Derek Hough Derek Hough

Hey everyone!

How's it going? I'm excited to be blogging again!

Hope you all had a great summer. I think I saw a lot of you guys on tour! Thank you to everyone who came out this summer. Julianne and I had a blast, and we hope you did too! It's been a crazy year for me so far when I think about it: working with Misty Copeland, working with Meryl and Charlie for the Olympics, going to Russia to rehearse with Amy, all of last season, finishing my book, planning the tour, doing the tour, releasing my book and working on an HGTV project with Mark where we're literally building a new house! Now I'm doing Nashville and Season 19!

I wasn't sure if I was going to come back, not because I didn't want to, but because I was exhausted. I think I've had a 24-hour vacation! I'm not complaining, but it's been full-out. But after going on tour, I met all these people who are all huge fans of the show. Almost every single question I got was, "Are you gonna come back this season?" I don't wanna let anyone down, I suppose. This season is a different experience for me than last season because there's a lot of change happening this year — we have a new executive producer — so I wanted to make sure that I was here to be part of it and to support the show. Dancing with the Stars is amazing. It's the biggest dance show in the world and it's an absolute privilege to be part of it.

As I'm sure you know, Bethany Mota is my partner. I'll be honest — I didn't know exactly who she was. After producers told me she was my partner, I looked her up, and she's amazing. I'm in awe at what she's accomplished at such a young age. She's actually the youngest partner I've ever had too. She's just an absolute sweetheart. I love what she stands for and what she's built — and that her fans call themselves the Motavators! It's pretty remarkable what she's done when you think about it.

Our first dance is the jive and Bethany's doing great. She doesn't have any dance experience except for the usual dance classes you take when you're a kid. She's a real natural and I think it's gonna be a great premiere. The cast is really eclectic this year. I don't think we've ever had so many people this diverse before. I know some people in the cast have been wanting to do the show for a long time, so I'm happy for them. This is a cast of people who are really excited to be on the show, and I think you will see that enthusiasm radiate onscreen. I've got my eye on Alfonso. He is hilarious. He is definitely a competitor and a performer. I think he's gonna be great and a lot of fun. I think Val and Janel will do well too. We'll see how it goes — there are always surprises!

I'm so excited that Julianne is a judge this season. You'd think I'd be sick of her by now, but I'm not! We became closer than ever over the tour and it was a great bonding experience for us, so I'm really happy I get to see her even more now. She's in the best place of her life that I've ever seen her. She's really happy and I'm incredibly proud of her. People keep asking, "You really think this is fair?" I'm like, "Listen, did you see when she guest-judged?" She's not afraid to be honest. She's very fair and I know she would never treat me any differently than any other contestant. She hasn't and she won't. I think she's comfortable in a judging role. I honestly don't think I would be. I'd probably be like, "That was amazing!" to everyone.

Right now, I'm in Nashville. I've shot a few scenes already for my guest arc. I play Noah West, an actor. He's doing a movie about Patsy Cline and Juliette is playing opposite him. It's been a lot of fun and a great learning experience for me. I'm doing four episodes for now. I don't know if I'll do more than that. I can't see more than four because of the particular role and where the story goes, but we'll see. It's also a scheduling thing, depending on how we do on Dancing this season.

Thanks for reading! See you all on Monday!