Dancing With The Stars Judge Len Goodman Announces He's Retiring After 31 Seasons

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

The biting commentary of British judge Len Goodman has been part of the foundation of Dancing With The Stars from the very beginning, but he won't be around the dancing competition show for too much longer. Goodman made a surprise announcement during the latest episode, and revealed that he's retiring as a judge following the conclusion of its inaugural season on Disney+

Just after Dancing With The Stars wrapped the first round of its semi-finals, host Tyra Banks cut to Len Goodman with a message. At first, this seemed like the typical cut to the judges to explain the stakes or challenges of the upcoming round for competitors, but instead, it turned into Goodman announcing that he'll be leaving the series after next week's Season 31 finale: 

Well, whilst we’re all getting excited and looking forward so much to the finale next week, it’ll also be with a touch of sadness as this will be my last season judging on Dancing With The Stars. I’ve been with the show since it started in 2005, and it has been a huge pleasure to be a part of such a wonderful show. But I’ve decided I’d like to spend more time with the grandchildren and family back in Britain. I cannot thank you enough, my Dancing With The Stars Family. It’s been such a wonderful experience for me. I’m looking forward so much to next week’s finale. I’m sure it’s going to be absolutely brilliant.

To say it'll be a challenge for Dancing With The Stars to replace Len Goodman on a permanent basis is an understatement. Goodman has long served as one of the most critical judges on the panel, and as he mentioned, has been a fixture of the series since the very beginning. He's only been absent from a few seasons prior to this, so it's hard to imagine him not being at the table at all going forward. 

Goodman's exit will leave Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba as the only remaining founding judges of the program. Derek Hough joined the cast in Season 29 and immediately left a positive impact on fans during COVID protocols when Goodman stayed home and broadcasted from Britain.  

As far as judges who might replace Len Goodman, that's something we're still waiting to hear more about. One obvious pick for a new judge could be Derek Hough's sister Julianne, who is a two-time former champion pro of Dancing With The Stars. There are also dance choreographers more closely associated with Disney like Todrick Hall, who could also be a good fit for the role. Goodman's successor will likely be announced ahead of Season 32, so perhaps it's best not to speculate until the finale. 

Len Goodman's final episode is sure to be an exciting one, as the finale looks like it may be one of the most competitive in the past few seasons. Wayne Brady, Charli D'Amelio, and Gabby Windey are all neck and neck heading into the finale, and it's anyone's game at this point. Viewers should expect a night of competitive dancing, and one that even Goodman might find some trouble poking holes in given his scores for those stars as of late. Hell, this night could be even more exciting than Season 31's "boob chicken" incident, which now became the second biggest thing to happen this season. 

Dancing With The Stars Season 31 finale streams live on Disney+ (opens in new tab) on Monday, November 21. Make sure to have that Disney+ subscription up to date, and see which of the remaining couples will help make Len Goodman's final show a memorable one. 

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.