The 35-year-old dancer, who is serving as a judge for season 29 of the dance competition show, performed with his girlfriend, Hayley Erbert, on Monday. The two showed the contestants how it's done, dancing a sexy Paso Doble to "Uccen" by Taalbi Brothers.
"I'm very, very excited. I'm even more excited to be dancing with my lovely girlfriend, my love," Hough said during the virtual fall press panel. "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, OK, we have three weeks to make this happen.'"
The six-time mirrorball champion also spoke about how being back on the show as a judge this season has already made him feel nostalgic.
"Being a part of the show has been such a dream and I'm so thankful for it, and to have the honor and the pleasure to perform once again in this sacred space, it really is a pleasure," Hough said. "I certainly won't want to disappoint. I'm going to bring my all to the dance floor, as much as I possibly can."
"I'm excited. My M.O. is entertaining, bringing joy to people and that's it," he added. "That's as simple as that, and I'm so happy I can be able to do that on this show."
Leading up to the performance, Hough also posted a new YouTube video in which he and Erbert reacted to his very first season on DWTS 13 years ago, when he was paired up with Jennie Garth. Hough previously competed as a pro on DWTS for 17 seasons, winning the mirrorball a total of six times, the most of any other pro. He took home first place with Brooke Burke (season 7), Nicole Scherzinger (season 10), Jennifer Grey (season 11), Kellie Pickler (season 16), Amber Riley (season 17) and Bindi Irwin (season 21).
"Being a judge on Dancing With the Stars now has made me reflect a little bit about the full-circleness of everything," he shared. "I joined season 5, and my first season, I was nervous, didn't really know what I was doing, young, and I weighed about a whole 90 pounds."
"After that first performance, a Cha Cha with Jennie Garth, my sisters called me and they were like, 'Derek, you're dancing too much,'" he recalled. "Like, I was dancing for myself. I was like, 'Look at me! Yes! Look at my hip action!' I really wasn't focused on her as much, I was about myself, because you want to prove yourself. They kinda called me out for that, and good lesson learned. It's not about you, and the quicker you realize that, the better."