‘Dancing with the Stars” Carrie Ann Inaba defends Tyra Banks’ ‘controversial’ host gig

Dancing with the Stars” tapping Tyra Banks as host hasn’t exactly gone over well with longtime fans who are upset over Tom Bergeron‘s and Erin Andrews‘ dismissals, but Carrie Ann Inaba is fully behind the new energy the supermodel brings to the show.

“I mean, it’s been controversial, yes — let’s just say it — it has been,” Inaba told “Us Weekly.” “But what I think is that she has an excitement to her that is sort of hard to put words to. That’s what makes people want to tune in. And she’s so passionate about what she does, and I’m loving that she’s bringing this fashion game to the show.”

That does not mean Inaba isn’t feeling Bergeron’s and Andrews’ absences. “I miss Tom and Erin, seeing them, of course, because we’re like family. I don’t get to see them every week,” she said. “But I do think Tyra’s brought an amazing energy.”

“It is not easy for any of us, and I think that she’s stepped in and she’s filled the shoes and she’s done an amazing job and taken it in her own direction,” she continued.

SEE ‘Dancing with the Stars’ boss explains why Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews were fired

The judge also commiserates with Banks, having replaced Julie Chen Moonves on “The Talk” after the “Big Brother” host stepped down in 2018 following sexual misconduct allegations against her husband, former CBS Chairman and CEO Les Moonves.

“That’s probably why I have so much compassion for what Tyra’s going through because I joined ‘The Talk’ during a very tumultuous time,” Inaba recalled. “[Chen Moonves] was so gracious in the way that she allowed me to step into her shoes and she said, ‘I would love to see you there my Asian sister.’ Even at the beginning of the season at ‘The Talk,’ Julie sent me roses as a good luck and best wishes and I love her so much because she’s just an amazing woman. And listen, this business is what it is. It’s fickle and we all know it. All of us that are in this, we all know our time is limited wherever we are, so we may as well just have fun where we’re at and do the best that you can and support each other. So I support Tyra 100 percent.”

Bergeron and Andrews were dropped in July as part of a creative overhaul to “evolve” the long-running show, now in its 29th season, showrunner and executive producer Andrew Llinares has explained. “I think it’s all about evolution. I think any show like this that’s been on for many, many seasons needs to continue to evolve,” he said last month. “I think changing the host was all about evolution. It was about making the show feel fresh, making it feel new, kind of make it reach out to a new audience, as well as the audience that’s been there for years.”

PREDICT ‘Dancing with the Stars’ now; change them until Monday night’s show

Be sure to make your predictions so that the contestants can see how they’re faring in our racetrack odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before the next episode airs every Monday on ABC. You’ll compete to win a spot on our leaderboard and eternal bragging rights. See our contest rules and sound off with other fans in our reality TV forum. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

SIGN UP for Gold Derby’s newsletter with experts’ latest predictions

More News from GoldDerby