When Dancing with the Stars debuts its 25th season in less than a week, it will be a lot less chipper.
Julianne Hough will not return to the judges' table when the dancing show returns on Sept. 18, TV Guide has confirmed. Hough has served as a judge on the series for five of the last six seasons and formed a potent foursome with fellow critics Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli.
Hough, a former pro dancer on the show with two wins under her belt, brought her experience on the other side to the judges' table, but it was her positive personality and energy that made her one of the show's most prominent faces. She was the anti-Len, balancing out his curmudgeonly lashings about "content" and staunchly traditional perspectives with bubbly reinforcement and a thirst for things that pushed the envelope.
There's no explanation why Hough decided to leave the show, but she's undergone a lot of personal changes recently. She is still beaming from her recent July marriage to Brooks Laich, and last season missed some time for a dancing tour with her brother Derek (who left the show last season), in which the two siblings delivered their own interpretations of their troubled family life growing up.
A rep for Dancing with the Stars released the following statement: "We are thrilled to have Len, Bruno and Carrie Ann back in the ballroom and look forward to welcoming guest judges wherever possible."
We'll dearly miss Hough, but if we're looking for guest judges, can we recommend Aaron Carter? He filled in for Hough last season and was fantastic.
Dancing with the Stars returns Monday, Sept. 18 at 8/7c on ABC.