It's now been more than two years since the dancer-turned-actress last competed on Dancing with the Stars. The pro, 23, who won the hearts of Dancing fans – not to mention two mirror ball trophies – left the show in 2009 to pursue her dream of a film career.
Julianne returns to the ballroom Tuesday night a bonafide movie star, thanks to her leading role in the soon-to-be-released remake of Footloose. And she will dance "on the very stage that basically started everything," she says.
"I definitely got a little emotional," she says about returning to the DWTS studio.
Julianne will perform two numbers on the show – one with her older brother and fellow ballroom pro Derek Hough and one with her Footloose costar Kenny Wormald.
"I don't think I've ever been this nervous to do the show," Julianne said. "I'm a little rusty."
After the season 11 stars competed Monday night – when Derek and his partner, actress and TV personality Ricki Lake, earned a top score of 29 points – the Hough siblings put in a few late hours to choreograph a high-spirited jive that they hope won't disappoint viewers.
"I love dancing with Julianne because we're very similar in our minds, what we want to do and what we think looks good," Derek says. "The producers said, 'Don't kill yourselves. Just go out and do a nice little dance,' and we're like, 'No, no, we're not going to phone it in.' "
Sibling rivalry? Not a chance, says Derek.
"Julianne is an absolute superstar," he says with a smile. "This girl is incredible. I'm so proud of her."