Artem Chigvintsev is trying to move on. Many Dancing With the Stars fans were shocked on Wednesday, August 21, when ABC revealed the celebrities and pros that would compete on season 28 — and Chigvintsev and Sharna Burgess were not the on the list.
However, the Burn the Floor alum was more surprised than anyone when he found out on Friday, August 16, five days before the announcement was made.
“Obviously, it was a massive shock,” the dancer, 37, said on Nikki and Brie Bella‘s “The Bellas Podcast” on Wednesday, August 28. “It’s not even a job, it’s a lifestyle if you’ve been doing it for a very long time. There was never a thought in my mind that I’m not going to be doing it. There’s always a chance, as a pro, you might be doing some performances on the show and there’s still an involvement in some sort. But getting this call, [hearing] ‘There’s gonna be no involvement in the show from now on,’ it’s like going through a breakup after 10 years.”
Chigvintsev joined DWTS in 2014 as a member of the dance troupe for season 18. In season 19, he was promoted to professional dancer.
During the podcast, the former So You Think You Can Dance choreographer revealed that he knew there was “a little possibility” that he wouldn’t be a pro and that instead, he’d join the troupe. However, he never thought the show would cut him completely, especially since he had been texting with producers for two weeks before and was always having “positive conversations.”
Then, on Friday, August 16, his brother called him to ask who he was partnered with; that’s when Chigvintsev realized something was wrong, since the announcement was set for the following Wednesday. He called producers around 10 a.m. and they told him they would let him know by the end of the day; at 8 p.m., he finally heard the news.
While the Strictly Come Dancing alum is trying to look ahead at the future, he can’t help but wonder if he wasn’t good enough for the show. Plus, he holds a bit of a grudge over how it happened.
“I dedicated 10 years of my life to that company and being let go a few days before the announcement, that’s, like, a punch in the stomach really,” he said. “I can’t let any one decide my fate from now on.”
Nikki, who danced with Chigvintsev during season 25 and is now dating him, also chimed in.
“They’ve had these dancers on hold since March,” the former WWE pro, 35, said. “They don’t give them compensation for it. They’ve been all unemployed since March. … That made me really upset because how do you put people on hold and then cut them last minute?”
Dancing With the Stars premieres on ABC Monday, September 16, at 8 p.m. ET.
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