Julianne Hough is the sole new face on the four-member Dancing With the Stars judging panel this season, not replacing anyone because the panel was typically three people.
Hough, 26, hails from Orem, Utah and has been involved with “DWTS” in several different ways, including being a guest judge last season.
Hough won season 4 of the competition, with partner Apolo Ohno.
Hough won season 5 of the competition as well, with partner Helio Castroneves.
She also has a brother, Derek Hough, who is a professional dancer on the show. He is paired with Bethany Mota this season.
Hough promised not to take it easy on her brother, telling Access Hollywood: “People are afraid about me judging my brother, but I’m going to be even harder on him.”
Hough danced with Derek during their Move Live tour, and said he has weaknesses.
“I always say he is [good at] the technical, intricate, really detailed stuff — but sometimes you need some show,” she said about his style of choreography. “Sometimes you need a little bit of pizzazz.”
She added that she’ll be honest with the contestants.
“Sometimes honesty is not necessarily what you want to hear,” she said, “but if somebody’s actually being honest, it means that they care.”
About returning to judge, Hough told TVGuide:
“In the past, it never really felt like the right time because I’ve been really focused on film and television. Which I still am this time around, but it was almost like I had enough time to separate myself and build my foundation first before coming back. After I went on tour this summer with my brother for Move Live on Tour, I was able to reconnect with the fans from the show.
“After hearing the reaction from these people face-to-face, like ‘Oh my gosh, we want you back on the show,’ or ‘When are you coming back?’ and all that kind of stuff, I could really see it and feel it. So I thought, OK, well, I’ve built my foundation, and it’s one day a week, so I can still focus on film and television and music and all the entrepreneur stuff I want to do. So I feel like now is the right time.”
And she also addressed one of the biggest controversies, about when she told Maksim Chmerkovskiy that he “phoned in” his routine when he was paired with a partner other than Meryl Davis in a special switch week.
“I know in the past with my guest judging, there’s been controversy or whatever. But it’s only because I really want to see them improve,” she said.
“Sometimes the truth sucks and you don’t want to hear that, but hopefully the person receiving the truth and the honesty knows that it’s coming from a place of love and a place of where I want to see people improve. Honesty’s a [expletive], but it really is the only way to be.”
Hough, whose net worth is estimated at $7 million, also recently spoke about her boyfriend Brooks Laich, a hockey player with the Washington Capitals. She told E! News that he’s a good dancer.