Dancing With the Stars bid farewell to Len Goodman Monday night as the longtime judge prepared for his retirement. The Disney+ series honored the departing judge with a special Mirrorball trophy of his own during the show's Season 31 finale, thanking him for everything he had done since pioneering the show when it premiered in 2005.
"It's been such a joy for me to be a part of Dancing With the Stars, it really has. I've had such a wonderful time, and this is absolutely the cherry on the cake," an emotional Goodman, 78, said of the touching tribute. Also as part of the show's goodbye, contestants past and present shared their words of appreciation for the DWTS judge as viewers were taken down memory lane with Goodman's time on the panel.
Goodman announced he would be retiring from his role as head judge during last week's semifinals. "I've been with the show since it started in 2005, and it has been a huge pleasure to be a part of such a wonderful show," he shared with the crowd, which rose to its feet for a standing ovation at the time. "But I've decided I'd like to spend more time with my grandchildren and family back in Britain. I cannot thank you enough, my Dancing With the Stars family. It's been such a wonderful experience for me, and I'm looking forward so much to next week's finale."
Goodman came to Dancing With the Stars after first serving as the head judge on the British dance series, Strictly Come Dancing. Judging alongside Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli, Goodman appeared on Dancing With the Stars for 20 seasons before going on hiatus for Season 21. He would return to the judging panel for Seasons 22 through 28 before taking another break in Season 29 due to COVID travel restrictions. In Season 30, Goodman returned, helping the show transition from its slot on ABC to Disney+ in Season 31.
Dancing With the Stars Season 31 came to an end Monday with Charli D'Amelio taking home the Mirrorball trophy with pro partner Mark Ballas. Gabby Windey and Val Chmerkovskiy placed second, Wayne Brady and Witney Carson placed third and Shangela and Gleb Savchenko placed fourth. "Thank you so much for the opportunity, thank you Mark for becoming my new best friend," D'Amelio said after winning, telling mom Heidi D'Amelio, who also competed this season, "It was such an honor to be able to do this with you."