Cheryl Burke has some opinions on the “new” Dancing with the Stars. The two-time mirrorball champion, who was forced to withdraw from this season’s competition after her celebrity partner Ray Lewis injured his foot, told Us Weekly producers are very involved in every aspect of the show and that they need to “dig a little deeper” if they want to showcase authentic ballroom dance.
In a blog post for the outlet, Burke revealed that the longtime pro dancers on the ABC celebrity dancing competition no longer have any say when it comes to music or costumes because producers now make all of those decisions. That can make for some challenges when it comes to choreography.
“When you don’t dance to authentic music or when you don’t wear the right costumes, it’s tough,” Burke said.
The newlywed dancer pointed to this week’s movie theme night when some of the dancers wore tail suits to do Latin dances to keep in line with the theme for the movie they were dancing to and not the dance itself.
“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 [Kel Mitchell’s] 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.”
Burke also weighed in on the show’s musical selections, noting that it’s “great” that producers want to stick to mainstream music, but that they just need to find the right songs for each dance. The pro dancer said producers need to dig deeper for the proper songs, and she teased that she knows of some mainstream songs that would work for every dance.
Amid the music and costume challenges, the pro dancers are asked to choreograph and make everything “technically sound. ” That said, she would like to see the show really bring it “back to the ballroom.”
“I definitely signed up for a show that was ballroom,” Burke added. “I am a ballroom dancer and I feel like that is what it needs to go back to.”
With so much insight into how the ABC celebrity dancing show works, Burke is primed to be a judge on the show at some point. The Dancing with the Stars veteran says she would love to be a mentor or “the girl version” of longtime judge Len Goodman someday.
While she seems to think Dancing with the Stars needs some tweaking behind the scenes, Burke is a fan of the show’s new live voting system. The ABC star recently revealed she is in favor of the new twist that allows judges Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba, and Bruno Tonioli to “save” a worthy contestant who is in jeopardy of going home based on low scores and viewer votes.
The 28th season of Dancing with the Stars has already seen two contestants withdraw from the competition due to injury: Lewis and original contestant Christie Brinkley have both pulled out of the show. In addition, last week, music legend Mary Wilson was eliminated from the competition as a result of the new voting system.
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.