The Dancing with the Stars cast was brought to tears after current and OG pros danced in tribute to the series’ late judge, Len Goodman. Their performance was to honor Goodman for his legendary work as a ballroom dancer and judge, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
The current and OG pros of Dancing with the Stars banded together to perform a Waltz honoring Len Goodman’s legacy in the ballroom. The performance to the Henry Mancini song, “Moon River,” was filled with traditional content the late head judge would have loved, and to a song which was one of his favorites.
Dancing with the Stars pros Jenna Johnson Chmerkovskiy and Val Chmerkovskiy choreographed the piece. It included pros from the series early days dancing alongside the current cast.
The flawless dance celebrated everything Goodman loved about traditional ballroom. It began with a single black top hat in the middle of the dance floor and ended with the Goodman’s voice saying “All good things have to come to an end.”
As the dance ended and the group looked toward the brightly lit center chair where Goodman sat for 31 seasons as the show’s head judge, many were in tears. Subsequently, judge Bruno Tonioli was consoled by Carrie Ann Inaba from his seat at the judge’s table.
Len Goodman was a well-respected figure in the ballroom dance community for decades. He also had a big impact on many of Dancing with the Stars pros, many of whom competed in front of Goodman when they were kids.
Mark Ballas, Maks Chmerkovskiy, Kym Herjavec, Anna Trebunskaya, Louis van Amstel, Karina Smirnoff, Edyta Sliwinska, and Tony Dovolani returned to the ballroom to dance in his honor. They were joined by the pros of season 32.
“He had so much love for the show and for all of us. It really showed through behind the scenes” said Kym Johnson Herjavec in a video clip.
“I miss giving him hugs and seeing how he is. I miss him a lot. The ballroom world will never be the same without Len,” remarked Anna Trebunskaya.
“Getting criticized by Len was never easy, but getting that 10 made it all worth it,” revealed Maks Chmerkovskiy. “He’s been in my life since the very beginning,” says Mark Ballas. “He was just Len, my mum’s friend and dance teacher, but if you weren’t doing it he’d let you know.”
“Dancing in front of Len was always a little intimidating,” Val Chmerkovskiy noted. “One of the things I’m most thankful for is being able to judge alongside Len. I was able to spend a extra time with him and for that, I’m really thankful,” concluded Derek Hough.
Although Len Goodman was tough on those he judged throughout 31 seasons of DWTS, he was quite different off-camera. In addition, the video package honored their friend, former pros recalled his “sweetheart” persona.
Kym Johnson Herjavec explained Goodman’s “love for the show and for all of us. It really showed through behind the scenes.”
“Len was such a sweetheart off-camera,” Mark Ballas revealed. “Lovely jubbly as he would say.”
DWTS co-host Julianne Hough said Len kept “sacred and private” his love for his wife and family (Sue and son James Goodman). Tony Dovolani admitted he regularly played golf with Goodman. “It was just he and I and we could be ourselves.”
The series renamed their mirrorball trophy as the Len Goodman Mirrorball Tropy during episode one of season 32. Dancing with the Stars airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST on ABC and Disney+ and streams the next day on Hulu.