Derek Hough has opened up about why Season 29 of Dancing with the Stars could have more “tension” than ever before. The new judge spoke out about the upcoming round of shows in a new interview, where he confessed that the coronavirus pandemic could create even more drama behind-the-scenes.
“They’re just gonna be with their partner for this amount of time, so it’s either gonna be a good thing or it’s gonna create some tension,” Derek explained to E! News, as this year’s contestants have had to self-isolate with their professional partners in a social bubble.
“I think that either way, it’ll be entertaining. But that can be difficult,” he added.
Pro dancers and real-life couple Sasha Farber and Emma Slater previously told ABC 7 that couples who both work on the show are also being forced to live apart to ensure one can still compete if the other is diagnosed.
Fellow married couples Val Chmerkovskiy and Jenna Johnson and Pasha Pashkov and Daniella Karagach have also had to change their living arrangements for the duration of the show.
Derek admitted it’s “probably a good thing” he’s not sitting close to Bruno Tonioli.
“We’re very physical in the way we talk and I feel like one of us would get hurt. Or Carrie Ann would be dodging arms left, right and center,” he joked.
But all the time away from social activities leave more space for dancing, with Derek sharing who he’s most excited to see take to the ballroom.
The new judge chose Tiger King star Carole Baskin. He admitted he’s “fascinated and curious” about her and is “secretly hoping she just comes out and crushes it.” She’s competing against the likes of Nelly, Chrishell Stause, and Jeannie Mai.
“It all changes on the first night. All the things you thought go out the window,” he added.
It was confirmed on Tuesday, September 8, that Derek will be returning to DWTS, four years after he last competed as a professional dancer.
The star will be taking over Len Goodman’s chair, as he’s unable to appear in the ballroom due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Len will still be a part of the show and it’s thought he’ll be dialing in from the U.K.
Dancing with the Stars Season 29 premieres on ABC September 14.