There's a new twist to ABC's 'Dancing with the Stars' this season. One of the couples really is a couple -- Julianne Hough and Chuck Wicks. In fact, fans of Hough should send Wicks a thank-you note, because it was after he came onboard as a contestant that she decided to do this season of the popular television show.

"I had already announced that I wasn't going to do this season, and then they asked Chuck to do the show," the two-time 'Dancing' winner explains. "A couple weeks later they called and asked me if I would be willing to dance with him."

Hough admits that at first she was hesitant to partner with her real-life partner, because she wasn't sure how it would work out. But then she realized all of the advantages to working with someone she knows so well.

"I can still write. I can still tour. I can still work on my next record if I dance with him, and I haven't been able to do that with my other partners," says the 20-year-old singer/dancer. "So I thought, 'Why don't we do this and I can take off next fall when my album comes out.' That way, I can promote it which is something I did not have a chance to do with my last record."

To the people who say she and Wicks may have an unfair advantage, Hough has three words: "Are you kidding?" She explains, "We don't have time to get in any extra practice -- we struggle to get in the normal amount of practice."

While she knows that some people will love the idea of boyfriend-girlfriend dance partners and others will hate it, Hough adds, "Chuck and I are gonna have a blast, and that is what the show is all about. Plus it gives us time to spend together. The season is going to fun and crazy and interesting and what everyone sees is what Chuck and I are finding out too."

Wicks and Hough are not the only couple dancing this season. Singer Jewel and husband and rodeo star Ty Murray will also compete; they just won't dance with each other. Jewel will dance with Dmitry Chaplin and Murray will partner with Chelsie Hightower. 'Dancing With the Stars' debuts its eighth season on March 9.

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