The Dancing With the Stars: Juniors judges’ panel has been announced — and there’s not a grumpy Len in sight. Producers for the pint-sized spinoff of the ABC celebrity ballroom competition have announced that two-time Dancing With the Stars mirrorball champion Val Chmerkovskiy, Emmy-nominated choreographer Mandy Moore (the La La Land choreographer, not the This Is Us star), and reigning DWTS: Athletes champ and Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon will judge the kid-themed spinoff of the long-running dance competition, according to USA Today. The judges made their TV debut as a trio on Good Morning America.
The DWTS: Juniors season marks the first time since the show’s 2005 debut that won’t feature at least one of the show’s seasoned judges, Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli, or Carrie Ann Inaba. Mandy Moore previously served as a guest judge on the regular season of Dancing With the Stars and has choreographed many of the show’s most memorable group routines.
Val Chmerkovskiy posted a photo of the Juniors judging trio to Instagram, writing, “So grateful and proud to be working alongside these incredible artists, creators, motivators, educators, and now judges on Dancing With The Stars: JUNIORS!!! “
Rippon, who was partnered with Chmerkovskiy’s fiancee, Jenna Johnson, for his mirrorball-winning DWTS: Athletes season, also posted to social media to share his exciting judging news.
The Dancing With the Stars spinoff will feature celebrity kids paired with junior professional dancers who are mentored by familiar DWTS pros. The news of the DWTS: Juniors judges comes amid spoilers that reality star Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson and Black-ish actor Miles Brown have joined the cast as contestants. Last week, TMZ reported that Sophia Pippen, the 9-year-old daughter of NBA legend Scottie Pippen and Real Housewives of Miami star Larsa Pippen, will also compete for the very first Juniors trophy.
As for the junior professional dancers, Just Jared has revealed that Rylee Arnold, the sister of DWTS veteran Lindsay Arnold, and Jenna Johnson’s niece, Hailey Bills, will dance with two of the celeb contestants.
Dancing With the Stars pro dancers Cheryl Burke, Jenna Johnson, Hayley Erbert, Lindsay Arnold, Artem Chigvintsev, Gleb Savchenko, Witney Carson, Keo Motsepe, Sasha Farber, and Emma Slater have also been spotted at the Dancing With the Stars rehearsal studio in L.A., so it’s a good bet they are all mentors.
Dancing With the Stars: Juniors is set to debut Oct. 7 on ABC, while Season 27 of the original Dancing With the Stars is due to return to Sept. 24.