Derek Hough Missed Out on "Britney Night" on 'DWTS' Season 30 Due to a COVID-19 Exposure

Why isn't Derek Hough on 'DWTS'? The pro-dancer-turned-judge did not appear in-person on the Oct. 4 episode, leading fans to wonder what happened.

Shannon Raphael - Author

Oct. 5 2021, Published 12:25 p.m. ET

Derek Hough
Source: ABC

Season 30 of Dancing with the Stars is truly unlike any other, as the judges and the contestants figure out how to safely film the entire competition amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Though the previous season did also film during the global health crisis back in 2020, several positive cases have thrown the Season 30 stars for a loop.

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While pro dancer Cheryl Burke and Peloton instructor Cody Rigsby are performing their routines virtually because they both tested positive, judge Derek Hough's absence from the Oct. 4 "Britney Night" episode made things a bit more complicated.

Keep reading to find out why the World of Dance alum was absent from the dance competition, and to learn whether or not he is expected to return.

Derek Hough
Source: Instagram
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Why isn't Derek Hough on 'DWTS'?

After host Tyra Banks shared an update on Cheryl and Cody following their respective positive test results, the model addressed why Derek would not be present in the ballroom for Britney Night.

"Also, due to a potential COVID exposure and although he is fully vaccinated and tested negative, Derek will sit out tonight's show out of an abundance of caution," Tyra explained during the opening of the episode.

Tyra did not elaborate on the nature of Derek's exposure, nor did she share any other details on the matter.

Though Cody and Cheryl were able to participate in the show by performing their dance remotely from their own homes, Derek did not phone in or appear at all on the episode. Without Derek at the judges' table, original DWTS experts Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, and Bruno Tonioli made the tough elimination decision on their own.

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Julianne Hough's brother has yet to publicly comment on his recent COVID-19 exposure. Prior to his DWTS absence, Derek canceled the Oct. 3 performance of his dance residency show, Derek Hough: No Limit, at the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas.

Derek Hough
Source: ABC
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Will Derek Hough return to 'DWTS' Season 30?

Derek, who joined the series in a full-time judging capacity in Season 29, missed the third week of the competition because of his exposure to the virus. However, he is expected to return to the show for the upcoming episodes.

Tyra did not confirm when exactly the judge would return to DWTS, though Derek and those involved behind the scenes are likely waiting on more test results.

Derek's absence from the ABC series marks the third time that someone from the Season 30 cast has had to miss out on the live, in-person shows due to COVID-19.

The dancers, the judges, and those who work on the show are likely hoping that Derek's exposure will be the last one for Season 30.

New episodes of this one-of-a-kind season of Dancing with the Stars air on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Viewers can also catch up on the show the next day on Hulu.

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