When "Dancing with the Stars" season 19 premieres Sept. 15 on ABC, a familiar face will likely appear at the judges' table alongside mainstays Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, and Bruno Tonioli, according to an Aug. 19 TV Guide report. But it may not belong to the former pro champion that many fans expected to assume the role.
Per the report, mirror ball trophy winner Julianne Hough is negotiating a deal to join the judging panel. The talented dancer, who won the fourth and fifth seasons of "DWTS" with Olympian Apolo Ohno and Indy car champion Helio Castroneves, hasn't appeared as a pro coach since season eight. She did, however, make a memorable appearance as a guest judge during the fourth week of season 17 and again during season 18.
The news came as a surprise to some fans, who assumed that reigning pro champion Maksim Chmerkovskiy would be the front runner to take a seat at the table. Tweeter @higgs1313 expressed concerns over Hough's temperament and qualifications, writing "@DancingABC Not a fan of Julianne as judge-neither constructive nor nice. Rather see @MaksimC - more qualified technically in ballroom."
Others, however, were pleased with the potential casting addition. User @zainislam723 expressed support for Hough when she tweeted "That's some good news!! @juliannehough rocks as a judge!!"
Fans on both sides of the Hough/Chmerkovskiy aisle expressed concerns over both dancers' abilities to serve as impartial judges, since both have siblings who will appear as pro coaches during season 19. Julianne's older brother Derek owns a series-best five mirror ball trophies, while Maks' younger brother Val will return for his seventh consecutive season in September. His highest finish came on the arm of Disney star and singer Zendaya, who placed second behind Derek Hough and "Glee" star Amber Riley at the close of season 16. As of press time, neither camp had commented on the report.
The lineup of professional dancers who will serve as celebrity coaches during season 19 includes newcomers Artem Chigvintsev, Keo Motsepe, and Allison Holker, and returning pros Cheryl Burke, Tony Dovolani, Karina Smirnoff, Mark Ballas, Peta Murgatroyd, Emma Slater, Witney Carson, Hough, and Chmerkovskiy. The identities of the dancers comprising the "DWTS" troupe have yet to be revealed.
The "Dancing with the Stars" season 19 celebrity lineup will be revealed Sept. 4 during "Good Morning America." To keep up with the latest show news and developments, check out the comprehensive fan site PureDWTS.