‘Dancing With The Stars’ Judge Len Goodman Retiring After 23 Years

“Dancing With The Stars” is losing one of their original judges.

Judge Len Goodman announced on Monday’s semifinal episode that he is retiring as head judge after joining the dance competition when it began.

The 78-year-old received a standing ovation as he shared the news, “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,” Len told the audience. “But I’ve decided I’d like to spend more time with my grandchildren and family back in Britain. I cannot thank you enough, my ‘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.”

Len spoke to People following his announcement and opened up about ending his time on the Disney+ show, “Doing a live show you have to be at the top of your game and quick to react. And as one gets older, then things start to get more challenging.”

He continued, “I haven’t fallen asleep or started dribbling yet on the show, so I thought it’s best to go before I start to do so!”

“I will miss the California sunshine, working with my fellow judges and the camaraderie with everyone on the show,” he adds. “I’ll miss seeing the celebrities developing into dancers and I will miss being part of one of the most successful shows on TV,” he added.

Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli have been on the judge’s panel for the last 31 seasons. Len gave his critiques as head judge for the first 20 seasons and then took a break for season 21, returned for seasons 22-28 and then took another break for season 29 and returned for season 30 until he retires.

Some of his memories from the show include, “Meeting some of the great artists that have been singing on the show such Neil Diamond, Barry Manilow, Stevie Wonder, Etta James, Rod Stewart, Gladys Knight, to name a few… and meeting some of my sporting heroes, who either competed on the show or were watching in the audience, from the world of baseball, football, boxing, skiing, race car driving, and ice skating,” he told People. “I had so much fun recording ‘Dance Center’ for a few years with Kenny Mayne and Jerry Rice. It always took twice as long as it should have done to record because we kept laughing so much!”

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