Hough, who won two mirror ball trophies as a professional dancer on the show, will take up a permanent spot at the judges’ table next to longtime panelists Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, and the show’s head judge, Len Goodman, she revealed Thursday in a live appearance on “Good Morning America.”
"I’m excited,” Hough said today on "GMA." "'Dancing With the Stars' has always been a part of my family. That’s where it all began for me, so .... It just felt like the right time and the right opportunity."
Hough, 26, won two “Dancing” championships with partners Apolo Anton Ohno and Helio Castroneves. She left the show and transitioned to a career in film and country music.
As a guest judge last season, Hough stirred controversy with her frank criticism on the panel; fans can expect that same no-holds-barred style.
“I’m known to be a little bit honest and a little bit direct, but I think that’s my role as a judge in this," she said. "I want to see people improved. It’s never with a malicious intent. It’s because I’ve been on the other side and I do want to be able to give criticism that they can take and learn and grow from.”
Hough insists that judging her brother, Derek Hough, a five-time mirror ball champion who returns to the pro dancing cast for his 14th season, won’t pose an issue.
“It’s not necessarily about Derek and the pro dancer; it’s about a collaboration. It’s the team effort, it’s what they’re doing as a partnership, and really the celebrity and what they can do to improve each week,” she explained.
Hough headlined a dance tour across America with her brother this summer, which she said brought her back to her dancing roots.
The celebrity cast of season 19 will be announced on "Good Morning America" on Sept. 4 at 7 a.m. ET.
Watch Hough make her debut on the show's season 19 premiere on Monday, Sept. 15 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
Head judge Len Goodman welcomed Hough to the team in a special video message.
“I just heard that Julianne will be joining the panel of judges and I am so excited I can't tell you,” he said in the Instagram video. “Oh, Julianne next to me. I want you to be a buffer between me and Bruno.”