Julianne Hough Talks Leaving 'DWTS', Reveals Who She's Rooting For This Season! (Exclusive)

The former 'Dancing With the Stars' judge told ET that she still watches the show as a fan and she's excited to finally get to play favorites.

Julianne Hough isn't serving as a judge on this season of Dancing With the Stars, but she says she still loves watching the competition.

"I do miss the show. But what's really fun is, I'm a fan, just like everybody who watches," Hough told ET's Lauren Zima during a sit-down interview on Tuesday. "I watch the show now that I'm home and, you know, I have favorites and everything. Which is great because I could never really have favorites. I had to really kind of separate that [as a judge]."

Hough served as one of the DWTS pro dancers from season four through season eight, where she won the Mirrorball trophy in her first two consecutive seasons. 

She later joined Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli on the judges panel in season 19. Hough had been the fourth judge for every season -- except for season 22 -- until now.

So, with all pretense of impartiality out of the way, Hough had no problem opening up about which DWTS couple she's rooting for this season.

"I love Derek [Fisher]. I think he is phenomenal.  I love Lindsey Stirling. She's just a bubble and bright light of fresh air… I think that Sasha [Pieterse] is great. She's got such a fun personality, and she can really move," she said.

One contestant Hough has a particular affinity for is Jordan Fisher, her co-star in Fox's production of Grease Live! last year.

"He's phenomenal! He's so great," Hough praised, adding, "It's a really strong cast. It's really fun to watch."

While Hough has stepped away from her role on the show, she says she feels like she'll always "be a part of it in some way, shape or from."

"Obviously, right now, I wanted to take some time and focus on my acting and kind of get back on that path," she explained. "I'm really excited, you know? This is a different chapter. I'm 29 and I feel like I'm sort of coming into my own."

Hough tied the knot with NHL star Brooks Laich in July and she's currently working on an upcoming film project, which she says has brought about a "maturity" and "peace" that have given her "a direction that I want to go towards."

"I know that if I keep doing [the same thing] I'm doing that I'm gonna wakeup in a couple years and be like, 'Oh man, I wish I would've done [something else] when I really wanted to do it,'" Hough shared. "It was really hard, but I wanted to make that choice."

Currently, Hough is working with Fitbit while training for her role as groundbreaking fitness pioneer Betty Weider in the upcoming movie Bigger. The film is expected to hit theaters next year.

Last week, Dancing With the Stars pro Sharna Burgess sat down with ET where she opened up about how much Hough's absence has made this season feel different.

"I miss Jules' energy up there, her knowledge on ballroom dance and the way she would critique, the information she would give," Sharna shared. "I think she was such a wonderful part of our panel, and she is seriously missed by all of us." Check out the video below to hear more.

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