Just one night ahead of the “Dancing With the Stars” season 32 premiere, ballroom pro Koko Iwasaki announced that she will, in fact, be competing on the season, alongside her partner, actor Matt Walsh.
Walsh had announced his decision to step away from the show due to the ongoing WGA strike.
“Dancing with Matt over the past few weeks has given me so much perspective into his craft, his work ethic, and him as a person. The roller coaster of the last several days aside, I am grateful for the meaningful step forward the WGA achieved last night. The work for all the unions in the entertainment industry is not over and our fight continues,”
“I am also SO grateful to get my partner back and to share our dance with everyone. I’m really proud of him and what we’ve created,” she added.
Here’s what you need to know:
Fans Are Reacting to Koko Iwasaki’s Announcement on Instagram
“We’re back in the ballroom,” Iwasaki captioned an Instagram post the night before the premiere. Fans reacted to the exciting news in the comments section of the post.
“Beautiful message! Looking forward to seeing you both out there on the ballroom floor,” DWTS insider Kristyn Burtt wrote in the comments.
“Yay!!! looking forward to seeing you guys dance tomorrow night and so glad that the WGA achieved their goal,” someone else added.
“I’m so excited…for you, for Matt and for all of us who get to see you dance! I know you are absolutely going to kill it and I can’t wait!!!!” a third person said.
“So happy you get to showcase tomorrow , wishing you a good second season koko,” a fourth Instagram comment read.
Matt Walsh Said He ‘Walked Out’ of Rehearsal
In a statement posted to his Instagram Stories on September 21, 2023, Walsh announced his decision to “pause” on DWTS, just days after being announced as part of the season 32 cast.
“I am taking a pause from ‘Dancing with the Stars’ until an agreement is made with the WGA,” he wrote.
“I was excited to join the show and did so under the impression that it was not a WGA show and fell under a different agreement. This morning when I was informed by my union, the WGA, that it is considered struck work I walked out of my rehearsal. I have been and will always stand with my union members of the WGA, SAG and DGA,” he continued.
“Beyond our union artists, I am sensitive to the many people impacted by the strike and I hope for a speedy and fair resolution, and to one day work again with all the wonderful people I met at ‘DWTS’ who tolerated my dancing,” he added.
On September 24, 2023, Deadline reported that a tentative agreement was made in an effort to end the work stoppage. The outlet confirmed that picketing had been suspended. The next morning, Walsh took to his Instagram Stories to share his reaction, though he did not announce his decision to return to “Dancing With the Stars.”
“It’s been a brutal summer for all of us union members, so happy the WGA broker to deal with the studios, it will be nice to put down our signs. Now let’s see this momentum to get all SAG/ AFTRA actors back to work,” he wrote.