On the live October 19 episode of the ABC celebrity competition, the 35-year-old choreographer will return to the ballroom for the first time since 2017.
“I’m very, very excited,” Derek said of his upcoming routine, per ET Online,
“I’m even more excited to be dancing with my lovely girlfriend, my love. We get to dance together in the ballroom. We’re already planning it. We actually did a little session yesterday. We woke up this morning very sore, so we’re like, ‘Oh, okay, we have three weeks to make this happen.'”
Derek, who left the ABC show for a stint on NBC’s World of Dance, said he is happy to return to his roots and is honored to “perform once again in this sacred space.” He noted that nothing makes him happier than entertaining people.
“I certainly won’t want to disappoint. I’m going to bring my all to the dance floor, as much as I possibly can,” he added.
Derek, who is now a DWTS judge alongside Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli, is the most-decorated pro ever to compete on Dancing with the Stars. He won a record six mirrorball trophies over 17 seasons, with partners that included Nicole Scherzinger, Amber Riley, and Bindi Irwin.
But when he left the show for a gig on rival network NBC, some fans feared his DWTS days were done. Partnered with big names Jennifer Lopez and Ne-Yo, Derek logged four seasons on World of Dance before being wooed back to ABC.
In addition to his role as a judge, Derek inked a sweet deal to host and develop television specials for the network, as previously shared by The Inquisitr.
As for his upcoming DWTS partner, fans know that in addition to being Derek’s longtime love, Hayley is a troupe member on the show. She also makes frequent appearances on her man’s Instagram page, where the two have been seen cooking together and even bursting into a samba routine in the kitchen. They’ve also dodged the incessant “when are you getting married?” question, in an Instagram post seen here.
The pro dancers have been in a serious relationship for about five years. Derek told Us Weekly. that it has been “great” being cooped up with his girlfriend during the COVID-19 quarantine.
This won’t be their first routine together on TV this year. In April, the lovebirds performed from their home for The Disney Family Singalong.