Julianne Hough is not returning to Dancing with the Stars next season, she told E!'s Ryan Seacrest on his KIIS FM radio show Thursday. "I'm not going to be back next season," she said. "That's final."
But it's her burgeoning music career - and not her health, she emphasizes - that led her to drop out. "It's because I really, really want to focus on the music and... be taken seriously a little bit, and I think it's hard to be on Dancing with the Stars and be singing and kind of get that confusion, and so I'm really going to focus on the music."
Though Hough won't be among the pros for Season 8, which is expected to air beginning in March 2009, at this point it's a pretty good bet that she'll be back, perhaps as early as September 2009, for another turn on the parquet. "Producers of the show are happy to let her take a season off if she'd like to," said an ABC spokesperson.