The competitive reality show also announced they would be renaming the mirrorball trophy in his honor earlier this month
On Tuesday's season 32 premiere of the dance competition reality show, the ballroom dancing legend — who died at age 78 in April 2022, four months after announcing his retirement from DWTS — was honored.
The heartfelt moment at the beginning of the episode was led by co-hosts Alfonso Ribeiro and Julianne Hough. Ribeiro, 52, started by pointing out Goodman's absence, before Hough, 35, chimed in to say, "Len was on this panel for nearly all of our 31 seasons and though he is certainly irreplaceable, we wanted to keep his spirit alive."
A photo of Goodman appeared on the screen behind the ballroom floor as cameras panned to the new Mirrorball Trophy — now named the Len Goodman Mirrorball Trophy in his honor.
"Len will always be going forward with us," Hough said, as Ribeiro added, "As a tribute to him, we redesigned and renamed our ultimate prize."
The co-hosts also confirmed that the show will have a "spectacular tribute to Len from our dancers that you won't wanna miss" coming in a few weeks.
"It is with great sadness to announce that Len Goodman has passed away peacefully, aged 78," his manager Jackie Gill said in a statement released to the outlet at the time. "A much loved husband, father and grandfather who will be sorely missed by family, friends and all who knew him."
The former professional dancer appeared on DWTS from 2005 until 2022. He was also a head judge on the British version of the show, Strictly Come Dancing, from its launch in 2004 until 2016.
“The Len Goodman Mirrorball Trophy will now be lifted on Dancing with the Stars like the Vince Lombardi trophy is lifted at the Super Bowl,” Green explained. “We wanted to make Len a permanent part of this show, to always remind people the importance he’s had to Dancing with the Stars and how much he meant to all of us.”
“Len loves this show and will always be there, looking down on us,” the executive producer added.
“I can guarantee you that every one of those pros will be making sure that the routines are still designed for Len,” Riberio explained. "I know I've talked to a few of them and they will be putting in specific steps that Len used to love, just to make sure that the content is still there for Len.”
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum also assured fans that the show is "looking at doing something” to honor Goodman further and “there won't be a dry eye in the house” when that moment comes.
“It'll be amazing. I mean, he was the best,” he added.
Good Morning America unveiled the new cast for season 32 on Sept. 13. The stars competing include Matt Walsh, Mauricio Umansky, Jason Mraz, Alyson Hannigan, Mira Sorvino, Adrian Peterson, Barry Williams, Tyson Beckford, Xochitl Gomez, Harry Jowsey, Lele Pons, Ariana Madix, Jamie Lynn Spears and Charity Lawson.
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Dancing with the Stars airs on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC and will stream on Disney+ and Hulu.
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