Julianne and Derek Hough were joined by current Dancing With The Stars pros, and some from seasons passed, to pay tribute to the show’s late judge, Len Goodman.
Len Goodman, professional ballroom dancer and longtime judge of Dancing With The Stars, passed away in April after a battle with bone cancer. Just three days shy of his 79th birthday at the time of his death, Goodman left behind an incredible legacy built on his passion for dancing.
Over the course of his career, Len impacted many dancers through his Goodman Academy dance school, as well as his judging roles on the British dance competition Strictly Come Dancing and its American counterpart, Dancing With The Stars.
During Tuesday night’s episode of Dancing With The Stars, some of those whose lives were greatly impacted by Len Goodman came back together to pay tribute to their late friend and mentor.
Derek Hough, who replaced Len at the judges’ table, and Julianne Hough, who took over hosting duties this season, led a group of current and former professional dancers in a tribute performance.
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Wearing black tuxedos and white ball gowns, the pros danced a stunning waltz to Henry Mancini’s “Moon River,” a song that was a favorite of Goodman’s. The dance was choreographed by Val Chmerkovskiy and Jenna Johnson who were joined on the dance floor by current cast mates as well as past pro dancers Kym Herjavec (winner of Seasons 9 and 12), Anna Trbunskaya, Karina Smirnoff (Season 13 champion), Edyta Sliwinska, Tony Dovolani (winner of Season 15), Louis van Amstel, Maks Chmerkovskiy (Season 18 champ), and Mark Ballas (winner of Seasons 6, 8 and 31).
The performance concluded with a spotlight shone on Goodman’s empty seat as the dancers held out a hand in the direction of the seat. Tears flowed from the dancers and the crowd, and Len’s former co-judge, Bruno Tonioli, was overcome with emotion.
Len Goodman passed away April 24, 2023, just months after announcing he was stepping down from Dancing With The Stars.
“I’ve decided I’d like to spend more time with my grandchildren and family back in Britain. I could not thank you enough, my Dancing With The Stars family, it’s been such a wonderful experience for me,” Goodman said at the time.
He had served as head judge on Dancing With The Stars since the show’s inception in 2005. The coveted mirrorball trophy was renamed the Len Goodman Mirrorball Trophy at the beginning of Season 32 in honor of the legendary dancer.
Watch the emotional tribute performance to Len Goodman in the video below.