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Exclusive: Cheryl Burke praises 'beautiful' Len Goodman tribute on DWTS after being omitted from group dance

Cheryl's Pointe for Cheryl Burke's weekly Dancing with the Stars column for HELLO!
Rebecca Lewis
Rebecca LewisReporterLos Angeles
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Dancing with the Stars week five was a highly emotional one, as judge Derek Hough, host Julianne Hough and eight former professionals returned to the dance floor for a tribute to Len Goodman, who passed away in April 2023. 

"It was a beautiful tribute, Len was definitely there in the ballroom," writes Cheryl Burke, a former professional on the hit ABC show for this week's column for HELLO! 

But she admits that the decision by producers not to invite her to take part left her "feeling sad honestly". 

Len Goodman announced his retirement from DWTS after season 31© Getty Images
Len Goodman announced his retirement from DWTS after season 31

"I do wish I was there. I wish anyone who's ever been a part of the show was there."

Here, she also shares her thoughts on the first tens of the season, and that surprising exit…

First 10s of the season:

Charity and Artem dance on the DWTS dancefloor© Eric McCandless
Charity and Artem received the first 10s of the season

I think Charity Lawson definitely deserved the first ten of the season, she really came out and showed growth, and had so much emotion behind her movement. Her contemporary routine was powerful and if she continues on this path, she's only going to get better and become unstoppable. 

For Xochitl Gomez - I know that Xochitl is amazing but I wanted to see improvement. 

Does she deserve a ten compared to everybody else? Yes. But did she deserve a ten for her potential? No, I don't agree that she did. 

Maybe the routines need to be harder for her, but I think I want more of a journey for her – if you're always consistently great, where does that leave room for improvement? But good luck and congratulations to her. 

A shocking exit: 

I was very surprised to see Mira Sorvino leaving, and I also think she was surprised herself as she should have been; she's not the worst dancer. 

Mira and Gleb were sent home on DWTS© Christopher Willard
Mira and Gleb were sent home on DWTS

But as we know, it is a dance competition and I'm not so sure I love that she had her moment with her daughter. It was beautiful but I think in a way, her daughter, unintentionally, overshadowed her and we didn't really see Mira. 

But I'm glad that she could leave Dancing with the Stars having done that with her daughter. 

The difficulty of opening up on DWTS: 

Ariana Madix and Charity have really opened up personally through their dance this season – and more so Charity as the weeks go on because Ariana has always been open, that first week tango is still the best dance that she's given us but week five was a close second place. 

Ariana Madixs Most Memorable Year Viennese Waltz Dancing with the Stars

You can't beat when you have a great partnership like Ariana and Pasha Pashkov, and they use the benefits of ballroom to their advantage but now I would like to see more content with them. 

I love how strict Artem Chigvintsev was with Charity in the dance rehearsal though – that is how a pro gets their dancer to open up. Artem isn't one to be bossy, but it really worked. Maybe he needed to get her angry, and nit pick with her in order for her to go out there and give us what we got. 

What Rylee Arnold can do to help Harry Jowsey: 

Harry and Rylee perform  a contemporary routine on DWTS© Christopher Willard
Harry and Rylee perform a contemporary routine on DWTS

The beginning of Harry and Rylee's contemporary routine looked awkward, so I would tell them, 'Don't just put in steps because you feel the need to put in steps.'

It's like test driving a car; you've got to test drive your student a little bit and figure out quickly what looks good and what doesn't. 

What is good about Harry though is he is a great partner to Rylee – and I've always said you're still dancing even if you're not moving your feet. The hardest form of dancing is to dance in stillness, to be able to support and have your rib cage open, your chin up and looking the part. 

Harry reminds me of Rob Kardashian. I would play a game called Copy Me and ask Rob, 'When you think of Pasa Dobles which pro male dancer do you think of? I personally think of Val, so how would you dance like Val?' It forces them to really get into character. 

Harry needs to really own whatever it is he's putting out there. There is a sense of trust and bond between Harry and Rylee, but now he needs to trust himself. 

Harry Jowseys Most Memorable Year Contemporary Dancing with the Stars

Alyson Hannigan needs to take a risk:

I need Alyson to not play it safe. The risk is rewarding. Her professional partner Sasha Farber could really take what Pasha has done with Ariana when it comes to risk – and Pasha could also look at Sasha's routine and create content for Ariana. 

Jason's quickstep was also disappointing because his frame was so much stronger, but they were barely in it. It was just a section that was in frame – a few eights and then a few eights apart and they repeated that about four or five times. 

If Len was there, he would not give it a 10 because of how many times they broke hold, and it's not necessary with someone like Jason. 

Emma Slater makes Mauricio Umanksy a better dancer:

Mauricio and Emma performed better than expected. He was a great partner for her and she obviously feels really safe with Mauricio because she had a lot of risk steps in the choreography. This is a couple who just look so great together, and Emma made him look good and she's really transformed him so good on them. 

The Len Goodman tribute:

Most Memorable Year - Len Goodman Tribute | Dancing with the Stars

I loved the Len Goodman tribute. It made me emotional, it was a beautiful tribute, Len was definitely there in the ballroom. I would have liked to see more close ups of the OG pros dancing because you want to see their faces; I understand the dance is tricky to shoot so a lot of it was a wide shot. 

But I love these numbers; back in the day we would perform big waltzes with a group of dancers, and it was so powerful. But I think the producers think that we're getting bored as audience members of ballroom but there's nothing like seeing authentic ballroom dancing. 

It is a powerful thing, and that's what makes this show so amazing is that we're doing proper ballroom dancing with expert ballroom dancers.

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