Julianne Hough Gears Up for Grease: Live Sandy Role: It’s “Nerve-Racking!”

Julianne Hough

Hopelessly devoted to nailing the part! Julianne Hough is counting down the days until rehearsals begin for Fox’s Grease: Live in the fall. The Dancing With the Stars judge opened up to Us Weekly about her upcoming TV role as goody two-shoes teen Sandy in the live televised production, and who has given her advice so far.

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“I’m not nervous in a terrified way. I’m nervous in an excited way,” Hough, 27, told Us. “I can’t wait to get started. It’s like the first day of school for sure when you have a new path and you kind of don’t know what you’re getting into yet even though you know the story.”

Fox announced in January that Hough would be playing T-Bird Danny Zuko’s love interest in its first live theater production, originally played by Olivia Newton-John in the 1978 classic film.

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Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in Grease
Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in Grease Paramount Pictures/Fotos International/Getty Images

“Those are some big shoes to fill so it’s exciting, but it’s also a little nerve-racking,” Hough explained. “It’s such an iconic role. It’s an iconic musical. I want to do it justice. But I’m very, very excited. I would say I’m more excited than nervous.”

And with good reason. The Utah native has years of dance experience that will come in handy for Grease scenes such as “We Go Together” and prom night’s “Born to Hand Jive” dance battle. She’s also got singing chops, as seen in 2012’s Rock of Ages. Hough, who has watched Carrie Underwood’s Sound of Music Live! and Allison WilliamsPeter Pan Live! NBC productions, has also already gotten advice from her famous brother, Derek Hough.

“We’re both each other’s mentors in a way. I wouldn’t say that one is more of a mentor than the other but we’re there to feed off of each other,” Hough told Us. “We’re there with an objective, an opinion, it’s not a competitive thing. It’s more like we both want to see each other do well.”

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Julianne Hough
Cleopatra Tacan-Regan and Julianne Hough at Babybel’s Big Dreamers Event in Chicago on July 23.

She added, laughing: “I love getting advice from him and I think vice versa too. I definitely give him a lot of advice, whether he wants it or not.”

The actress will be busy once rehearsals begin. She’s currently on the road for her Move Live on Tour, will be heading back to the judges table on DWTS, and tries to find time to give back. She recently partnered with Babybel cheese to mentor aspiring dancer Cleopatra Tacan-Regan in Chicago.

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Hough won’t be the only star heading to Rydell High School. Fresh off her starring role in Broadway’s Gigi, Vanessa Hudgens is set to play Pink Ladies leader Rizzo. Graceland and Les Miserables hunk Aaron Tveit will take on John Travolta’s Zuko, and Keke Palmer will play Marty Maraschino.

Grease: Live will air on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016 from 7-10 p.m. ET on Fox.

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