'DWTS' Winner Rashad Jennings Returns as Guest Judge

Dancing With the Stars winner Rashad Jennings will be back in the ballroom for the all-athletes season, but this time he'll be on the other side of the judges' table.

The former NFL running back, who won Season 24 of the show with his dance pro partner Emma Slater, will appear as a guest judge on the May 7 episode, PEOPLE reported on Monday.

"[I'm] super excited about the DWTS: Athletes Season!" Jennings told PEOPLE. "I get to be back in the ballroom and see things from a safer perspective! Glad I don't have to worry about pointing my toes or heel-leads!"

Competing this season are former Olympic figure skaters Tonya Harding, Adam Rippon and Mirai Nagasu; NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; Olympic snowboarder Jamie Anderson and luger Chris Mazdzer; Notre Dame's national championship player Arike Ogunbowale; former pro softball player Jennie Finch Daigle; retired professional baseball outfielder Johnny Damon; and Washington Redskins' cornerback Josh Norman.

Hosts Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews will also return to their roles, while Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli are all returning to the judges table.

Noticeably missing from the pro dancers lineup were Maksim Chmerkovskiy, wife Peta Murgatroyd and bother Val Chmerkovskiy. The three are currently out on the CONFIDENTIAL dance tour, which ends May 16, as previously reported in a PopCulture.com exclusive. Maks' absence from the special four-week event further fuels rumors among fans that season 25, when he was partnered with Vanessa Lachey, could have been his last.

Fan-favorite Mark Ballas is also missing from this year's pro lineup, although he has taken seasons off in the past to focus on other creative projects, such as when he starred as Frankie Valli in Broadway's "Jersey Boys."

This season of the show is abbreviated at just four weeks long, and will feature double eliminations.

Voting will also be a little different. The polls will open at the beginning of the episode and closing a few minutes after the last couple steps off the stage. While all of America can obviously vote, Puerto Rico also can will be able to vote this season.

If you cast your vote but then change your mind, but you can change your vote on the official Dancing With the Stars website at any point during the episode.

Toward the end of the episode, voting will close and votes will be tallied. Two couples will then be eliminated.


Season 26 of Dancing With the Stars premieres Monday, April 30, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Photo credit: ABC / Lou Rocco