About a month ago, the cast of Dancing With The Stars was released and it was revealed that two of the fan-favourite pros were not with the cast anymore. Artem Chigvintsev and Sharna Burgess were both cut from the professional staff, and they both had emotional goodbyes.
Burgess posted a lengthy message on Instagram to thank the show for her career.
♥️ As I’m sure you’ve heard, I will not be returning to @dancingabc this season. I am unbelievably sad to not be back!!! However, what i can whole heartedly tell you is that It’s all good, ALL love and in this moment I can’t help but be grateful for the time and the journey that I’ve had, the people I’ve met, the incredible talent I’ve shared the stage with and the memories I’ve made. To say the least.. it’s been epic.
♥️ and to have finally won still feels as exciting and special as it did the moment @tombergeron said our names. .After nearly 9 years I feel like I grew up on the show. I am going to truly miss creating, story telling and performing for you all, I’ll miss giving the transformative power of dance to the person in front of me, and I’ll miss seeing my Dwts family every day and watching them work their craft in ways that inspire me. Though nothing could ever replace my love for the show, there are things coming into my world that I’m excited to dive into now that I have time. Everything happens for a reason
♥️ you know me.. I’ll share when I can. I have endless love and gratitude for all of you and for everyone at the show. For my fellow pros you light up the stage time and time again, you are what makes the show magical and I can’t wait to watch you shine.
✨ And to all 12 of my partners... thank you thank you and I adore you. I’ll be watching and cheering this coming season for all of my fam out on that dance floor!!! Good luck everyone, may this be the best season yet! Let’s go season 28!!! 💋
Burgess, who won the show with celebrity partner Bobby Bones, opened up to Entertainment Tonight, about her exit, and admitted it was a surprise.
"I got the really super sad phone call that was a 'Is this real life?' moment for me," Burgess recalled. "I was driving on the freeway on my way to a meeting and I was chatting with our executive producer [Andrew Llinares], and I could hear it the moment he got on the phone, in his voice."
"It was the same day Artem got the phone call. We were within an hour of each other, and we were supposed to go into rehearsal for Good Morning America," she shared, adding that she was sure she would be part of the new season, "until this phone call happened."
"I could hear it in his voice from the moment the phone call started, and my adrenaline spiked," she continued. "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."
"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 explains. "But I've been sitting pretty comfortable for a while."
And did they give her a reason?
"Not beyond, 'We couldn't partner you up with anybody this season,'" she relays. "What's tough about hearing that is I've danced with everyone from Andy Dick to Bobby Bones to a Backstreet Boy, there is no type, and it has nothing to do with height and has nothing to do with anything [specific]. For whatever reason, the people in the room who decide who's on the cast felt that I wasn't what they wanted for this version of the show, and that is OK because the team in there has changed."
"Not everybody can love you, not everybody is going to vibe with you, maybe they don't want a redhead this season," she continues. "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. Who knows?"
"And it doesn't matter. It really doesn't matter. At the end of the day, I am never going to know the real reason behind it and, to be honest, it's irrelevant. It's happened, I'm here, I've been given an opportunity of 12 months of other adventures and who knows what's going to happen next year. Whether they want me back or don't, or is this the end, honestly I have no idea, that's their call."
There was some speculation that Burgess was let go because of her salary, but she says that's not the case.
"I was on par with people. Definitely not the most expensive, and certainly not by an amount that would break the show if they kept me."
"I'm equally as excited and terrified for all of the things that lie ahead for me," the dancer said. "I am currently adjusting to a new fall season."
Burgess is also performing in two musicals right now, The Storm and Esther: The Heart of a Queen, which are taking up a lot of her time.
"Both are trying to get to Broadway in the next couple of years," she says of her new projects. "They are just so wonderful in the fact that I am even asked to be their lead…Esther is a beautiful story taken from the Bible, but very much about female empowerment and this woman who becomes queen and loses herself. I resonate with that, being a country girl that fell into Hollywood and had to figure out that and now wants to do good with it."
The dancer also admitted that she wanted to be at the premiere of the new season of Dancing With The Stars, and she has no hard feelings.
“There is no animosity from me. There’s no shade,” she told ET. “There’s definitely sadness, yes, but that’s normal. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was sad. It would be terrible if I wasn’t sad actually. I want [be at the premiere], I’m hoping to, there is something else I may have to do, if I can get out in time, I will. If it’s not the premiere, I know Bobby [Bones] is going and I want to be there with him, but if I can’t do that, then it will be the following week.”
So what is Burgess going to miss the most about the show?
“Beyond missing my peers and everybody around me and us being in that space together I will miss that journey of getting to know the soul inside of the human in front of me, what they need, what they need from me, what kind of coach they need me to be and how I can take parts of their story and turn it into something inspirational for other people to witness and watch,” she revealed.
Burgess also didn't rule out a return to Dancing With The Stars this season, even if it's not as a professional.
“I would love to and I certainly wouldn’t say no to it either,” she says. “If it lines up for me and I can, I would love to go do a little performance for them or choreograph an opening number. I’m down to do all the things.”
Even though she's not holding a grudge against Dancing With The Stars, Burgess is still struggling with the network's decision.
“Nobody is saying it’s not going to be hard. You know, even walking into CBS Studios [where DWTS films] and driving into the lot, there is a loss there because it’s been a part of my life for so long,” she said. “But I can’t be selfish about that and I can’t wallow in that. I can only look at what this show has given me for the last eight and a half years. It’s given me a life I never could’ve imagined.”
That being said, Burgess has a message for all of the people who have been sending her supportive messages and their well-wishes.
"Thank you so much for all of the love, and the support, and the words of how much you miss me, and your defending me like my champions," she said. "It's been a beautiful eight and a half years of me being on this incredible show and getting to create, and no one has ever said if it's the end. And whether it is that I come back and do another season or not, I'm always going to be putting things out there for you guys."
"I love and appreciate you all so much," Burgess continued. "You're in my heart. I have a vested interest in you all and I'm trying to create things for you and to help affect change in this world, especially for women and that's all coming. And even though it hurts and I'm sad to be gone and it's a sore point, feeling the love and energy from all of you certainly does help and make it feel better, so thank you, thank you, thank you. I love you."
Personally I'm still upset that Burgess is gone. I thought she was an amazing pro and really brought a fun energy to the show.