‘Dancing with the Stars’ Season 32 will have 3 judges, according to Shirley Ballas

After Len Goodman‘s retirement on “Dancing with the Stars” in November, every fan has been wondering who will replace him at the judges’ table in Season 32. Shirley Ballas, who succeeded Goodman as head judge on Britain’s “Strictly Come Dancing” in 2017, has been speculated as one of his replacements, but the ballroom dancer says it’s looking like it’ll no one will take his seat.

“I spoke to [executive producer and showrunner] Conrad Green. I think at the moment they’re gonna keep it to three judges,” Ballas recently said on the British talk show “Loose Women.” (watch below).

This jibes with “Entertainment Tonight’s” report after the Season 31 finale in November that cited a source claiming that the show will “likely to go back to a three-judge format.” “Dancing” started out with three judges in 2005 — head judge Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli — and grew to four with Julianne Hough in Seasons 19, 20, 23 and 24. When Goodman, who sat out Season 21, could not travel to the United States due to COVID-19 travel restrictions in 2020, Derek Hough filled in for him in Season 29. Goodman returned the following season and Hough was named a permanent judge, making it a four-person panel.

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

But coupled with the judges’ save, introduced in Season 28, the four-person panel caused some confusion when they were divided on which couple to keep. Goodman’s vote essentially counted twice, since he was the head judge, but the show did not adequately explain that. Returning to three judges would render this “tiebreaker” rule obsolete, not to mention each judge would have more time to give their critique.

But if “Dancing” were to replace Goodman, Ballas would have extra incentive to consider the gig. Her son Mark Ballas, returning to the show after a five-year hiatus, just won Season 31 with Charli D’Amelio. “The bonus of being over there would be that I would see my son every week. I miss him,” Ballas said. The dancer, who calls herself a “spicy” but “very, very fair” judge, revealed that when she visited Mark last summer, he told her he was offered “Dancing” but wasn’t going to take it.

“So I flew back to England, ready for our launch show [on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’] … and he said, ‘Could you fly back tomorrow, mum? I’ve decided to do it, but I need to get back into shape,'” she shared. “It is like riding a bike, even though he hadn’t danced in five years. So I went out there and he had to keep up with me for two weeks and he got back into shape.”

Mark previously won Season 6 with Kristi Yamaguchi and Season 8 with Shawn Johnson. He is the second pro after his BFF and six-time champ Derek Hough to win at least three Mirrorball trophies. “I have to say, winning that trophy, his body of work — his creativity, all his own music, his outfits, his choreography — is second to none,” Ballas gushed. “I was extremely proud of him.”

“Dancing with the Stars” Season 32 will premiere on Disney+ later this year.

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