Guide to “Dancing With the Stars” in 2021: Season 30

  • Aug 4, 2021
  • Daniel Tynski

Over the course of the 16 years that have passed since its premiere, viewers have enjoyed joining their favorite celebrities on the dance floor in “Dancing With the Stars.” As of Sept. 20, 2021, DWTS will enter its 30th season. The next season promises to wow viewers with new contestants and challenging choreography. You can find out everything you need to know about “Dancing With the Stars” in 2021 right here.

What Happened Last Season?

Airing on Sept. 14, 2020, on ABC, season 29 of “Dancing With The Stars” encompassed 11 episodes of pure fun and unexpected moments. Furthering a tradition that began in the previous season, the dancing couples were not announced early but revealed on the night of the premiere. 

Everything You Need to Know About “Dancing with the Stars”

As many as 10 pro dancers from the previous season returned along with several from DWTS season 27. Daniella Karagach and Britt Stewart made their DWTS debut, with Stewart representing the first black female to participate as a pro dancer. Unfortunately, Jeannie Mai was forced to withdraw early due to a medical diagnosis preventing her from dancing. Nelly won hearts across the board, announcing that he was donating all of the unique dance sneakers he had worn throughout the show season to a charity that protects sex-trafficking victims. 

Who Were the Judges?

A notable change in DWTS season 29 was that Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews did not return as hosts. Their replacement was none other than supermodel and entrepreneur Tyra Banks, who also served as the executive producer. Season 29 marks the first time in DWTS history that the show has aired with one host instead of two.

The three judges for season 29 included series regulars Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli. The third judge’s seat, typically belonging to Len Goodman, was filled by one of the show’s most popular professional dancers, Derek Hough, as Goodman was unable to travel from the United Kingdom under pandemic restrictions.

See also 'Dancing with the Stars' Live Recap: The Season 12 Finale, Part 2

What Were Some of the Most Memorable Performances?

The 29th Stars season held some massive highlights for avid fans of the TV dance competition. With his DWTS pro partner Daniella Karagach, fan-favorite Nelly upstaged many more technically proficient performances with his joyful delivery. Moreover, Nev Schulman and Jenna Johnson delighted viewers and judges alike with a reprisal of their Villains Night paso doble. This dynamic duo also went on to include a water gimmick in their freestyle performance that was reminiscent of a similarly legendary water performance executed by Milo Manheim and Witney Carson in DWTS season 27.

Although pandemic-related changes meant that last year’s DWTS performances did not occur in front of a live audience, that did not put a damper on the festivities. Derek Hough performed an entire piece of ballroom choreography with a hat rack. Additionally, Hough and his real-life partner, Hayley Erbert, danced an unscored routine to “Uccen” by Taalbi Brothers that many believe will win Hough his next Emmy. Nelly took center stage with his characteristic spontaneity and placed Daniella Karagach and Pasha Pashkov as his effortless backup dancers for a show-stopping performance under a glittering boombox. 

The Moulin Rouge-themed segment featuring Kaitlyn Bristowe and Artem Chigvintsev was also not to be missed. Finally, Justina Machado and Sasha Farber closed out the competition, dancing the last number of the season to a high-energy freestyle routine set to “Bamboleo” by the Gypsy Kings and “Let’s Get Loud” by Jennifer Lopez.

Who Were the Finalists?

Going into the semifinals, it looked like DWTS season 29 was still anybody’s race. Johnny Weir and Britt Stewart, and Skai Jackson and Alan Bersten were the first to be eliminated. This left Nelly and Daniella Karagach, Nev Schulman and Jenna Johnson, Kaitlyn Bristowe and Artem Chigvintsev, and Justina Machado and Sasha Farber; these four couples advanced to the finalists round. Because these four sets of dancers possessed such different skill sets on the dance floor, an exciting and unpredictable finalists round followed.

See also 'Dancing with the Stars' Season 21: Famous Dances Performance Rankings

Who Won the Most Recent Season of “Dancing With the Stars”?

The DWTS season 29 winners were Bachelorette star Kaitlyn Bristowe and pro dancer Artem Chigvintsev. Their tight choreography and nearly flawless execution of dense content, including vintage dances like the Charleston, meant their perfect point spread was difficult to top.

What to Know About the Upcoming Season of “Dancing With the Stars” in 2021

With a new season of DWTS set to premiere soon, fans of the show are already eagerly awaiting news of what’s to come.

Tyra Banks will be returning as host, and the performances are expected to take place in front of a live audience once again. Unfortunately, a perennial fan favorite, DWTS pro, Maksim Chmerkovskiy has stated that he will not be returning to the show after leaving in season 27 to join the “Masked Dancer” although his wife Peta Murgatroyd is still with DWTS. However, pro dancers Lindsay Arnold and Witney Carson, who both sat out season 29 due to their pregnancies, have expressed eager interest to return to the dance floor again for season 30. Read on for everything else you need to know about DWTS 2021.

Who Will the Judges Be?

Perhaps most exciting for long-time fans of DWTS is the return of veteran Len Goodman to his judge’s seat. A stickler for perfect technique, Goodman’s energy was missed by many last season. Despite Goodman’s imminent return, it is expected that Derek Hough will continue in a judge’s capacity, serving as a fourth judge much like his sister Julianne Hough did in earlier DWTS seasons. Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli are expected to fill their regular judge’s positions for this upcoming season.

See also The Dancers Dish on Their Celebrities

Is There Still Time to Audition?

Many rumors are flying about celebrities who have expressed interest in participating in DWTS season 30. As no couples will be announced until the premiere, changes to the participant lineup can still happen. Controversial celebrities, such as Hilaria Baldwin and Kellyanne Conway, have reportedly been approached, as has Brian Austin Green. 

Online forums dedicated to the show have expressed enormous interest in having Harry Styles as a celebrity dancer. Other rumored contestants include LeAnn Rimes, Chris Harrison, Fran Drescher, and Luann de Lesseps. There is still time for new celebrities to audition, and anything could happen.

Where to Watch “Dancing With the Stars”

“Dancing With the Stars” will kick off its 30th season on Sept. 20, 2021, as part of ABC’s fall lineup. It will continue to hold its traditional two-hour Monday night time slot. The entirety of all seasons can also be streamed on Hulu, Sling TV, and AT&T TV Now

Get All the Latest Updates on “Dancing With the Stars” From BuddyTV

With BuddyTV, you can organize your DWTS viewing the way you want it. You can get your fix of sparkly outfits and amazing choreography any time with BuddyTV’s integrated online options. Our channel organization tool means that you set your own DWTS schedule and get recommendations that match your tastes. Check out BuddyTV today and be on your way to experiencing the next season of DWTS your way!


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