Dancing With the Stars had a new (familiar) face at the judging table for season 29 when former professional partner and six-time Mirrorball Trophy winner Derek Hough took Len Goodman’s place due to Goodman being in the U.K. and the global travel restrictions in place in 2020.
But will Hough stick around? Here’s what we know.
Tyra Banks Thinks There’s Room For Both Hough and Goodman
In an interview with TV Insider, new host and executive producer Tyra Banks revealed that she loved Hough as a judge and wants to figure out a way to keep him — she even thinks they could make room for both him and Goodman if Goodman were able to return.
“Derek is so fantastic. He has such compassion. He gives the most amazing critiques. He’s firm, yet warm. I think he did a really fantastic job,” said Banks. “I do miss Len, [but] I feel like there’s a way to have them both be here. I have a little notepad in my phone on how I can make that work, but I’ve got to get that approved by the team.”
And Banks isn’t the only one who has realized Hough’s value as a judge. Sources told The Sun that Hough “is hugely popular with his screen stars, contestants and crew” and that Goodman “may not return” after Hough “knocked it out of the park” this season.
And fellow judge Carrie Ann Inaba echoed those sentiments during the season 29 finale, saying, “[T]here is a guy sitting in the middle that I think should be a part of this from here on out. I love Mr. Derek.”
The Pros Want Him to Stay On As Well
In a recent interview, professional dancer Jenna Johnson said that she thinks Hough joining the judging panel “is one of the greatest things to have happened” to the show.
“I absolutely love that there is someone from our end now sitting on the judges’ seat because they can relate, they know what the process is like, they know what we’re feeling, what we’re going through, how difficult it is to, week in and week out, come up with these routines, teach a celebrity partner and then show up on Monday night and perform it,” said Johnson.
Professional dancer Cheryl Burke also said something similar, telling TV Insider that Hough “is one of the most talented men” she has ever met and that he “has lots to contribute and share as far as having experience.”
“People will truly respect his opinion. He knows what it takes to win. He knows how hard and stressful the show can be. He knows how rewarding it can be,” said Burke.
Burke, who is the longest-tenured professional partner on the show, also added that she would not be against joining the judging panel as either a regular or a guest.
“I think the network knows [I would love to be a judge]. I feel like I’ve proven myself,” said Burke. “I’m 35 and I want to have a family and have a roof over my head. I hope that the show would think that I’m capable.”
Fans Want It Too
head judge Derek Hough has a nice ring to it 🥺
— Emma ミ☆ (@_wildestxdreams) September 2, 2020
On Twitter, fans have expressed their love for Hough as a judge. One wrote, I’m really vibing with Derek Hough as a judge. I stan, I stan.” Another said, “Head judge Derek Hough has a nice ring to it.”
I’m really vibing with Derek Hough as a judge. I stan, I stan #DWTS
— kelsey (@kelsey_ros) November 17, 2020
“Derek Hough already best judge show has had, breaks it down and well liked,” wrote a third.
Derek Hough already best judge show has had, breaks it down and well liked. #DWTS
— Mike from the OC (@MikefromOC) September 15, 2020
“I’m really happy that Derek Hough is a judge because he’s good at giving critiques without being harsh. And he has a positive presence about him,” wrote another viewer.
I’m really happy that Derek Hough is a judge because he’s good at giving critiques without being harsh. And he has a positive presence about him imo. #DWTS
— Beth (@BethHoller) September 15, 2020
Dancing With the Stars will hopefully return with season 30 in 2021. ABC has not yet officially announced a renewal and premiere date.