Although initially known as the winner (along with Apolo Anton Ohno and Helio Castroneves) of two consecutive seasons of Dancing with the Stars, Julianne Hough also enjoyed success as country singer. Born July 20, 1988, in Salt Lake City, UT, she spent the majority of her younger years studying dance at various schools and eventually wound up in London, where she won the prestigious Junior Blackpool World Latin Champion and International Latin Youth Champion awards. Upon her return to the States, Hough went to the performing arts high school Las Vegas Academy, and upon graduating she set her sights on stardom in California, where she soon got her first taste of the business as an assistant choreographer on a Gwen Stefani video. From there she made a number of television appearances, eventually landing on -- and winning -- Dancing with the Stars for the 2006 season. She defended her title in 2007, and then went on to make many promotional appearances.
Hough launched her country career in May of 2007, when the debut single "Will You Dance with Me" cracked the Top 100 on the Billboard country charts and helped secure a record contract from Universal Music Nashville. One year later, Hough released her second single, "That Song in My Head," and announced that she would be a part of a summer tour supporting Brad Paisley. Her self-titled debut album appeared later that year, reaching the top of the country charts and number three on the pop charts, and the subsequent release of a Christmas-themed EP, Sounds of the Season: The Julianne Hough Holiday Collection, helped make 2008 a lucrative year. ~ Chris True