Len Goodman has been known as the “grumpy judge” on “Dancing with the Stars” since its inception in 2005. He has appeared on every season of the celebrity ballroom competition except Season 21, although he scaled back during two other seasons (19 and 23) due to his role on the U.K.’s “Strictly Come Dancing,” per Parade.
On November 14, 2022, Goodman announced his retirement from “Dancing With the Stars.” The 78-year-old head judge explained that he wanted to spend more time in Britain with his grandchildren. “I could not thank you enough, my ‘Dancing With The Stars’ family, it’s been such a wonderful experience for me,” Goodman said.
Goodman’s announcement was a look at his softer side, but over the years he’s had plenty of memorable grumpy judge moments.
Len Goodman Helped Put Michael Bolton in the Dog House But Defended Him Later
During DWTS’ 11th season in 2010, singer Michael Bolton and partner Chelsie Hightower did a “Hound Dog” themed jive that had him sent to the dog house by the judges. Goodman said the dance was so bad that Bolton “probably needed a pooper scooper as well to finish it off.”
But after Bruno Tonioli humiliated Bolton in front of his 90-year-old mother who was in the audience, calling it the “worst” jive ever on DWTS and giving him an impossibly low score of 3 out of 10 points, even Goodman felt he went too far. According to Us Weekly, Goodman told Tonioli his comments were “’inappropriate.” For once, he wasn’t the grumpiest judge.
Len Goodman Shot Down Maksim Chmerkovskiy & Hope Solo’s Rumba
In 2011, Goodman had harsh words for contestant Hope Solo’s rumba with pro partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy. He called the routine the “worst dance” of the entire competition up to that point, which garnered boos from the audience, per Digital Spy. When Chmerkovskiy encouraged the booing, Goodman told him: “Don’t start all that Maks, ’cause half the fault is yours… The audience like the effect, they judge on efficacy. I’ve been in this business for 50 years, my criteria to judge is different than the audience.”
Chmerkovskiy fired back at Goodman to tell him that maybe it was time for him to “get out” of the business, which caused fellow judge Carrie Ann Inaba to tell the pro dancer, “Oh, wow, don’t be disrespectful like that,” according to The Washington Post.
Len Goodman Told Bonner Bolton He Made it ‘Too Far’ in the Competition
In 2017, Goodman told contestant Bonner Bolton that he had made it too far in the DWTS competition. The insulting commentary came after the pro bull rider and partner Sharna Burgess made it to week 8, just shy of the finals. Goodman told Bolton that he blamed the “viewers” for his long run on the show, per Parade. “You’ve gone a bridge too far,” he said.
Fans were outraged by Goodman’s unnecessarily harsh critique. ”So disappointed in Len Goodman tonight,” one fan tweeted. “That comment he made to Bonner Bolton was WAY outta line! Len needs to retire! Enough!”
Burgess was also disappointed in Goodman. “Len Goodman was definitely brutal,” the pro dancer wrote on her blog for Us Weekly. “I was actually a little disappointed in Len for what he said to Bonner. It’s not always just the best dancer who’s making it through to the finals. …It has to do with that person’s story and how much they’re inspiring someone.”
Len Goodman Brushed Off Ally Brooke & It Did Not Go Over Well
In 2019, fans were confused when Goodman shut down contestant Ally Brooke’s excited gesture. After he gave the Fifth Harmony singer positive remarks for her rumba with partner Sasha Farber, she approached the judges’ desk to give Goodman a high five, which he did not appreciate, per Huffington Post UK. Goodman told Brooke, “Don’t get overwhelmed,” before warning her, “Don’t touch me again.”
Brooke clarified that she simply gave Goodman a high five, but he did not seem amused, and his tone turned fans off. According to Entertainment Tonight, some fans called Goodman “disrespectful” and “awful” for the way he talked to Brooke.
Len Goodman Snapped at Tyra Banks
On Goodman’s final season of “Dancing With the Stars,” he became visibly annoyed with host Tyra Banks after she cracked a joke. During the Halloween theme night, Goodman told contestant Charli D’Amelio that her magnificent dance with Marks Ballas “transported” him to “some club in Argentina.”
According to The Sun, Banks tried to get funny with Goodman by saying, “I heard the audience make a sound when Len said he was transported to a club in Argentina.”
“What you talking about a club?” she asked the DWTS judge.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about!” an annoyed Goodman fired back.
“When you said club they laughed!” Banks said, but Goodman seemed irritated.
Fans reacted on social media. ”LMAOO Len hates Tyra,” one fan tweeted. “Even Len Goodman is tired of Tyra Banks…. I’d make it my last season too,” another fan tweeted after Goodman’s retirement announcement.