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Dancing with the Stars Kel Mitchell Witney Carson ABC

It turns out Dancing with the Stars’ last season wasn't just the last dance for outgoing hosts Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews. Longtime Dancing with the Stars professional dancer Witney Carson is also waltzing away from Season 29, and she is “really excited” to be sitting out the upcoming installment.

It's actually not for the ominous reason you might have thought. Witney Carson and her husband are expecting their first child, putting Carson on maternity leave for Season 29. While she may be sitting this season out, Carson is still really excited for what lies ahead, telling ET:

I've never done that before, so I'm really excited to cheer on all my castmates and my friends and just see how the show is. It's gonna be great.

The question is whether Witney Carson will be cheering on her friends and their celebrity counterparts in person. Dancing with the Stars has yet to reveal how it will handle Season 29 in light of the coronavirus pandemic. The show has usually featured a studio audience, which late-night talks shows have not even welcomed back yet.

Dancing with the Stars had reportedly reached out to Dr. Anthony Fauci to compete in the upcoming season, but they might need his advice instead. Despite the fact that the dancing reality competition is moving full steam ahead on Season 29 for a fall premiere release, many of the exact details regarding its return have yet to be disclosed.

Regardless of what alterations lie ahead for Dancing with the Stars, missing Season 29 is a massive change for Witney Carson. The professional dancer has been on every Dancing with the Stars season since she started in Season 18. In only her second season on the show, Carson won with The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s Alfonso Ribeiro. On not competing this year, Carson said:

I think it'll be a really drastic change. I mean, it's been a part of my life ever since I graduated high school. So when I was 18, that's all I've known. I've done it every single year since. I'm definitely going to have some serious FOMO. I told [producer] Deena Katz yesterday, I was like, 'I don't know how I'm gonna do it without dancing.' But Carson will be happy because he won't have to fly back and forth [to Los Angeles] all the time!

Witney Carson seems to have found the silver lining in her husband not having to fly all the time. That had to be exhausting! If you thought that a former Dancing with the Stars pro didn't let expecting a child stop her from competing, you would be correct. The timeline is where things diverge.

Allison Holker competed with Andy Grammer while she was expecting her second child with husband Stephen “tWitch” Boss back in Season 21. However, Witney Carson understandably felt her pregnancy would be too far along at 24 weeks. Admittedly, Carson competing around six months pregnant would have been a too-daring feat. Plus, there is the coronavirus situation, which has made for a lot of unknowns.

As mentioned, what is known is that the show’s original host, Tom Bergeron, and his long-time co-host, Erin Andrews, will not be returning for whatever Season 29 holds. Dancing with the Stars surprised many when it let go of both fan-favorites ahead of the post-coronavirus season. The show has recruited former America’s Got Talent host Tyra Banks to take their place.

It's definitely clear that this will be a huge adjustment for Witney Carson, who for the past four seasons has finished in the top five with her celebrity partners. Last season on Dancing with the Stars, Carson came in second with her partner, Kel Mitchell, as The Bachelorette’s Hannah Brown ended up winning instead.

Find out who competes in Witney Carson’s stead when Dancing with the Stars’ lineup is eventually revealed. Season 29 does not have a premiere date yet. The show will air Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. While you wait to return to the shimmer of the ballroom, check out the other shows that are set to dance their way onto this fall’s schedule.

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