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Over the past decade, one of the few constants of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars has been host Tom Bergeron. As the face of the popular dancing reality series for the past twenty-one seasons, Bergeron has guided viewers through the dancing talents of celebrities large and small as they compete for the top prize. Unfortunately, Bergeron announced last night that he’ll be missing tonight’s episode of Dancing to spend time with his ailing father.

Dancing with the Stars first hit the airwaves in 2005 as an American version of a similar British series. Each season sees celebrity contestants paired with professional dancers to compete for the favor of the judges and the audience alike.

There has been a wide variety of celebrities, judges, and even co-hosts over the years, but lead host Tom Bergeron has been the presence to count upon each season. Guiding viewers through the dances from contestants famous and unfamiliar, it’s difficult to imagine Dancing without him. Now in the fourth week of its twenty-first season, Bergeron’s understandable absence may come as a disappointment to longtime funs.

Fortunately, his space as host will be temporarily filled with a familiar face for Dancing viewers. Reports indicate that Alfonso Ribeiro will be making a return to Dancing with the Stars. Although this will be his second appearance in Season 21 after a stint as guest judge in the third episode, he made a name for himself on the reality dance scene with his appearance in Season 19, from which he ultimately emerged as the champion.

Ribeiro’s victory came as no surprise to anybody who watched his progress throughout his stint on the show or immediately recalled the “Carlton” dance from his days on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Still, he showed considerable skill to prove that he was worth more than a goofy iconic dance from a 90s tv show, and he earned his victory with partner Witney Carson. Ribeiro should be far better than just a stunt replacement in Bergeron’s absence.

For now, we can think hopeful thoughts for Tom Bergeron and his family, enjoy Alfonso Ribeiro as temporary host, and spend the next several hours trying to get “In West Philadelphia, born and raised…” out of our heads.

Dancing with the Stars airs on Mondays at 8PM on ABC.
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