Where Is Len Goodman, ‘Dancing With The Stars’ Judge, On Season 29?

Elwanda Tulloch
  • Longtime judge Len Goodman was MIA from the Dancing With The Stars season 29 premiere.
  • Instead, professional dancer and World of Dance judge Derek Hough replaced him.
  • Len is unable to judge the celebrity dance show, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Dancing with the Stars fans may have noticed one big development this season—and I’m not talking about Carole Baskin. During the season 29 premiere, judges Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli were joined by a new(ish) face on the judging panel. Derek Hough, who diehard viewers will recognize as a six-time Mirrorball champion pro dancer, replaced longtime judge Len Goodman. So, if Derek is making his DWTS debut as a judge, fans are wondering: Where the heck is Len?

    “In light of current circumstances,” ABC said in a statement, Len “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.” Basically, Len can’t leave the United Kingdom, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

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    As for Derek, he sounds thrilled to be back. “This show has been and will always be incredibly special to me,” he said in a statement. “Coming back feels like coming home and I couldn’t be more excited to be back in the ballroom.” Derek isn’t new to the judging gig, FYI: D.Hough currently presides over World of Dance alongside fellow judges J.Lo and Ne-Yo.

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    Meanwhile, Len isn’t the only DWTS judge to face a travel hiccup during the pandemic. Bruno normally travels between the U.K. and the U.S. to judge U.K. show Strictly Come Dancing, which isn’t feasible right now.

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