Among several changes in “DWTS” season 29, former dance professional Derek Hough joined the show as a judge replacing Len Goodman. He seems to be having lots of fun doing his new job and has opened up about his judging tactics.

Derek Hough wearing a suit and tieDerek Hough
The dance reality show premiered on Sept 14, Derek Hough, who is a six-time winner of the most-coveted Mirrorball trophy, made his first appearance as the judge. And it appears he has been tough on the contestants with his critique.

Us Weekly reports that Hough addressed the concern during Frank’s RedHot Thick Sauce #DippingDanceChallenge. The 35-year-old choreographer may have not realised it at first. Nevertheless, he clarifies that his “tough” comments are “out of respect” for the celebrities participating in the show. At the same time, he wants to deliver genuine feedback enabling improvement.

“I was like, ‘Was I?’ It’s so funny,” Hough explained. “I had no intention to be tough or anything like that, but I guess what I realize, for me, is that I think I just have a lot of respect. I have a lot of respect for these celebrities and what they’re doing and I genuinely want to give them some feedback. ‘Cause I know for me when I was a pro, I wanted actual feedback. I want to learn how to be better. So that’s what I’ve always wanted to do.”

The dance professional reveals that his intentions are to be “honest” and not to be “mean.” “I will be honest on certain things because my intention is I really, genuinely want them to be better,” he added.

Ahead of “DWTS” season 29 premiere, it was announced that Hough will be joining the judges’ panel alongside Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli. Meanwhile, Goodman could not return to the judges’ duties because he was unable to travel due to COVID-19. Nevertheless, Goodman continues to be a part of the show by making virtual appearances.


“DWTS” season 29 is three weeks into competition with two couples already being eliminated. The show returns this Monday with Top 13 dances at 8:00 pm on ABC.