Cheryl Burke found one thing to be positive about after she and D.L. Hughley received a dismal score of 12 on last week's Dancing with the Stars premiere: There was no elimination. "Otherwise it would've been pretty obvious who was going home!" she tells TVGuide.com. "That would've been a really boring results show." The pair will get a shot to redeem themselves Monday (8/7c, ABC) with their quickstep, on which Burke says Hughley is "working really, really hard." So what went wrong with their cha-cha? And what does she think about that 12? Keep reading to find out.
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That 12 was kind of harsh.
Cheryl Burke: Yeah. We definitely weren't the best, but I thought the scores were definitely harsh.
What were you expecting? A 15 at least?
Burke: Probably one 5 and two 6s, or three 6s, based on how they were judging that night. I think a lot of people who got three 6s weren't much better than D.L. A lot of them were on the same level.
So what went wrong? Was it nerves? Being under-rehearsed?
Burke: The first three weeks were hard because he's still on tour. He's traveling every single week and I think in the beginning, he didn't really realize how much rehearsal time this takes. We honestly didn't rehearse that much the first three weeks, so I think his confidence just wasn't there and that also affected his performance. The judges said, "You need to rehearse more," so now he knows that he needs to put in the hours, which he's been doing this whole week. He's still on tour and goes on every night, but we rehearse every day during the day for five hours. ... We're really trying to put in the time and effort to come off better than last week. I think last week, D.L. really took a hard hit. He doesn't want to let his family and fans down. He wants to come back strong.
How was he feeling after the show? Did you have a pep talk?
Burke: Yeah. He felt humiliated. He felt that the judges were a little harsh and that they didn't really give him any constructive criticism. They did say it looked under-rehearsed, but basically they just said how horrible it was. They didn't really offer any encouraging words, so that was frustrating for him. My job is to keep his head up and to get him ready for this week and hopefully improve our scores. It was a wake-up and I told him we have another chance to prove ourselves.
How's the quickstep going?
Burke: He's loving it a lot better than the cha-cha, so hopefully we'll come out there and you'll see some improvement. I think he likes it because he doesn't have to move his hips. [Laughs] And he's stuck to me the whole dance, so I'll pull him back into place if anything goes wrong!
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Do you have a particular theme or anything? Or will it will be straightforward?
Burke: It's pretty straightforward, but he's with the judges in the beginning of our routine.
Trying to suck up to them?
Burke: Yeah, hopefully that will work! [Laughs]
What are his strengths and weaknesses so far?
Burke: With the quickstep, he actually got the choreography really fast, which is awesome. We started doing it to music [Friday]. He's struggling with really holding up his posture and his frame and making sure that he doesn't slouch. ... He definitely has rhythm. He has never danced before, so this is totally new to him. To let loose and really go out there and do something that he's not comfortable with is going to take some time to get the hang of it.
If you guys survive this week, you'll only have four days to learn the next dance. Is D.L. prepared for that?
Burke: I told him that. He definitely knows that there will be less time. He even asked me, "Should we start getting ready for the third dance?" I said, "We can't. They don't even give us the music until Tuesday nights, so if we're still in it, I have to choreograph and we start Wednesday morning." But he's definitely aware that it's only going to get harder from here on out, especially if we're lucky enough to make it far and then you'll have multiple dances a week.
What did you think of everyone else's performance?
Burke: I thought everyone was great. It was great to see new faces and people with no dance experience coming into the ballroom and dancing. That's what we missed last season with All-Stars. It's nice to have fresh faces, and the ratings were great, so it's nice that we're still going strong in Season 16. ... I thought it was hard [adding contemporary] because it's so foreign to so many of us. On top of that, you're doing lifts and tricks the first week. But it was nice to see. Some of my favorite routines were the contemporary ones last week. I think it was hard for the most part to choreograph and learn, but they all did great.
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Who do you think is your biggest competition now that you've seen everyone?
Burke: Uh, ourselves right now. [Laughs] We're trying to get better than the score we got and trying to get closer to somebody. We're in our own little category right now, so we need to step it up.
Last fall, there was some talk about you possibly being the new Bachelorette. What happened?
Burke: I was just meeting with people for different projects, but nothing was definite or anything. We'll see.
The Bachelor's on Dancing, so that's kind of close.
Burke: [Laughs] Exactly!
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