“Dancing with the Stars” has been on somewhat uncertain ground since ABC dropped it from the spring schedule and limited it to fall seasons a couple of years ago. But the network announced on March 30 that the show will be back for its landmark 30th season this fall.
Season 29 was itself a pretty uncertain competition because it took place during the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the show to shoot without a live studio audience, without judge Len Goodman (who was unable to travel to the US from the UK), and without backup dancers for most of the routines. Six-time Mirror Ball champion Derek Hough sat in for Goodman.
There were other, controversial changes as well. Emmy winner Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews were fired as hosts of the show even though Bergeron had been with the show from the very beginning. They were replaced by Tyra Banks, who also signed on as an executive producer.
Despite the pandemic, season 29 actually included more celebrity contestants than usual: 15, the second most in the series’ history. That included the usual mix of actors, musicians, reality stars, and controversial figures (namely Carole Baskin from “Tiger King”). They were narrowed down to four finalists: actress Justina Machado (“One Day at a Time”) in fourth place, rapper Nelly in third, “Catfish” host Nev Schulman in the runner-up spot, and “Bachelorette” star Kaitlyn Bristowe as the Mirror Ball champion.
Bristowe’s victory was also the first championship for her pro partner Artem Chigvintsev, who had previously won the British version of the show, “Strictly Come Dancing,” but never the US iteration. Time will tell if Chigvintsev will return to the show this fall to defend his title. Are you excited to “Dancing with the Stars” season 30? Do you hope it goes back to its pre-COVID format, or are there any pandemic changes that you hope the show keeps?
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