A season of change! Dancing With the Stars shook up their judges’ table with the addition of former pro dancer Derek Hough. The World of Dance star replaced longtime judge Len Goodman. Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli will also be returning to the ballroom.
“This show has and will always be incredibly special to me. This show has gifted me with so many memories and priceless experiences,” Derek, 35, who is the brother of former pro Julianne Hough, said in a statement via Instagram on September 8. “Amazing relationships, growth, triumphs, failures, struggles, fears, celebrations, fun and just pure entertainment. I look forward to returning as a judge. I hope to be fair, fun, encouraging, honest, helpful, compassionate and I look forward to watching these amazing journeys unfold. See you soon.”
Don’t worry, Len, 76, will still make an appearance at some point during the season. ABC said in a statement due to “current circumstances,” specifically travel restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic, the English professional ballroom dancer “will be unable to judge this season live in the ballroom, though he will still be a part of the show in a different capacity sharing his ballroom expertise from London.”
Len previously teased the idea that he may not be able to appear on season 29 back in June. “I like going over [to the U.S.] because it’s 10 weeks of being in the sun. and I only work one day a week. But of course, there’s this lockdown thing at the moment with only Americans being able to fly into America or if you’ve got a green card. I haven’t got either of those so who knows,” he told The Sun at the time.
The cast changes this season didn’t stop at the judges’ table. Tyra Banks is now the host and an executive producer of the reality dance competition as she took over the role from Tom Bergeron. Cohost Erin Andrews will also not be returning.
“I am so excited, you guys,” the America’s Next Top Model creator, 46, gushed on Instagram in July shortly after the exciting news was announced. “This is going to be, like, bananas. We’re going to take Dancing With the Stars to the next level. Did you think I was going to waltz on over to Dancing With the Stars and not bring you with me? Oh no, baby, we will be smizing on ABC.”
One thing is for sure: We’re in for an exciting season. Dancing With the Stars premieres on ABC Monday, September 14 at 8 p.m. EST. Keep scrolling to see more about this season’s judges!