Fans of Dancing with the Stars were shocked to learn that pro Sharna Burgess would not be returning to the ballroom for season 28. After winning last season with partner Bobby Bones, Burgess had been a favorite again; that all changed as the announcement of her absence was made among the casting reveals. With the network, producers, and Burgess herself silent, the theories began to grow.
Burgess is finally setting the record straight on what happened. In an exclusive interview with Entertainment Tonight, the dancer remembers how she learned the show would go on without her and provides some surprising information about the series itself.
In the interview, Burgess relayed the moment she learned of the decision while driving to a meeting. According to the dancer, it was producer Andrew Llinares that shared the news. “I pulled over and he let me know that they love me and I am very much a part of the family at DWTS, but they could not partner me up with a partner this season,” Burgess said of the call.
“There was no hint that this would be the case. There never is, and, by the way, we all go through the same thing every season, we don’t know if we are back until we get that pick up letter,” She went on to say during the interview.
Unsatisfied by production and network answers, Burgess has some thoughts of her own about the events that led up to her dismissal. “Not everybody can love you, not everybody is going to vibe with you, maybe they don’t want a redhead this season,” she said. “There’s three blondes and three brunettes. I think maybe I stick out like a sore thumb and they don’t want that. Maybe it’s that my choreographing they kind of got bored with,” The dance pro said. The network nor producers have not commented.
The win last season was not without its own controversy. Some fans complained that Bones and Burgess’ win did not award the best contestant; they argued the show became more of a popularity contest. For his part, Bones spoke of his time dancing with Burges during an interview with Good Housekeeping, “We’ve been through all the emotions together, everything,”
When asked about his dismissal from the show Bones said, “I think all of us were a little stunned by it.” He went on to say, “Now why [she was cut], I don’t really know. I don’t even know if they’ve told her. She had been there the longest and was one of the more popular ones, so it could have been a budget thing. I’m not really quite sure how that happened but everyone was shocked by it.”
Bobby previously explained, “We have hugged, and we’ve fought, and we flew on an airplane for three hours and didn’t say a single word to each other and then we had six meals in a row together … And I’ve never been married and she hasn’t either, so we don’t really know what a marriage is like, but this feels pretty close.”
Still, fans remain loyal to Burgess as she ventures into new opportunities. They’ve been reaching out to her social media accounts as new updates have popped up. Most are providing inspirational messages or words of support for the dancer.
Burgess was not the only pro to get cut from Season 28. Dancer Artem Chigvintsev also got the news that he would not be returning. The two teamed up to choreograph a quick step for Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance.