On the October 24 episode of Dancing with the Stars, current and former cast members performed a moving tribute to Len Goodman, the show’s longtime head judge who passed away in April. Some viewers wondered about the apparent exclusion of past professionals Cheryl Burke and Sharna Burgess.
“For those of you asking if I’ll be a part of Len Goodman’s tribute next week on DWTS,” Cheryl wrote on Instagram, “unfortunately, I wasn’t invited. However, I’ll be there in spirit and can’t wait to cheer my former colleagues on!”
Sharna’s fiancé, Brian Austin Green, expressed similar dismay. “I can’t begin to tell you how disappointed I was for @sharnaburgess to not be invited to the tribute last night,” he posted on Instagram. “It’s disappointing as well that none of her ‘family in the ballroom’ stuck up for her or spoke out.” Past DWTS pro dancer Maks Chmerkovskiy spoke to The U.S. Sun about the dual exclusions.
Former DWTS pro Maks gives his opinion
“I’m not going to speculate on some personal things,” Maks said in response to the two uninvited dancers. “I’ve done enough stuff [in the past] to not be asked back … But I think we all have a specific relationship with the show … People have asked me that question a lot: ‘Do I feel some things are fair and just?'”
“I have a relationship with [the show] for 17 years now,” he continued. “We have our ups and downs, and we see eye to eye and then we don’t … The casting, the production, the musical direction … we have a relationship with so many people in that place. So do Sharna and Cheryl and everybody else.”
Though Maks seemed to say that Sharna and Cheryl’s omission from the tribute could have been due to the nature of their relationships with the producers and others behind the scenes, he made it clear that he actually has no inside information. He suggested that the only people who knew for sure were the production people and perhaps you should ask them.
Personally, Maks’ instinct was to just “have everybody back,” but that’s “just not possible.”
“Every one of us has a personal relationship with [the show],” he added, “and every one of us bases our feelings on that relationship. And those relationships are very different.”
Some fans hold Val Chmerkovskiy and his wife Jenna Johnson responsible for the perceived snub since they were the choreographers of the tribute. But Maks defended his brother by explaining the choreography process on DWTS.
“I can definitely say that we don’t get to pick who we get when we get to be choreographing,” Maks responded. “We are just told, ‘Here’s your cast, and here’s the song. And what’s your vision?'”
“We are all professionals,” he added, “so we just look at everybody as bodies, especially when we choreograph. We can’t really dwell on who ‘deserves’ what spot.”
Dancing with the Stars airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on ABC and Disney+.
TELL US – DO YOU THINK CHERYL AND SHARNA WERE PURPOSELY EXCLUDED FROM THE TRIBUTE?