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‘Dancing With the Stars’ Pro Cheryl Burke Insists ‘the Show Is Not Rigged’

Cheryl Burke on ‘Dancing With The Stars‘
Cheryl Burke on ‘Dancing With The Stars‘David Livingston/Getty Images

Dancing With the Stars pro Cheryl Burke is blogging exclusively with Us Weekly about her quest to take home the season 25 mirrorball trophy with partner Terrell Owens! Check back each week for her latest update on the competition.

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I was able to watch the show last week from home and I became a huge fan. Jordan Fisher’s jive was amazing and one of the best that I’ve ever seen on Dancing With the Stars in 25 seasons.

I do feel like Mark Ballas and Lindsey Sterling were underscored with their tango and contemporary dance. I felt it deserved a perfect score across the board. It was sad seeing Victoria Arlen go because she was so relatable, but everyone is just so good at this point. I think the final two will come down to Jordan and Lindsey, and the winner will be determined by whoever has the best freestyle in the finale.

To me, Frankie Muniz is the heart of the show now that Terrell is gone. He is someone with no dance experience, and every week it’s a struggle for him. He gets really nervous, and he tries to work on his confidence, so it’s really sweet to see his journey throughout the season, and each week he continues to improve.

Drew Scott has an amazing fan base and I think that’s what got him in to the finale. He is Canadian, and Canada can vote, so I think that’s also helping a lot as well. He has improved throughout the season, but his scores are not perfect. He is not getting 10s. He is still getting 7s or 8s, and like I said before, 8s are not good enough at this point. Clearly, it’s still OK for him because his fans are rallying behind him, and I think that’s what makes this show beautiful.

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Being a part of the show now for 20 seasons, I can tell you that the show is not rigged despite what people might think. The votes are 50/50 from the judges and the fans. That’s how this process works; the fans want to feel involved with their actual journey. If it were just up to the judges, I don’t know if so many people would tune in every week. You can never assume anyone is safe even if they get a perfect score. That’s why having a strong fan base is so important.

For the finale, Jordan, Lindsay and Drew will be repeating a dance that the judges want them to do again, another individual dance, and on top of that, the freestyle. I’ve always said this since season 2 when I started doing the show: You might as well erase your whole journey from Week One. It doesn’t matter. If you don’t come out with the most memorable freestyle, if you don’t get all 10s, then you aren’t going to win the competition. It will come down to how original you can be after 25 seasons.

As a choreographer, it’s a struggle coming up with new ideas and routines that haven’t been done before. That’s one of the reasons I left the show and took a break. I needed to feel inspired again and I needed come up with new things creatively. I felt I needed to work on myself as a professional dancer so I went to Argentina for three months to train. Dancing With the Stars has been an evolution of so many different styles and I feel like in order to keep your game up, you also have to be able to work on yourself. I took enough time off to feel inspired again.

It’s always fun coming back and dancing in the finale. The opening number on Monday night is all the remaining pros and then the finale is going to be at the Grove on Tuesday. Pitbull and Fifth Harmony are guests, so it’s going to be a great show. I always love doing pro numbers because I can dance to my ability.

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It’s been a crazy but fun week with finale rehearsals. I took a day off because my little sister Nicole Wolf, who is an actress, had her premiere for her new show, Runaways on Hulu. She plays a Marvel character, so it’s fun celebrating her success and we are very supportive of each other.

This year, the finale is bittersweet for me. Watching the show last week, I wished we were still in it, but we got very far and the show really did change Terrell’s life. I’m just so proud and honored that I could be a part of that this season with him. He is so grateful that he was part of Dancing With the Stars and it was awesome to be a part of his journey as well.

It’s been an amazing season and I can’t wait to see who will take home the mirrorball!

Dancing With the Stars airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.

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