Dancing With the Stars said goodbye to Len Goodman Monday night. During the show’s season 31 finale, the longtime judge was honored with a special Mirrorball trophy of his own, as a commemorative souvenir.
“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,” Goodman said in the moving moment.
The show also looked back on Goodman’s time on the series, with contestants past and present sharing their words of praise and appreciation for the DWTS judge.
Goodman announced his retirement from his role as head judge on the Disney+ dance competition series 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,” the 78-year-old shared, receiving a standing ovation from the crowd as he made the announcement. “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 DWTS after serving as the head judge on the British dance competition series, Strictly Come Dancing. Sitting on the judging panel alongside Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli, Goodman served as a judge for the first 20 seasons before taking a break for season 21. He returned to judge for seasons 22 to 28, before taking a break once more in season 29. He then returned for season 30, staying on board for the show’s relocation from ABC to Disney+.
In an interview with People, released shortly after Goodman’s announcement, he shared what he’ll miss most about the show and why he felt now was the perfect time to make his exit.
“Doing a live show, you have to be at the top of your game and quick to react. And as one gets older, then things start to get more challenging,” he told the outlet. “I haven’t fallen asleep or started dribbling yet on the show, so I thought it’s best to go before I start to do so!”
“I will miss the California sunshine, working with my fellow judges and the camaraderie with everyone on the show,” Goodman added. “I’ll miss seeing the celebrities developing into dancers and I will miss being part of one of the most successful shows on TV.”
Dancing With the Stars season 31 finale aired live Monday at 8 p.m. ET, 5 p.m. PT on Disney+.