Derek Hough will be bringing the heat during the Dancing With the Stars finale! The judge will take to the stage during the final episode of Season 29 Monday as part of two special performances in addition to dances by the remaining four couples — Nelly and Daniella Karagach, Kaitlyn Bristowe and Artem Chigvintsev, Nev Schulman and Jenna Johnson, and Justina Machado and Sasha Farber.
This appearance will be the second time the former DWTS pro has taken to the ballroom floor for a special dance since joining the judging panel this season, which will be a treat for fans along with a performance by Nelly of his greatest hits. Hough told Entertainment Tonight Tuesday that he will be dancing alone during the finale, a departure from his standard patterns.
"It's a solo performance," Hough revealed. "I am dancing by myself and I am not sure why I decided to, but I am doing it. I have not danced a solo since I was, like, 12 years old, that is the truth. So here we go!" His decision to dance solo comes from a COVID-19 safety measure put in place by the show. "Usually I would be like, 'I want to do a group number,' something like that, but it just logistically made sense to do a solo," he explained. "It has challenged me, for sure, but I am looking forward to it. It's gonna be fun and I will say this: it's an homage to some of my heroes."
Fellow judges Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba also spoke to ET about what the final teams will need to do to take home the Mirrorball Trophy. Tonioli said it was down to the "extra wow factor" of their freestyle performance, pointing out that the win could go to any of the teams at this point. "Purely on ability, it really can come down to that one," he added. "We really don't know what is going to happen, so it is more exciting than ever."
Inaba agreed that "everyone loves the four finalists" at this point, adding that because of the intimate COVID-safe season, the finals feel even more special. "It's almost like, as judges, that we were a part of every performance ... that we all did this together," she said. "It feels really special. So, I actually don't mind not having an audience. I like the intimacy that it has created between us and the competitors. I think that has been special. I think there is a stronger bond now." Dancing With the Stars airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.