's going to be like as a judge on the show. "I'm going to be fair, I'm going to be honest, but I'm definitely not going to be mean. That's just not who I am," he stated. "And here's the thing. I'm not replacing Len, he's still very much part of the show, so I'm certainly not trying to sort of fill those shoes, if that makes sense. Len is Len and Bruno is Bruno, you know? They are who they are."

"I will say, with me, I'm an energetic person. I'm very physical," he added. "My compassion will come with honesty because, listen, I know what it takes, and it's tough. It's hard and in order to go all the way it is not going to be easy." Hough also said that if need be, he would be able to balance Dancing With the Stars with his other show, World of Dance!

"For me, I love World of Dance so much, that show is so phenomenal," he explained. "And that's what's so great about the two shows, they're so different, so I don't feel like that sense of conflict. So if the next season of World of Dance happens then I'd love to be a part of it."

In July, Hough also opened up about the exit of longtime DWTS hosts Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews. Now that the season 29 lineup has been revealed and we know that Hough will be on the judging panel, we can't wait to see what he brings to the show in his new role when the show returns on September 14!

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