“DWTS” Names Derek Hough’s Replacement For Finale Amid COVID Diagnosis

Dancing With The Stars / Instagram

On Monday night (Nov. 15), Derek Hough was one of the four judges giving scores and critiques to the remaining six couple in the Semi Final episode of Dancing With The Stars.

Not only did he judge, but on this episode, each judge worked with a dance couple on a “redemption dance.” Each couple were given a style of dance they have previously done and are given a chance to improve, with the help of one of the judges. Hough worked with now-finalist Iman Shumpert and his partner Daniella.

But…less than 24 hours after he judged the semi-finals of Dancing With The Stars, Derek Hough has revealed he has tested positive for COVID-19. The Emmy Award-winning choreographer took to Instagram to announce the news.

Hey everyone, I have some news to share and I wanted you to hear it straight from me,” he said in the video. “Even though I am fully vaccinated, I have just been diagnosed with a breakthrough case of COVID. I just found out.”

He continued saying that he feels pretty good and strong, and that he is working closely with medical professionals to get back to 100% health as quickly as possible. Hough is currently in quarantine and said he will keep everyone updated, but for now, his Las Vegas residency dates for the week were also rescheduled.

Hough has been traveling between LA for Dancing With The Stars tapings and Las Vegas for his residency at The Venetian Resort. He had shows Wednesday, November 10-Sunday November 14 before flying to LA on Monday (Nov. 15).

DWTS‘ Instagram sent Hough well wishes on Tuesday, November 16.


All week, no updates about what would be done for the finale, which airs live on Monday (Nov. 22). Fans have been wondering if he would be judging virtually, or appearing in any capacity! Finally, we have our answers. In an Instagram post Monday morning (Nov. 22), DWTS revealed that a guest judge will be replacing Derek Hough…and it will be none other than his younger sister, and former DWTS judge and pro, Julianne Hough!

“[Julianne Hough] will act as a guest judge during the #Finale tonight!,” they wrote. The show also revealed that Derek will be part of the finale and will be appearing virtually.

Pros and celebrities from this season, as well as countless fans, commented their excitement.

Finalist pro Jenna Johnson wrote, “YESSSSS ????,” while celebrity finalist Amanda Kloots said, “YAY!!! Julianne in the ballroom!”

See the official announcement below.