It's a year since ABC decided to move on from Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews to take Dancing With the Stars in a new direction for Season 29, but it still stings for longtime fans of the show and even those who participated. Former NSYNC singer Joey Fatone joined the growing chorus of DWTS fans disappointed that Bergeron is not coming back. Bergeron and Andrews were both replaced by Tyra Banks, who is expected to return for Season 30 in the fall.
“I haven’t had a chance to talk to Tom because I don’t really know what happened. That was just weird how it all went down,” Fatone told Us Weekly Sunday. "Nothing wrong with Tyra [Banks], but Tom really — and Erin [Andrews] is great, don’t get me wrong — but Tom was the freakin’ starter. He’s the backbone of all that stuff. He’s the one that was there from day one and he’s great at it."
Fatone did not think ABC and the DWTS producers "needed to change anything." He added that he did not "know why they did, but they do what they have to do and maybe they wanted to go in a different direction." Fatone came in second place during DWTS Season 4 in 2007 and later participated in Dancing With the Stars at Sea. He was also a contestant on the first season of The Masked Singer in 2019.
ABC shocked DWTS fans when they announced Bergeron and Andrews would not return to the show. It was especially shocking to see Bergeron axed since he had been hosting the show since the beginning, and the decision came so close to the show's historic 30th season. ABC said the show was moving in a "new creative direction" in the future.
“[Tom] departs the show with our sincerest thanks and gratitude for his trademark wit and charm that helped make this show a success,” ABC said last year. “Erin will also not be returning, and we appreciate all that she brought to the ballroom. Fans have been rooting for her since she originally competed as a contestant back in 2010, and her signature sense of humor has become a hallmark of the show.”
Since the news broke, fans have been trying to find hints everywhere that Bergeron would come back, but the longtime television personality has repeatedly shot speculation down. In April, Bergeron told fans to "stay tuned" and included a clip from The Godfather Part III when Al Pacino says, "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in." Of course, this instantly sparked speculation he was coming back, but he told fans this cryptic post was a reference to another project he is working on. He thanked fans for their "heartwarming" response, adding in an Instagram video, "Thank you for that and I promise I will let you know what I'm really talking about by next week at the latest, alright? So, a little bit of patience. I think it'll be worth it. We'll see. Thanks again."