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Exclusive: Cheryl Burke reveals disappointment with DWTS judges, and why an Ariana Madix win isn't on lock

The former Dancing with the Stars pro shared her season 32 takeaways ahead of the finale

Exclusive: Cheryl Burke reveals disappointment with DWTS judges, and why an Ariana Madix win isn't on lock
Beatriz Colon
Beatriz ColonOnline News WriterNew York
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There's only one episode left of Dancing with the Stars season 32, and Cheryl Burke is almost clear on what she wants out of the finale, both from dancers, judges, and even producers.

For her latest exclusive column with HELLO!, the former DWTS pro shares her week nine takeaways, from what she wanted to see more of to why this season is extra special.

Read on as she tells us who she thinks is "the best technical dancer" who might make for an upset against her finalist of choice, Ariana Madix, advice for the "special" cast, and what she thinks judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Derek Hough, and Bruno Tonioli, plus the show's producers, should have done more of.

WATCH: Meet the season 32 cast of Dancing with the Stars

Xochitl Gomez's first perfect score

What sealed the deal for me was the execution of such hard choreography. It was a great contrast to see her do the samba; I loved how she showcased not just the intricate steps, but the execution of them. I wanted to see more.

She is so expressive, and not just because of her facial expression. Her expression comes through her body, it comes through the fluidity, the way that she hears the music, and her trust in Val [Chmerkovskiy]. It's beautiful.

DANCING WITH THE STARS - "Whitney Houston Night - 3208"  The seven remaining couples are "Saving All Their Love" for the ballroom floor as they dance to hit songs from one of the bestselling music artists of all time, Whitney Houston. Making an appearance as guest judge is actor, singer and Whitney Houston superfan, Billy Porter on ABC. 
Ariana has been a fan favorite from the start

Ariana Madix should win, but who has made it a toss-up?

I always said I think Ariana and Pasha [Pashkov] deserve to win… But now I believe Xochitl and Val deserve to win. [Xochitl is] the best technical dancer, but it just depends on people at home voting. I believe that all five finalists in a way deserve to win.

MORE: Who is DWTS star Ariana Madix dating after Tom Sandoval, Vanderpump Rules bombshell? Meet her new beau

But at the end of the day, who has been the most vulnerable, who has shown their true selves without hiding behind the glitter and the glam? For me, that's Ariana. I think maybe she has that leg up because she's so used to reality television that all she knows is how to be her authentic self and that comes across on a show like this. She's not hiding behind anything. I believe Ariana will win.

Alyson Hannigan and Sasha Farber dance a contemporary routine© Getty
Alyson has defied her own expectations each week

What makes Alyson Hannigan the perfect underdog

We know she's happy to be there, she is the underdog, so I think there's no pressure, and sometimes people with no pressure end up doing really well on this show. It's not about how you start, it's how you finish.

MORE: Alyson Hannigan movies and TV shows: where you might know her from

I don't think Alyson's trying to win at this point. She already won. She made the finale, she didn't think she was going to make it to Taylor Swift night. I'm sure it's not easy, and I'm sure she rehearsed harder than anybody because it doesn't come [naturally.] But man has she definitely inspired millions of women around the United States for sure.

Carrie Ann, Derek and Bruno are the judges this season© Getty
Cheryl wants to see more feedback from the judges

Judges need to give more constructive criticism 

As the judges, [they] should be doing their job. It would be best if the judges gave more constructive criticism because they didn't do it with [Alyson and Sasha Farber] the previous week, either. Maybe it would have helped this week, to just give one or two pieces of feedback; I'm not asking for a lot, but they need feedback. 

[And] as a viewer, we need it too, like we need to hear [the judges'] expertise in this whole show. That's the job of the judge with the finale just one week away.

Julianne had trouble pronouncing Xotchil's name© Getty
The season finale airs December 5

What season 32 needed more of 

They need to show the struggle, the ups and downs. I need to see why Jason [Mraz] was about to throw in the towel, I would love to be on that journey with him.

It helps for people, everyday people, who feel like giving up to just know that, 'Don't give up, there's light at the end of the tunnel,' and that is so inspiring. That is more powerful than just pretending that Ariana didn't get injured. We need to see it all, that's part of what you sign up for.

Tony Dovolani, Cheryl Burke (second left), Mark Ballas, Emma Slater, Maksim Chmerkovsky and Sharna Burgess perform during season 18© Getty
Cheryl, pictured above on season 18, was part of 26 DWTS seasons

Final advice for the cast

You can tell that this cast has a great bond and connection and camaraderie, and I have to say, some seasons are not like that, it's superficial sometimes, but when it's special – like I'm feeling with this cast is special – enjoy this moment.

You guys are going to be long, long lasting friends. You've developed such a beautiful bond with one another, not just the partnerships but the cast in itself. Really take it all in and stay as present as possible.

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