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  • Writer's pictureKristyn Burtt

'Dancing with the Stars': Everything You Need to Know About Season 30

judges dwts season 29
Photo credit: ABC/Eric McCandless.

Updated on Sept. 8

It's been a long year without Dancing with the Stars on the air, but the ABC show is ready to fire up the ballroom for another season. We last left the show with Artem Chigvintsev winning his first Mirrorball trophy with Bachelorette star Kaitlyn Bristowe. Before we start predicting this season's winner, we have to know all of the important details for the milestone season.

Premiere Date: Monday, Sept. 20

The season starts a week later this year because ABC is airing Monday Night Football on Monday, Sept. 13, the usual DWTS premiere date.

How Long Is the Season?

This year, the season will run 10 weeks — from Monday, Sept. 20 through Monday, Nov. 22.

Host: Tyra Banks

We know you all miss Tom Bergeron, but he's not coming back to the show. Both sides have moved on and that means we have to move on, too. Banks is also the executive producer of the show along with Andrew Llinares.

Judges: Len Goodman, Carrieann Inaba, Derek Hough, Bruno Tonioli

Goodman is back after a season away due to the pandemic and despite focusing a medical leave of absence from The Talk, it looks like Inaba will be there at the judges' table in the fall.

Vaccinations: YES

Not only has the Walt Disney Co. issued a vaccine mandate for all employees, the performers' union SAG-AFTRA is allowing for a mandate to be issued as long as certain terms are met. (Read those terms here.) Dance Dish Media has confirmed with several sources that all pros have been notified about the vaccine mandate and given ample time to get vaccinated (if they hadn't done so already).

Studio Audience: YES

On-Camera Audiences, which distributes tickets to the show, has been successfully working with America's Got Talent and Dr. Phil lately. The audiences are at limited capacity and everyone needs to be fully vaccinated in order to attend.

Derek Hough even mentioned that they are hoping to have the audience back this season on KTLA recently. "I think we should be good with a live audience this year. They did a great job last season keeping the energy, keeping the vibe in the room," he explained to Sam Rubin. "I think we are going to be good with an audience this year in the room with vaccinations and testing going on. I think we should be fine. I look forward to that."

But remember, this pandemic is anything but predictable, so this could always change.

New Pro Auditions: YES

This seems to be a controversial topic online, but yes, new pro auditions happen almost every year (they did not conduct auditions last season). Sometimes they hire new pros, sometimes they don't — it's all about finding what they are looking for at the right time. The reason why a pro announcement might be later than usual this year is because producers are conducting a final round (Round 3) for new pros this week (week of Aug. 16).

Potential candidates have already done interviews and submitted their dance reels in prior rounds. This week, they created videos of a routine they choreographed and taught to a non-dancer. According to sources, they should know whether they have been selected by next week. Several insiders have told me that finding Latino/Latina talent was a priority — and this is where we might be seeing the influence of executive producer Tyra Banks this season. She wants the pro ranks to look more diverse.

There was the final interview for potential new pros (a smaller group than earlier this week) on Thursday. This was solely a get-to-know-you meeting, but it was pretty high-level since ABC, BBC and DWTS executives were all in on the Zoom call. Tyra Banks did not participate in this meeting.

(Well, surprise, surprise. There was an unexpected interview session for possible new male pros late on Tuesday, Aug. 24. They were contacted late on Monday for Tuesday's meet-and-greet Zoom call. Just like the female pro call, high-level execs from ABC, BBC and DWTS were there. And just like last week, nobody has heard anything yet... this is as of late Wednesday night. So if you're wondering why a pro announcement is taking so long, this is why.) Update: Keep scrolling for Season 30 pro cast.

Pro & Contestant Partnerships: See the official list so far here. The reveal will be happening on GMA on Sept. 8.

Your pros this season: 7 men, 8 women


Val Chmerkovskiy

Pasha Pashkov

Sasha Farber

Brandon Armstrong

Artem Chigvintsev

Gleb Savchenko

Alan Bersten


Cheryl Burke

Jenna Johnson

Britt Stewart

Daniella Karagach

Sharna Burgess

Emma Slater

Lindsay Arnold

Witney Carson

Two new pros (one male, one female) were hired — and are Latinx talent! They will not have celebrities this season, this is position similar to what Keo Motsepe and Daniella held in Season 28. They will assist with rehearsals, do group numbers, bumpers and of course, fill-in if anyone is injured.

New Pros:

Ezra Sosa: Ezra was a Top 6 contestant on Season 16 of So You Think You Can Dance.

Learn more about Ezra in my 2019 interview with him.

Sofia Ghavami: Sofia made it to Top 20 on Season 16 of So You Think You Can Dance and was recently a pro on Mira Quién Baila.

Learn more about Sofia in my 2019 interview and 2020 interview.

Crew: They are officially back at work and building the Season 30 set as of Wednesday, Aug. 25.

Don't forget all of the in-depth scoop is up on my Patreon page with podcasts in the pre-season and a weekly aftershow during the season. Click here for more info.


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