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'Dancing with the Stars' picks Julianne over Maks, controversy boils over

Julianne Hough will serve as a permanent member of the judging panel during 'Dancing with the Stars' season 19.
Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images

When "Dancing with the Stars" season 19 premieres Sept. 15 on ABC, the long-time judging trio will expand to become a full-time quartet with the addition of former show pro Julianne Hough. The talented dancer confirmed the news during the Aug. 21 edition of "Good Morning America."

When asked by "GMA" host Robin Roberts about her reasons for wanting to take on a role as a panelist alongside mainstays Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba, and Bruno Tonioli, Hough explained that she felt it was "the right time" to re-join the show and re-connect with the fans who helped to get her career off the ground. She cited her recent sold-out tour with older brother Derek as impetus for the decision, sharing that being on the road had renewed her passion for dance.

Hough, 26, won two mirror ball trophies over her five-season career as a pro coach. The wins came in back-to-back efforts, as she topped seasons four and five with partners Apolo Ohno and Helio Castroneves. She has since appeared as a guest judge during both seasons 17 and 18, but has spent the bulk of her time working on an acting career that included turns in films including "Safe Haven" and "Footloose."

Although Hough had been rumored to take the job for at least a week, the announcement sparked a mix of delight and outrage among "DWTS" fans. Tweeter @TR4C33 spoke up in favor of Hough when she wrote "I like the idea of adding @juliannehough she has a fresh outlook, honest, just a diff way of saying what other judges say."

But others shared sentiments that were markedly less optimistic. Some questioned her ability to fairly judge her brother, who will dance for a record sixth mirror ball trophy, but the elder Hough attempted to dispel the notion by tweeting "My toughest critic and judge is actually gonna be a judge on DWTS. Uh oh!!! Congrats Jules !! Gonna be a fun and interesting season."

Still others expressed bitterness that Hough was given the job over reigning pro champ Maksim Chmerkovskiy, who was also reportedly interested in the gig. Tweeter @Medina180 shared the sentiments of that group by writing "Maks should have been the judge not her. Oh Well ratings will droop Big Time. Done with #DWTS"

To see how the season starts off, tune in to the "Dancing with the Stars" season 19 premiere Sept. 15 on ABC. Catch the full celebrity cast reveal Sept. 4 on "GMA."