‘Dancing With The Stars’ Twist: Judges Get In On The Act

Dancing With the Stars has four judges this year, with the addition of ex-pro Julianne Hough to the panel. With four judges and four couples in the semi-finals, it makes mathematical sense for each judge to team up with a dancing pair as the competition gets closer to awarding the mirror ball trophy.

As E! News reported on Thursday, a little bit of meddling by the judges is exactly what’s in store. Each judge is assigned one team. The judge will provide coaching and have the last word on song and dance style. Before that sounds like a little too much one-on-one contact to ensure a fair competition, worry not: the three remaining judges will score the performance. So no one is guaranteed a “10” from his or her own coaching judge.

E! discovered the teams have already been assigned. Julianne Hough is not paired with her brother Derek, but will coach their cousin Riker Lynch and partner Allison Holker. Derek Hough and Nastia Liukin will get guidance from Len Goodman, saving them his notoriously tough scoring. Bruno Tonioli will coach Rumer Willis and Valentin Chmerkovskiy. That leaves Noah Galloway and Sharna Burgess to be coached by Carrie Ann Inaba, who just wrote in her Parade column about their impressive “Eras Night” performance.

The Dancing With the Stars official Instagram page also promoted the new twist, and hinted that the judges may also show off some footwork. That possibility was picked up by a few fans on Twitter, who put out a few aspirations of their own.

Inaba was making her love for her team known on Twitter. She did not let slip what advice she will give Noah and Sharna, but on her Parade blog said Noah has musicality, athleticism, and trust with partner Sharna. According to Inaba, he needs to work on “[a]lways finding new ways to expand his range of movement.”

Derek and Nastia enter the DWTS semi-finals after strong performances, including a trio that included the still-recovering Hough and his replacement Sasha Farber, who has been the main man in Nastia’s routine since Hough broke a toe and rolled an ankle.

But Rumer and Val are in the strongest position at the moment, having nabbed perfect scores on both dances they performed Monday night.

Dancing With the Stars airs Monday and Tuesday at 8 p.m. on ABC.

[Image: ABC/Adam Taylor]