Talent Recap

Julianne Hough to Judge in Place of Brother Derek Hough After His Covid-19 Diagnosis

Derek Hough Julianne HoughGetty Images

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Last week, after the Dancing with the Stars semifinals, judge Derek Hough announced to fans that he tested positive for Covid-19 despite being vaccinated. Although he stated he felt well, he will continue to quarantine per doctors’ recommendations. Now, it is announced that his sister and professional dancer Julianne Hough will return to the ballroom to judge in his place for tonight’s finale.

Julianne performed as a professional dancer on the show for four seasons and judged the show for three seasons. She will now return to her seat on the panel for the long-awaited season 30 finale.

“Julianne is the reason I started doing ballroom!” finalist Jenna Johnson shared. “So to have her judge this finale just means the world.”

Derek Hough is reportedly still in quarantine after testing positive for Covid-19 just last Tuesday. It is expected that Derek will appear via video to still participate for the final judging.

In his video announcement, Hough assures fans that he is “currently taking advice from medical professionals and doing everything I can to get better as fast as I can. I’m currently in quarantine.”

Judge Carrie Ann Inaba also announced that she would quarantine “out of an abundance of caution,” but it is unclear for how long she will self-isolated. She is expected to judge in-person for tonight’s finale.

Julianne is no stranger to judging panels. In addition to her full time judging on Dancing with the Stars, she has guest-judged on the show numerous times and served as a judge for one season of America’s Got Talent.

Dancing with the Stars Season 30 Finale Will Make History

This season’s finale is set to make history even without Derek Hough on the judging panel. For the first time in the show’s 30 seasons, a same-sex partnership has competed this season. Jenna Johnson and JoJo Siwa have stunned both judges and audiences week after week with their professional level routines.

Iman Shumpert will also dance tonight, the first time a former basketball player has ever made it to the finale. He is also the only finalist this season who did not dance professionally before his time on the show. Despite hard criticism from the judges in the first few weeks, Iman has proven to be and underdog willing to put in the work an impress each week.

Even if these two stars don’t take the mirrorball trophy home, their appearance in the finale has already made history. JoJo and Iman are competing against Peloton instructor Cody Rigsby as well as The Talk co-host Amanda Kloots.

Tune in tonight at 8 p.m. ET on ABC and be sure to vote for who you want to win this season of DWTS.

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