Monday’s Dancing with the Stars Judge’s Choice Night might just be the most emotional selection Len Goodman has ever made.
Goodman, 71, has tapped five-time Mirrorball Trophy winner Derek Hough to embody him in a routine with Nastia Liukin. And, in a real treat for loyal DWTS fans, Goodman will also cameo at the end, taking a few turns around the ballroom with Liukin, 25.
In an exclusive clip from Monday’s episode, Goodman – who struggles with arthritis – address the emotional motivation for the dance: “For everyone, there comes a time when you can no longer do something. But you always think back to how it was and what it was like.”
He adds with a smile, “Derek is going to be me – only 20 times better and 50 years younger.”
Despite Hough’s age, 29, the routine likely hits quite close to home – he was nearly taken out of the competition last month when he broke a toe on his right foot and severely sprained his left ankle.
More than his physical health, though, Derek is most concerned about impressing his longtime friend and colleague: “I feel like, out of all the judges’ choices, this one is more personal to Len, which makes it a little bit more pressure.”
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Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays and Tuesdays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.