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Judge Derek Hough Reflects on Len Goodman


Derek Hough misses his friend and fellow Dancing with the Stars, Judge Len Goodman.

During a recent conversation, Hough reflected on the legacy of the late professional dancer and what he hopes to see when he returns to the DWTS floor.

“It was pure joy. It really was,” Hough, 38, told Extra. “I mean, what he represented and what he did for this show, for television, for all of us.”

Goodman, who was long-time head judge of the celebrity dance show from 2005 to 2022, died in April at the age of 78. The cause of his passed away turned out to be bone cancer.

When Dancing with the Stars returns for season 32 this fall (back on ABC after a brief stint on Disney+), Hough hopes to pay to Goodman’s legacy.

“He’s a special guy. We have definitely lost someone very special,” he said, adding: “I want to do something just to honor him and continue in the future.”

Hough also reflected on getting to know Goodman’s talent long before their paths crossed at the ABC Ballroom.

“I lived in London when I was 12 years old. And I remember that he participated in a dance competition, so I’ve known him for many years, then I was able to work alongside him for more than 16 years; just being able to judge alongside him over the last two years, and especially last season, I really remember savoring every moment with him,” recalls Hough. “And I am very grateful for that.”

Goodman left the post of judge before his passed away. In November 2022, he announced his retirement to PEOPLE. “When you do a live show, you have to be on top of your game and react quickly. And as you get older, things start to get more difficult,” he said. “I haven’t fallen asleep yet or started dribbling in the series yet, so I thought I’d better get going before I start doing it.”

Who will replace Goodman on the jury, if any, has not yet been announced. Hough intervened during the 2020 season, while Goodman was unable to travel due to recent times, and continued in the following seasons to give the show a four-person panel.

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Dancing with the Stars will premiere this fall and can be viewed on ABC and Disney+.

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