Why Cheryl Burke and Sharna Burgess Should Have Been Invited To Len Goodman Tribute

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When former Dancing with the Stars head judge, Len Goodman, passed away in April 2023, everyone was shocked. Len retired from DWTS in November 2022. Pros and contestants wanted to hear those magic words, “From Len—the 10!” It also meant excellence. Len served as head judge on DWTS from 2005 until 2022. Fans and cast members were profoundly impacted by Len’s passing. The glittering Mirrorball trophy was renamed the Len Goodman Mirrorball Trophy, and the Len Goodman tribute on DWTS was truly moving.

A Fitting Tribute for a Legend

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Recently, the dance pros honored Len with a stunning performance. Host Julianne Hough joined the current DWTS cast of dancers. Her brother, judge Derek Hough, also danced.

Many past pros returned to the ballroom to dance in memory of Len. Although not everyone was invited.

Who Returned to the Ballroom One More Time for Len?

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Married DWTS pros Jenna Johnson and Val Chmerkovskiy choreographed a dreamy waltz. The piece was set to Moon River by Henry Mancini. It was one of Len’s favorite songs. The dancers faced Len’s empty chair, illuminated by a beam of light, at the end of the performance. The judges cried, as did most of the dancers.

Fans were delighted to see favorites from past seasons. Anna Trebunskaya, Edyta Sliwinska, Kym Johnson Herjavec, Karina Smirnoff, Maks Chmerkovskiy, Tony Dovolani, Louis van Amstel, and Mark Ballas all returned to the ballroom.

Although two former longtime pros were missing—Cheryl Burke and Sharna Burgess.

How Long Was Sharna on DWTS?

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During Season 16, Sharna became a pro on DWTS. She competed on the show for 14 seasons. According to Variety, Sharna sat out Season 31 after giving birth to her son. Then Sharna wasn’t invited back for Season 32.

“My last five years on the show have been rocky—not because of the show. I love the show deeply, but we had a new executive producer come in, I think five years ago now,” Sharna said. “I had just won with Bobby Bones and he decided to not bring me back.”

After missing one season, she returned for Season 29. Sharna was paired with actor Jesse Metcalfe. Unfortunately, the duo didn’t see eye to eye.

How Long Was Cheryl Part of DWTS?

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Cheryl competed in the ballroom for 26 seasons. She joined the series during its second season. The two-time Mirrorball champ hoped to transition into another position. Ideally, she hoped to join the judging panel. However, it didn’t work out.

Cheryl and Sharna Had Emotional Reactions To Being Excluded

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Cheryl responded to fans’ questions about Len’s tribute. “For those of you asking if I’ll be a part of Len Goodman’s tribute next week on DWTS, unfortunately, I wasn’t invited. However, I’ll be there in spirit and can’t wait to cheer my former colleagues on!” Cheryl wrote on Threads. “Sending love and light to everyone. #riplen.”

People reported that Sharna’s fiancé, Brian Austin Green, called out DWTS. He posted on Instagram, “I can’t begin to tell you how disappointed I was for @sharnaburgess to not be invited for the tribute last night.”

In the caption, Brian wrote, “She wasn’t even invited to sit in the stands and watch. Shame on that group of people. @cherylburke should have been there as well.” The post has been deleted.

Sharna shared her reaction on her Instagram Story. “The tribute was stunning and I cried watching. Tears of celebration and joy and gratitude for how much Len did for the ballroom and for all of our careers,” Sharna wrote. “The performance was perfect and classic and technically brilliant. Val and Jenna created magic and Len absolutely would’ve loved it,” she said.

“Remember 2 things can be true,” Sharna stated. “I can love and support the show, feel joy for those who were there, and also feel sad about me not being there.”

Cheryl Honored Len

Cheryl Burke/Instagram

Cheryl posted an emotional Instagram video to honor Len. “Even though I am not in the ballroom tonight, I still want to express how much Len Goodman meant to me and his influence on my competitive career even before Dancing with the Stars. There are not enough words to describe how he made such a huge impact on my life,” she said in part.

In conclusion, she added, “I would like to send my love to Mr. Len Goodman’s family. And love to all the pro dancers part of Len’s tribute. I know Len would give your performance an 11 if he could,” she added.

While still hurt, both Sharna and Cheryl praised their fellow dancers and honored Len. Very classy, ladies.

Why Were Sharna and Cheryl Excluded?

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Additionally, DWTS viewers want to know why Cheryl and Sharna weren’t invited to Len’s tribute. Maksim pointed out that Val and Jenna had no say in who would participate.

So, why weren’t Cheryl and Sharna included? Basically, “I think we all have a specific relationship with the show,” Maks stated. “I have a relationship with [the show] for 17 years now. We have our ups and downs, and we see eye to eye and then we don’t…The casting, the production, the musical direction.”

He continued, “We have a relationship with so many people in that place. So do Sharna and Cheryl and everybody else.” Maks hinted that the ladies were excluded because of behind-the-scenes drama.

Why Cheryl and Sharna Deserved To Be at the Tribute

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Both Sharna and Cheryl were part of DWTS for many years. Even if there were issues with production, Cheryl and Sharna should have been invited to Len’s tribute. That is probably what Len would have wanted.