Derek Hough may be back on Dancing With the Stars as a judge, but he'll also be returning to the dance floor incredibly soon. Hough will perform on the Oct. 19 episode of the show alongside his girlfriend, Hayley Erbert, who is also a former DWTS pro, as Entertainment Tonight noted. This moment will mark the first time that he'll be taking to the dance floor since 2017. Hough previously competed as a pro for 17 seasons, the most recent of which was in 2016. He has won the show six times with his various partners, the most of any DWTS pro.
During Day 2 of ABC's virtual fall press panels, Hough discussed his upcoming performance, noting that he and Erbert have already been hard at work preparing for the big day. "I'm very, very excited. I'm even more excited to be dancing with my lovely girlfriend, my love," he said. "We get to dance together in the ballroom. We're already planning it. We actually did a little session yesterday. We woke up this morning very sore, so we're like, 'Oh, okay, we have three weeks to make this happen.'"
Hough also spoke about being able to be a part of the DWTS family again, this time as a judge. Of course, since he's a dancer by trade, he's also looking forward to taking some time away from the panel to take to the dance floor. "Being a part of the show has been such a dream and I'm so thankful for it, and to have the honor and the pleasure to perform once again in this sacred space, it really is a pleasure," he said. "I certainly won't want to disappoint. I'm going to bring my all to the dance floor, as much as I possibly can." He added, "I'm excited. My M.O. is entertaining, bringing joy to people and that's it. That's as simple as that, and I'm so happy I can be able to do that on this show."
In early September, ABC revealed Hough would be joining the judging panel for Season 29 of DWTS. He is filling in for Len Goodman, a United Kingdom resident who, due to coronavirus restrictions, is unable to be a part of the production in person. Earlier this month, Hough explained to ET why this was the right time for him to return to the ABC competition. "It was something that was talked about, I think maybe last year, but timing, things happening, this is the right time," he said. "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. But that excites me. I like that uncertainty; I like that unknown."