Why Len Goodman is retiring from ‘Dancing With the Stars’

Len Goodman, one of the three original judges on “Dancing With the Stars” since its debut in 2005, is giving up his paddle.

“While we’re all excited and looking forward to next week’s finale so much,” Goodman said on the show Monday night, “it will also be with a touch of sadness as this will be my last season to speak about ‘ Dancing’ judge with the stars.’”

The veteran dancer and judge said he wants to spend more time with his grandchildren and family in the UK, but called his time with DWTS “a great pleasure to be a part of” and “such a wonderful experience”.

Host Tyra Banks called Goodman “a living legend” to a standing ovation from fellow judges and the entire studio audience.

Goodman was less formal in an interview with People.

“During a live show you have to be at your best and react quickly. And the older you get, the harder things get,” said Goodman, 78. “I haven’t fallen asleep on the show or started dribbling yet, so I figured it’s best to leave before I start !“

On the list of things he will miss: the camaraderie with his judges and with everyone on the show, and of course the California sun. “I will miss being a part of one of the most successful shows on television,” he added.

Next week’s finale concludes the show’s 31st season, in which Goodman was flanked by judges Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli. More were added to the panel over the years, and Goodman took vacations in seasons 21 and 29. But he has always been known as the toughest judge on the panel and never held back his criticism.

If a competitor was trying to hit 10s down the line and only one holdout dropped an eight or nine, that holdout was likely Len.

The professional ballroom dancer was previously the head judge on Strictly Come Dancing, the UK equivalent of DWTS, but joined the American version of the dance competition when it debuted in the US. The show ran for 30 seasons on ABC before moving to Disney+ this season.

Goodman, also known as an occasional grouch, placed encounters with some of his “sports heroes,” whether in the audience or in competition, high on his list of memories.

“American footballers have always amazed me at how good they are – given their size, it’s a mystery,” he told People. “Whereas boxers, who are light on their feet and very agile, have historically tended to be poor dancers by comparison.”

The “DWTS” finale – and Goodman’s final episode – will stream Monday at 8 p.m. on Disney+.

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/tv/story/2022-11-15/len-goodman-retired-dancing-with-the-stars Why Len Goodman is retiring from ‘Dancing With the Stars’

Sarah Ridley

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