Dancing With The Stars head judge Len Goodman has announced he’s stepping down from his role after 17 years to “spend more time with grandchildren and family” in the UK.
The heartbreaking news was announced during Monday’s episode, the semi-finals of the competition, where the beloved judge received a standing ovation from contestants, judges, and the audience.
After years of inspiring aspiring professional dancers, Len Goodman shared the heartbreaking news during Monday’s episode about the end of his TV career. This decision shocked the table judges, as well as the audience who reacted to the sad news.
But why is Len Goodman leaving Dancing With The Stars?
Len Goodman steps down as DWTS judge to focus on family
On November 14, during DWTS’ weekly episode and the semi-finals of the competitions, Len shared the unfortunate news of his career as a head judge was coming to an end.
While speaking with host Tyra Banks, he said that season 31 would become his last season. As everyone gasped at the unexpected news, Len had only positive words for his time on the show.
He said: “Whilst we’re getting all excited and looking forward so much to the finale next week, it will also be 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 have decided I’d like to spend more time with my grandchildren and family back in Britain.”
Len concluded: “I cannot thank you enough, the Dancing With The Stars family, it’s been such a wonderful experience for me and I’m looking forward so much to next week’s finale, I’m sure it’s going to be absolutely brilliant.”
Co-stars react to exit as they call him a ‘legend’
Upon confirming the sad news, several of his co-stars reacted to the sudden departure. Many agreed it was a sad time for the dancing community, labeling him as a ‘legend’ who will be missed.
“It got me in my feels, if I’m honest,” pro dancer Emma Slater told Page Six. “It caught me off guard. I didn’t expect to feel as emotional as I was.
“Len, I’ve known him since I was 10 years old. He would judge competitions [in England] and he would always want me to win.”
The 33-year-old also explained she would participate in every competition Len was judging and thanked him for believing in her all these years. She added: “Twenty years later, I did the same thing tonight… and I cried my eyes out again.”
Describing him as a “legend”, the pro Gleb Savchenko spoke of how he was “the heart” of the room and the competition would not be the same without his comments.
“So for him leaving the show, it’s heartbreaking,” Gleb commented. “I got emotional just hearing it. We just all love Len so, so much, and not having him, it’ll be a missing piece.”
A ‘strictly’ iconic career
Dancing with the stars isn’t the only program where viewers have seen the former professional dancer. Goodman also became the head judge on Strictly Come Dancing between 2004 and 2016. After leaving the series, he joined the American dance competition show.
Len has been in the dancing scene since he was 20 with his dance partner, Cherry Kingston, who he ended up falling in love with. Together, they became professional ballroom dancers and won various competitions. He then retired after winning the British Championship in his late 20s.
Len and Cherry married in 1972, two days after his 28th birthday. Following his retirement, he became a well-known public figure and beloved judge in dancing competitions.
After 18 years, and at the age of 78, he now retires from television.
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