Cheryl Burke Wishes the ‘DWTS’ Pros Had More Control, Plus Reveals Her Hopes for Becoming ‘the Girl Version of Len’


Dancing With the Stars pro Cheryl Burke is blogging exclusively with Us Weekly about her quest to take home the season 28 mirrorball trophy! Check back each week for her latest update on the competition.

During the Monday, September 30, episode, Cheryl Burke and partner Ray Lewis were forced to withdraw from the show after he suffered from multiple torn tendons in his foot. This week, the pro breaks down the emotional run and what she hopes is next.

On being involved now that she’s out of the completion:
Ideally, I think that after all my years on this show, I feel like I’m experienced enough to understand how the show works, but also to be able to go in there and help the couples that want help. That’s the one thing, when I started the show, that I’ve always wanted — to be able to have a mentor there or even, like, a third eye. Every couple needs that. You can’t do everything.

On becoming a possible judge:
I would love to judge. I think I would be the girl version of Len Goodman! We are being asked to choreograph and make everything technically sound. When it comes to our choreography, like the way it used to be, bringing it back to the ballroom, I definitely signed up for a show that was ballroom. I am a ballroom dancer and I feel like that is what it needs to go back to. I think that I would be a good judge because I’d be able to tell them exactly what that means.

Cheryl Burke Dancing With The Stars DWTS
Cheryl Burke poses for a photo for ‘Dancing with the Stars.’ ABC/Justin Stephens

On being out so early:
I think the last time I was out this early was when I was with Wayne Newton, who also had to bow out because he had walking pneumonia. It feels really weird. It’s not the ideal situation, but I truly believe everything’s meant to be. So whether it means that I’m a mentor or maybe a guest judge, we’ll see what happens.

On her BFF Leah Remini guest judging next week:
I’m told her if she needs any help I’ll be by her side for sure! She likes to go to camera blocking on Sunday so I’ll be there with her. She just needs support. But she’s not going to try and be this technical judge, because that’s not what she is. So she’s going to be more for like the people’s voice! She loves the show. She’s very opinionated. We always talk after the show and I love to hear her thoughts. Some will be able to be used on television! I told her, at the end of the day, don’t ever disregard the fact that you know a lot about chemistry or if a couple makes you feel something or if they don’t or if you know they’re dancing authentic to authentic music. Even though we don’t have a choice. I think it’s important that people understand that and hopefully from above, whoever is running that side of things, will listen, as well.

On the show not sending anyone home:
I was a little surprised! I think it was what was fair for sure. Just knowing the show’s history, I thought for sure they were going to eliminate someone and then just save someone on Disney week or something.

On who she thinks the judges would have saved:
I think they would’ve saved Kel Mitchell. They’ve been showing how much harder they are with the couples and the technique. Now for the heart of the show, they would have saved Lamar Odom. Lamar, in a weird way, reminds me of Rob Kardashian only because you can tell how he’s really into it. He’s made friends and he feels comfortable on set and he feels safe. It’s a safe environment. That was the same thing with Rob. It took me forever to get Rob to get into the first rehearsal and then it took him forever just to get into the competition. That’s why I loved him so much because it was so organic. He wasn’t doing a show to gain anything from it. It was purely because he wanted to conquer a fear and he did. It’s the same with Lamar and I can tell! Just from Lamar lip-syncing, that shows improvement because he’s really not worried about what anyone thinks. He’s starting to understand that this show, as some people may say, it’s cheesy! If you try and play it cool, you look stupid and you have to exaggerate everything and live in the moment and just have fun! Lamar is definitely most improved! He went out there in shorts and owned it.

Lamar Odom and Peta Murgatroyd Dancing With The Stars DWTS
Lamar Odom and Peta Murgatroyd compete on the third week of the 2019 season of ‘Dancing with the Stars.’ ABC/Eric McCandless

On the producers calling all the shots:
The pros don’t have any say anymore when it comes to music. But when you don’t dance to authentic music or when you don’t wear the right costumes, it’s tough. When we do Latin dances, we don’t wear tails suits for a reason. So it’s important that for Karamo Brown’s jive or for the Titanic rumba, you don’t wear tail suits. I know it’s the movie and I get it, but it’s restricting your movements and I don’t think it does anybody any favors. There’s a reason why tail suits are only for the ballroom members. We’re not trying to do that in the Latin dances. That’s not the goal. It’s hard for me to see past that sometimes, and I think it’s the same for Len, who understands. He gets it. He’s the world’s best judge. I also have my judging credentials. So I know what it needs to be and there’s a reason for it. Like what James Van Der Beek wore for rumba, that’s appropriate. I would say that’s an example of what was appropriate from the music to the costumes to the dance and the set. They stuck true to ballroom. It’s really hard for the celeb who has no dance experience. When you hear a certain beat to a song, you can’t do the opposite of what it’s telling you. This is why I could actually really help. It’s all in the detail.

On the music choices overall:
The fact that they want to stick to mainstream music is great, but we just need to dig a little deeper. There have to be mainstream songs that would work for every dance. I already know a few. We just need it to correlate.

On Charlie Sheen being her original partner:
Wouldn’t he have been great on the show? He’s perfect really — someone with no dance experience that we can go on a journey with.

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

With reporting by Kayley Stumpe

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