Now that the mirror ball trophy has been awarded to the ever-deserving Amber Riley, we at Wetpaint Entertainment turn our eyeballs over to Season 18.
Heading into Season 17, word around the watercooler was that a judging shakeup was in the works, but in the end we were handed the same panel as always: Bruno Tonioli, Carrie Ann Inaba, and Len Goodman were back. With so many other format changes, we were just happy to have stability in our DWTS world.
But however comforting a consistent judges panel may be, it might be high time to mix something else up, since those format changes did nothing to boost the DWTS finale ratings. Last year, Season 16 had the lowest finale rating of the show's history, and last night's Season 17 finale dropped even lower. Could it be a lackluster lineup at the judges' table causing the flops? A fan favorite judge could be a way to boost those ratings.
A report last month pegged a source saying judge Len Goodman is likely to get the axe in favor of a younger model — perhaps even Julianne Hough, who stepped in to fill Len's shoes while he was busy judging Strictly Come Dancing earlier this season. Fellow dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy was also a favorite among fans when he stepped up to guest judge for the Season 17 semifinals.
We're not holding our breath that the report is true, since we've heard this tune before, and we've yet to actually see a change to the judging lineup. That said, we're curious: If Dancing With the Stars did replace a judge, is Len the one you'd want to see go?
The show's oldest judge is also notoriously the strictest. He's definitely earned some fans' ire by giving fave stars low scores and punishing creative, crowd pleasing choreography for not having enough traditional ballroom content. The flip side of that frustration is that the coveted "10 from Len" still means something, even in the increasingly overscored recent seasons.
On the other hand, some fans are tired of Carrie Ann's tears, or Bruno's predictable "stand and shout" method of expressing enthusiasm. Other fans think all three need to go — or that they should all stay!
Which judge would you like to see leave? Vote in our poll, and sound off in the comments below.