Shortly after the reveal, he told ET's Lauren Zima that Hannah Brown had given him words of wisdom about competing on the show. Brown, a former Bachelorette whose ex is Tyler Cameron, James' best friend, won DWTS in 2019.
"Hannah Brown, Breezy, my girl, she gave me the lowdown on what I need to do," James told ET. "[She's] making sure I have all of my ducks in line."
As for what Brown told him, James quipped, "I can't give away my secret sauce."
Brown isn't the only former Bachelorette to win the mirrorball, as Kailtyn Bristowe is the show's reigning champ. While Bristowe's currently busy serving as the co-host of Michelle Young's season of The Bachelorette, her fiancé, Jason Tartick, handed out some advice to James.
"Jason gave me a few pointers," James said, "but when Kaitlyn gets back, we'll have a few conversations."
It's the Bachelorettes' past success in the ballroom that made James want to compete.
"I feel like the women of Bachelor Nation have held it down -- Kaitlyn Bristowe, Hannah Brown -- but no Bachelors. No Bachelors have a mirrorball," James told ET. "I have to [win]. We have to set the standard. We have to set the expectation high. I'm calling back Bachelor Nation to help out with that... I can't not go all the way for it, especially with how Hannah Brown and Kaitlyn have held it down for Bachelor Nation."
Even though James is going from handing out roses to lacing up his dancing shoes, the reality star doesn't plan to leave the flower behind entirely.
"Ohh, maybe for some tango or something sensual," he said of including rose petals in a number. "I hope so. We gotta introduce some rose petals."
A Bachelor franchise alum may appear too, as James teased a potential cameo from Cameron.
"I can't make any promises now, but there could be a cameo in one of the dances. I'm just gonna leave it there," he said. "... That's one of the first things we talked about. It's kind of non-negotiable. If I'm doing something, then Tyler has somewhere he has to be. It's a package deal. So he is gonna be, one way or another, in one of these performances."
Until he takes the stage for the first time, James has been busy in rehearsals, which he admitted have been "hard."
"I feel like people who aren't dancers are like, 'Oh, you were a former athlete. You're athletic.' It doesn't transfer at all. My feet hurt. My back hurts. My shoulders hurt. Everything hurts, but it's been fun," he said. "I need a partner like I have who's extremely patient and so tapped in. She brings the energy every time we're in there and makes the most of our practice time."
His partner, who will be revealed during the show's premiere, has even given him homework, which his girlfriend, Rachael Kirkconnell, has been helping with.
"I'm at home going through the steps with Rachael... Her sister is a really good dancer. I've been consulting with her via FaceTime, making sure all my points are straight, my checks are done properly, so I think I'll be ready," James said. "They're running some drills with me."
"I feel like my dance partner isn't as critical on me as Rachael is. She's like, 'You need to make sure you're doing XYZ because the expectation is high,'" James added. "We want that trophy, so it'll be fun to share that with her."
Overall, James said he's "excited" about the DWTS experience as a whole.
"I think that the premise of it is to have fun. When you're surrounded by so many people that I've looked up to and admired for so many years, and you're dancing, you're learning about things that I've watched people do forever, incorporating my favorite music and styles into it, it's hard not to have fun," he said. "I'm hoping all that ties into this being the best experience... This is definitely a new chapter. Hopefully the end of the chapter has a mirrorball trophy."