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Julianne Hough Discusses Her Dancing With the Stars Return

The upcoming season of Dancing with the Stars will usher in some big changes. Derek Hough will once again join Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli at the judges’ table for Season 32. And Mirrorball champ Alfonso Ribeiro will have a new co-host. That’s right. Tyra Banks waltzed out, and Julianne Hough fox-trotted in.

Julianne is thrilled to be back on DWTS. And Variety has the details.

It’s one big happy family

“The door has always been open for me to join or come back in any capacity because Dancing with the Stars is my family. It’s where I feel the most myself and the most at home,” Julianne explained. “When the idea of coming back to host came around, it was truly a full circle moment. I’ve now been a part of the show in every role — being a professional dancer to judge to now hosting,” she added.

She continued, “I just have this unique perspective to be able to relate and nurture and care for the celebrities and the couples competing because I’ve not only experienced what they’ve experienced, but I’ve also been a judge.”

Julianne talked about how the Covid-19 pandemic caused people to take stock of their lives. “At the end of the day, personally, I am my happiest self when I’m surrounded by my family. This show is family,” she stated.

Working together

In 2007, Julianne made her DWTS debut as a pro. She took home the mirrorball in back-to-back victories before leaving. But in 2014, Julianne returned as a judge. She exited the series again in 2017. But she did judge Season 19 when Alfonso won.

“The love that he has for this show is so pure. The friendships that are made here are lifelong. With this season specifically, we are all so close,” Julianne stated. “We’ve been friends for over 10 years. It’s like the Friends cast. We’re going to be friends for the rest of our lives.”

Alfonso said of his new co-host, “Julianne has the expertise as a professional that she can really dive into the technical aspects and the heart and the journey but from a different side. It’s gonna be very exciting to do that.”

No word on if there will be sibling rivalry between Julianne and Derek. For Julianne, this feels very “nostalgic.” She said, “It feels like we’re in the older seasons of Dancing with the Stars, with the wisdom and the knowledge of all the years of experience, but with the sense of nostalgia and home from the earlier seasons.” I can’t wait!

Dancing with the Stars will return in the fall, on Monday nights from 8 p.m. ET to 10 p.m. ET on ABC. It will also be streaming live on Disney+.