September 06, 2017 04:42 PM


PEOPLE is celebrating the Sept. 18 premiere of Dancing with the Stars‘ 25th season with 25 days of exclusive interviews, fun retrospectives, and new details about what fans can expect from the milestone season.

More than 10 years since Malcom in the Middle‘s end, Frankie Muniz is taking center stage again.

While the actor, 31, hasn’t completely shunned Hollywood in the last decade — appearing in Criminal Minds, The Mysteries of Laura, and Sharknado 3 — Muniz shifted his attention to other interests.

“Since Malcom ended, I raced cars professionally for a while, and I was really focused on that,” he told PEOPLE at the Dancing With the Stars season 25 cast party at New York City’s Planet Hollywood Wednesday. “Then I was in a band for a long time, and I was really focused on that.”

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Now, he’s joining DWTS pro Witney Carson to fight for the Mirrorball Trophy on the upcoming season of the reality competition.

“The timing was kind of right for me,” Muniz explained of his decision to join the show. “This was the first time I was like, I can really do what I want.”

RELATED VIDEO: DWTS Season 25: Emma Slater & Drew Scott Meet

The Agent Cody Banks star also sought advice from previous DWTS contestants.

“I’ve had a lot of friends who’ve done the show, and they’ve honestly said it was the best experience they’ve ever had,” he said. “A lot of people were really talking it up and how much fun it was, and I thought it looked like fun and here I am.”

PEOPLE’s special issue 25 Seasons of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ is out Sept. 15.

Carson, 23,  said Muniz’s experience as an athlete and a musician has already paid off in rehearsals.

“Him being able to keep on beat and hear the beat in the music is so helpful,” she said. “Sometimes with celebrities, I’ll have to sit with them and play the music and like clap to the beat, but that stuff we can skip.”

Now, Muniz just has to overcome his nerves, which he named as this season’s the biggest competition.

“I’m so nervous to dance in general,” he admitted. “My first biggest fear is dancing in public.”

Season 25 of Dancing with the Stars premieres Sept. 18 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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