The new season of Dancing With the Stars has officially kicked off and already you may have noticed some major changes. Tyra Banks is the new host, and Derek Hough is currently occupying judge Len Goodman's seat.
If you're specifically wondering about Len, you should know that in early September ABC announced via Good Morning America that Derek, a World of Dance judge and former DWTS ballroom dance pro, would join Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli as the newest judge of the show.
"This show has been and will always be incredibly special to me," Derek said in a statement. "Coming back feels like coming home, and I couldn't be more excited to be back in the ballroom."
But what happened to Len Goodman and where is the Dancing With the Stars judge?
As for Len, who has been on the show for all but one season since Dancing With the Stars debuted back in 2005, he simply couldn't come on this season due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The network explained that "in light of current circumstances," Len would 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."
Likewise, Bruno won't be judging the U.K.-based show Strictly Come Dancing in person due to travel restrictions and his commitment to filming Dancing With the Stars in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, all the back-and-forth traveling just isn't feasible nor safe this year. Not to mention, Bruno is 64 and Len is 76, both at higher risk if contracting COVID-19, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
That said, it sounds like we'll see Len pop up to say "hello" and give his feedback from time to time, even if it's just over Zoom. While we'd much rather have Len judging in person, we're just happy he'll still be involved with the show. In the meantime, it'll be up to Derek to hold down the fort.
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