Longtime “Dancing With the Stars” judge Len Goodman is known as a stickler — but it turns out he also has a rather devious side. Find out what pro-turned-judge Derek Hough revealed about his fellow judge in a recent interview and why most of the pros think Goodman is the “scariest” judge.
Hough Said Goodman Pulled the Old Bait and Switch
In an interview with US Weekly, Hough recently revealed that a few years ago, Goodman told Hough what to do for one dance — and then scored them low!
Hough recalled how he ran into Goodman at the studio and Goodman told him, “I’d love to see a coup de pique in this paso doble,’ and Hough thought, “‘Oh, great, I’ll incorporate that in this dance.’ I think I have an in.”
But then when Hough actually did the paso doble, Goodman’s critique was actually kind of harsh.
“I do the dance, I incorporate the moves that he wanted to see and he was like, ‘Oh, I didn’t like it ’cause the lights and the graphics and the pidge podge.’ and I’m like, ‘C’mon, bro,'” said Hough, adding that Goodman reminds him of his driving instructor from the United Kingdom.
Hough studied dance in England growing up, so that was where he learned how to drive and he said that his driving instructor pulled that kind of stuff all the time too.
“[Goodman] almost reminds me of my driving instructor when I was trying to get my driver’s license,” said Hough, adding, “My driving instructor was British and he’s like, ‘Alright mate, turn left,’ I was like alright, turned, and he’s like, ‘You just failed your test.’ It’s like, ‘What are you talkin’ about?’ He’s like, ‘You’re not supposed to turn left.’ and it’s like, ‘But you told me to turn left!'”
Apparently, there is no pleasing Goodman. But Hough said that’s part of why he likes the prickly judge.
“For instance, Kellie Pickler — Bruno [Tonioli] and Carrie Ann [Inaba] would give us a 10, and Len would give us a 6. I was like, OK, alright,” said Hough, adding, “But it’s interesting because in that moment you’re kind of like, ‘C’mon man, what’s going on?’ But then in hindsight, you realize that’s actually good. If you feel good about your dance and you did a great job and if a judge doesn’t agree, the audience gets behind you. So in some weird ways, I’m like, ‘Thanks Len.'”
Other Pros Have Definitely Been Scared of Goodman
Several other pro dancers have recently weighed in on Goodman, who had to sit out season 29 due to pandemic travel restrictions. He’s set to return for season 30, which Houg told Daily Blast Live he’s “really looking forward to.”
“I might just sit on Len’s lap, I don’t know … but I’m looking forward to it, it’s gonna be a great season,” said Hough.
Meanwhile, pros Witney Carson, Keo Motsepe, Sharna Burgess, and Lindsay Arnold have all admitted that Goodman is scary, but when you earn a “10 from Len,” it’s all worth it.
“[When I started], Len scared me the most because I was kind of the one that was a little bit of a rebel with hip hop, like adding just extra stuff that I wanted to and he would always get on to me about that,” Carson told US Weekly. “But now that I know that he does that, I just expect it. So I’m not super scared anymore. But still … I want to impress him and make him proud.”
Motsepe added that “Len scares most of the dancers” because he used to judge them when they were competing on the ballroom dancing circuit.
“He still looks at us and judges us like we’re competing like that, so if your feet are not pointing properly … when Len gives you a 10 in rumba, you have to make sure that you take your a**, you come down and you give Len a kiss because when he gives you a 10 it means it was perfect,” said Motsepe in an interview with US Weekly.
Burgess said a similar thing in an interview with “Entertainment Tonight,” saying of Goodman, “I love Len! And I think we missed Len .., he’s ‘Grumpy Old Len!’ He’s that stickler for technique, he keeps you in line, you know what to expect from him, always. If you want a ’10 from Len’ you know what you gotta do.”
Lindsay Arnold echoed those sentiments, saying that it will be a little “terrifying” to see Goodman and Hough both sitting behind the judges’ table in season 30.
“It’s definitely going to be a tough, tough judging panel,” said Arnold. “I missed Len a lot [in season 29], just because he’s such a classic on the show and I feel like his opinion really carries a lot of weight every single season. And I will say, out of all the judges, Derek kinda took over the Len role. I feel like they had similar judging styles. So it will be interesting to see. I feel like it will be like a little battle of who can be tougher, which is terrifying for the celebrities, and for me, if I’m a pro!”
“Dancing With the Stars” season 30 is expected to premiere in September 2021 on ABC.