‘Dancing with the Stars’ is ‘likely’ returning to 3 judges following Len Goodman’s retirement

Len Goodman has hung up his 10 paddle on “Dancing with the Stars,” but his seat at the judges’ table may just remain vacated. According to “Entertainment Tonight,” a source close to the show believes “they are likely to go back to a three-judge format” for Season 32, but no formal decisions have been made. Not surprising since Season 32 is likely 10 months away.

Goodman, 78, retired from “Dancing” on Monday’s Season 31 finale after serving as head judge since the show’s 2005 premiere. The notoriously “grumpy Len” had missed just two installments over 17 years, Seasons 21 and 29. The latter was due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, prompting producers to add six-time champ Derek Hough as a judge. Goodman returned the subsequent season alongside Hough and his fellow OG judges, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli, and the show has had a four-person panel since. (“Dancing” also had four judges when Julianne Hough joined for Seasons 19, 20, 23 and 24).

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Returning to three judges is not a terrible idea. One fewer person means the judges will have more time to give longer critiques (though you can argue that that doesn’t really matter now that the show is on Disney+) and there won’t be any confusion when it comes to a split vote with the judges’ save. After Goodman returned in Season 30, the show did a pretty bad job explaining how the tiebreaker worked with four judges.

But a three-judge panel is probably not what Cheryl Burke wants to hear. The two-time champ, who also retired on Monday, has been vocal about becoming a judge. She told Variety on Sunday that producers are “very well aware” of her desire to join the judges’ table. “So unfortunately, that decision is not up to me. I would love to still be a part of the family, I just would love a different role on the show, just like anybody after 26 seasons of having that same title,” she said. “I think it’s important, for me at least, to feel like, OK, let’s grow together as a brand and also for me as a person. If that’s not with the show, then I’m moving forward and I’m moving on.”

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