Dancing With The Stars’ Val Chmerkovskiy Shares Thoughts On Len Goodman Leaving, And If He’d Ever Be A Judge

Len Goodman on Dancing With The Stars on Disney+
(Image credit: Disney+)

Longtime Dancing With The Stars judge Len Goodman threw fans a curveball in Season 31’s penultimate episode when he announced that the upcoming finale would be his last with the series. Goodman is stepping down as a judge to return to Britain and spend more time with his family, and while that’s a noble thing to do, he’ll leave some broken hearts behind. There are plenty of fans sad to see him go, and one of them is Val Chmerkovskiy, professional dancer and upcoming finalist in Season 31. 

I had a chance to speak to Val Chmerkovskiy for CinemaBlend ahead of the first Dancing With The Stars finale to premiere on Disney+, and asked for his thoughts on Len Goodman’s leaving. Chmerkovskiy, who has spent years on the show as a professional dancer and even found his wife Jenna Johnson there, shared his reaction to Len Goodman’s announcement: 

I was sad. Obviously, I understood. All great things come to some sort of end at some point. I was sad but I understood the decision. It’s kind of like a closing of a chapter for the show. He’s been a huge pillar of the show. His feedback, his authority on dance, his British accent [laughs]. I think those are the things that make Dancing With The Stars feel the way it feels for our audience all these years. He’s going to be missed, but I hope he enjoys his time off, and like you said, he’s going to enjoy his family and his grandkids and I think that’s the right thing to do.

Val Chmerkovskiy backed Len Goodman’s reasons for leaving, but as he noted, Dancing With The Stars is going to feel like a different show without him around. His passion, tough judging, and yes, even the British accent, add character to Dancing With The Stars, so it’s hard to imagine the show without him on a permanent basis. 

And yet, Dancing With The Stars has gone on without Len Goodman a few times in the past, and as a result, Derek Hough is now a fixture on the judges' panel. There’s been no word thus far about who will join the judges' panel when fans use their Disney+ subscriptions to tune into Season 32, so I asked Val Chmerkovskiy how he’d feel about being asked: 

Listen, I would be very grateful and humble and excited. I love dance, I’ve dedicated my life to dance before Dancing With The Stars, during Dancing With The Stars, and most likely after Dancing With The Stars. I love this show, and I love dance, and I love seeing people get better. It’s one of those things I would love to do if the opportunity comes up. But it’s definitely not something that I’m focused on right now. I still have a lot of dance in me, and it’s something that I still enjoy very much.

Val Chmerkovskiy would be excited to be asked to be a judge on Dancing With The Stars, but considering he’s in contention to win yet another season, it doesn’t sound like he’s ready to walk away from competing with celebrities anytime soon. It’s a far cry from where he was only a year prior when Chmerkovskiy publicly teased he might leave the show following Season 30. Ironically enough, he’s back and his wife Jenna Johnson, who previously told CinemaBlend she planned to return, is taking a season off while they expect their first child together. 

The odds of Val Chmerkovskiy and Gabby Windey winning Dancing With The Stars feel pretty good, though they’ll have some fierce competition. Charli D’Amelio and Mark Ballas have been dominant the entire competition, and Wayne Brady and Witney Carson have stolen the show a few times as well. Let's not rule out the possibility of an underdog victory by Shangela and Gleb Savchenko, especially after being disrespected by being excluded in a recent promo. This is gearing up to be one of the most exciting finales yet, and a proper sendoff to Len Goodman. 

Dancing With The Stars’ Season 31 premiere will stream on Disney+ (opens in new tab) live on Monday, November 21st at 8:00 p.m. ET. Gear up for a big finale that should create some of the season's most exciting moments, and that’s saying something given the boob chicken incident that occurred recently. 

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.