America’s Got Talent starts tonight and there are two new faces at the judges’ table for Season 14. They are Julianne Hough and Gabrielle Union. They’ll be replacing Mel B and Heidi Klum. Terry Crews, meanwhile, is taking over for host Tyra Banks.
We noticed something when America’s Got Talent recently shared a photo of the new panel together. Not only were several fans disappointed to see Mel and Heidi gone, but some of them said they don’t even know who Julianne and Gabrielle are.
Because of this, we thought it would be helpful to share some facts about each of these talented ladies. Maybe knowing more about them will help ease the transition into the next season. We already told you about Gabrielle Union, so now it’s time to talk about Julianne Hough.
1. Julianne started dancing as a kid.
Her first dance training was at the Center Stage Performing Arts Studio in her hometown of Orem, Utah. She and her brother Derek Hough eventually went to London to study with the Ballases. (Their son Mark Ballas is a fellow professional dancer and friend.) Julianne and Derek attended the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts.
2. She was an extra in “Harry Potter.”
Julianne, Derek, and Mark all appeared as background characters in the 2001 adaptation of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Julianne was in Gryffindor, Derek was in Ravenclaw, and Mark was in Hufflepuff. As Mark later explained, students from top performing arts schools in London were chosen to be extras.
3. She, Derek, and Mark Ballas formed a pop group.
The three kids were known as 2B1G, short for “2 Boys, 1 Girl.” They combined singing and dancing in an act that epitomizes the early 2000s, and even appeared on television. The trio also competed together in ballroom dance competitions.
4. She started as a “Dancing With the Stars” pro in 2007.
Julianne was just 18 years old when she joined for Season 4. She and her celebrity partner Apolo Ohno won the season. The next season, she won again with Hélio Castroneves. Julianne left the show after the eighth season, but later returned as a judge.
5. She launched a solo country music career.
She released a self-titled debut album in 2008. It included the single “That Song in My Head.” She later toured with Brad Paisley and won the Top New Artist award at the ACM Awards. Although she released a Christmas EP, her second full-length album was never released.
6. She starred in “Rock of Ages” in 2012.
Following supporting roles in Footloose and Burlesque, Julianne starred opposite Tom Cruise in this film adaptation of the Broadway jukebox musical. Unfortunately, the movie didn’t get the best reviews. Julianne would later go on to star in the romance film Safe Haven and as Sandy in a TV production of Grease.
7. She’s toured three times with her brother Derek.
The siblings took their dance moves on the road in 2014, 2015, and 2017. They were joined on stage by some pretty talented back-up dancers. The tours were called “Move Live” and “Move Beyond Live.”
8. She married NHL player Brooks Laich in 2017.
Julianne previously dated American Idol host Ryan Seacrest. She and Brooks tied the knot in Idaho after dating since 2013. “I’ve spent years working on myself, Brooks spent years working on himself, and we really met each other at the right time,” she told ET.
9. She has been outspoken about her endometriosis.
Julianne was diagnosed with the reproductive disorder in 2008 after experiencing pelvic pain after a DWTS performance. She ended up hiding the condition from her husband for a time. She’s now a partner with the website SpeakENDO.com.
“The more we talk about it, the more we’re empowered by it rather than it being in control of us,” Julianne told SELF magazine in December.
10. She’ll judge “America’s Got Talent” this summer.
Filming for Season 14 started on Sunday. Julianne will join fellow new judge Gabrielle Union, as well as returning judges Simon Cowell and Howie Mandel. The season will premiere sometime this summer.