‘Dancing With the Stars’ pays tribute to Len Goodman and there wasn’t a dry eye on the internet
It was an emotional Tuesday night both inside the ballroom and beyond as Dancing with the Stars paid tribute to its late head judge, Len Goodman, which included the return of a handful of past dancing pros and plenty of tears along the way.
The theme of the night was Most Memorable Year for the remaining 10 celebrity dancers, which tends to bring along some emotion with it anyway if past years are any indication. So here’s a look at how honoring Goodman was the exclamation point on a powerful night of television.
A 10 for Len
Goodman died at age 78 back in April, having retired from DWTS four months earlier. He was a well-respected figure in the ballroom dance community for decades, and was a big-time judge in that world by the time many of the DWTS pro dancers first began competing as kids.
So it’s no surprise that a group of past seasons’ pros returned to dance in his honor, including Mark Ballas, Maks Chmerkovskiy, , , , Karina Smirnoff, Edyta Sliwinska and Tony Dovolani.
Those past pros and some current ones teamed up with judge and host to perform a waltz in honor of Goodman to the Henry Mancini song, “Moon River.” The dance was choreographed by current pros and married couple Val Chmerkovskiy and Jenna Johnson, and it ended with a light shining down on Goodman’s empty chair. Many of the pros and judges were in tears by the end.
While it was clearly an emotional moment for those in the room, countless viewers reacting on social media shared a similar feeling or two, as in crying and ugly crying.
i’ve been crying pretty much this whole episode but this Len tribute…UGLY CRYING #dwts
Before the performance, a pre-taped package aired featuring many of those dancers looking back on their time with Goodman with comments like:
“He had so much love for the show and for all of us, it really showed through behind the scenes.” — Kym Herjavec
“I miss giving him hugs and seeing how he is. I miss him a lot. The ballroom world will never be the same without Len.” — Anna Trebunskaya
“Getting criticized by Len was never easy, but getting that 10 made it all worth it.” — Maks Chmerkovskiy.
“One of the things I’m most thankful for is being able to judge alongside Len. I was able to spend a little more extra time with him and for that, I’m really thankful.” — Derek Hough (said through tears)
Other highs and lows
When it comes to the dances from the 10 remaining celebrities, the high scores of the night went to Bachelorette star Charity Lawson and actress Xochitl Gomez, with singer Jason Mraz just behind them. Influencer Harry Jowsey had the lowest score of the night while actress Alyson Hannigan was also hanging near the bottom.
And while she didn’t quite get the high score she was looking for, Vanderpump Rules star and Scandoval victim Ariana Madix opened up about the rough year she’s had not only with the cheating scandal but also having it kickstarted when she was away for her grandmother’s funeral. After her performance, Madix became emotional thinking about how much her grandmother would have loved seeing her on this show.
Mira’s shocking exit
After finishing a few spots from the bottom, Oscar winner Mira Sorvino became a victim of the audience vote and ended up being sent home at the end of the night and looked legitimately shocked when she heard her name called. She chose the year 2004 because it’s when her daughter, Mattea, was born and ended up having Mattea — who’s also a dancer — in the performance.
Next week is Halloween and so the theme is… Monster Night. What more needs to be said?
Dancing With the Stars airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC and Disney+ and streams the following day on Hulu.