By Annie Barrett
Updated September 23, 2013 at 12:00 PM EDT

Julianne Hough, 25, will guest-judge at least one episode of Dancing With the Stars this season while head judge Len Goodman is away judging the British series Strictly Come Dancing, the former DWTS pro and Footloose actress confirmed during tonight’s ABC telecast.

After Week 2’s Latin Night, the season 17 cast spoke to EW about what to expect from Julianne. The bottom line? “She’s just as, if not more knowledgeable than what’s going on over there,” said Mark Ballas (Hough’s former world champion partner), gesturing over at the judges’ table. “She’ll be honest, whether you’re family, a friend, or whatever to her. She’s gonna keep it real.” Watch it below:

Meanwhile, Derek jokingly worried Julianne would mark him down for having pulled her hair at some point in the ’90s, a beleaguered Snooki felt like she’d be a “nice judge, which is refreshing,” and Karina pointed out that in the professional ballroom world, family members judging each other is a no-no. “But hey, it’s a TV show,” she said.

“I really just wanna feel those paddles,” said Julianne, who won Dancing With the Stars‘ seasons 4 and 5 with partners Apolo Ohno and Helio Castroneves. “Don’t be surprised if the 4s are kicked out and just gone,” she told host Tom Bergeron. The gauntlet has been thrown down!

Reporting by Michele Stueven.

Episode Recaps

Dancing With the Stars

  • TV Show
  • 28
  • ABC