Derek Hough Shares His Thoughts on 'DWTS' Milestone Season and Len Goodman's Return (Exclusive)

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Derek Hough can't wait to be back in the ballroom as a judge for season 30 of Dancing With the Stars!

While recently speaking to ET, the 35-year-old dancer reacted to the exciting news and shared his hopes for the milestone season. Prior to his role as a judge on the show, Hough competed as a pro for 17 seasons and holds the record for most mirrorball wins with a total of six.

"I'm very excited. It's extraordinary. Unbelievable to think that it's season 30," Hough told ET while promoting season 2 of Disney+'s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, where he plays East High's rival drama teacher, Zack. "Wow, it sounds crazy to say that out loud. I remember joining season 5, and I can't remember who it was, but somebody said something like, 'Oh yeah, this show has two more seasons left in it.' And here we are, in season 30. It's pretty extraordinary. But it just shows what an amazing show it is."

"It's absolutely absurd, in the most fantastic way," he added. "But also, it's just such a great show with amazing dancing, amazing people and characters. Yeah, man, it's a pleasure to be a part of. And I can't wait for season 30."

Like many fans of the dance competition series have been wondering, Hough said that he, too, is curious about "what kind of things might happen" in the ballroom when season 30 kicks off this fall.

"I'm curious about what we're going to do for season 30, because it's such a huge milestone. I'm curious to know what's the plan," he teased. "Is it going to be just like, 'We're going to approach this like any other season?' Or is it going to be sort of a tribute? Who knows? I don't know."

One thing we do know for sure, however, is that Len Goodman will be returning as a full-time judge this season. He appeared virtually a few times last season to provide expert tips, but was in the U.K. and unable to travel due to COVID-19 restrictions. For season 30, Hough and Goodman will be joined at the judges table by Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli, meaning even more eyes will be on the celebrities and their pro partners.

"I think it'll be great. I'm really looking forward to it," Hough said, of what the dynamic will be like having four judges. "It's going to be great to see [Len] and work with him. I'm looking forward to Len being back because I think that he just adds so much. I think that just having that Brit. You just need that Brit, man. You need him in the room. He's the man!"

"It'll be interesting to see that dynamic. I feel like him and I are quite different," he continued. "We're very different, I should say. So it'll be interesting to see how we feel and if we disagree on a lot of things. And I'm sure we will."

Pro dancer Lindsay Arnold -- who took a season off last year to give birth to her baby girl, Sage -- told ET in her own interview that she thinks having both Hough and Goodman will make it a "a tough, tough" judging panel. "I feel like it will be like a little battle of who can be tougher, which is terrifying for the celebrities, and for me, if I'm a pro!" she explained.

Hough agreed that it "will be interesting" to see, but added that his main goal as a judge is to still be "as helpful as I possibly can" to the pairs competing for the mirrorball trophy.

"I want to be like, 'Hey, this would have been great, but work on this little element. And this way it will change your whole performance,' you know?" he said of his judging style. "Because that's the thing -- it's the little changes that make big shifts. I always try to get that out there, because I really want them to do well. I'm always rooting for them. I'm rooting for everybody. I want everybody to go out there and do great."

"But yeah, I'll even be curious. It will be interesting. Just like, 'All right, Len,'" he continued. "Because that's really new for me, to be on the side of the judges table with Len. I wonder what that energy is going to be like. And, actually more importantly, what side am I going to sit on? Am I going to be between Bruno and Len ... or am I going to be between Carrie Ann? Because that's going to ... I don't know. Who knows? It's the important things, the important things!"

A premiere date, celebrity contestants and pro dancers for season 30 have yet to be announced. As we patiently await more details, watch the video below for more with the cast of DWTS.


'Dancing With the Stars' Pros Share Their Hopes for Season 30

Lindsay Arnold on Whether She Wants to Return to 'DWTS'

'DWTS' Season 30: Tyra Banks, Len Goodman, Derek Hough and More Return

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