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Exclusive: Xochitl Gomez deserved the Mirrorball Trophy but Jason Mraz was 'underscored' on Dancing with the Stars finale, says Cheryl Burke

Former DWTS professional Cheryl Burke closes out her season 32 column…

Cheryl's Pointe for Cheryl Burke's weekly Dancing with the Stars column for HELLO!
Rebecca Lewis
Rebecca Lewis - Los Angeles
ReporterLos Angeles
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Dancing with the Stars is over for another season - and former professional Cheryl Burke has some final thoughts to share about Xochitl Gomez's win, Charity Lawson's cheerleading, and Jason Mraz's skills. 

"It's been a pleasure, and I hope I've been able to give constructive criticism," says Cheryl, as her HELLO! column comes to a close. 

"I did get the three finalists correct from week one – Ariana Madix, Charity Lawson and Jason Mraz – and I can't believe I didn't include Xochitl Gomez in there but I am very happy for Xochiti, she was the clear winner. It was very well deserved; Xochiti and Val Chmerkovskiywere the most consistent out of every single couple throughout the whole season." 

Xochitl Gomez dances with professional Val© ABC
Xochitl Gomez dances with professional Val

Jason Mraz was 'impressive': 

Dancing with the Stars is about ballroom dancing, and although Lindy Hop is not ballroom, it is a lot about partnering and that was not easy what Jason and Daniella Karagagh did. It was pretty impressive with all the fast footwork, and Jason held his own. 

For me, what these two were so good at was doing these hard routines and making it look easy and flawless, and that's something that I feel like was underscored throughout the season. Their jazz routine when Paula Abdul was guest judging was underscored – none of what they've been doing is easy, it's just that it may look like that – to make it look that easy requires a lot of rehearsal and a lot of practice. 

Freestyle rounds: 

Charity Lawson’s Finale Freestyle – Dancing with the Stars

I know Conrad Green, the showrunner, has been very adamant about not including backup dancers until the freestyle round, and I remember back in the day when we would include backup dancers in every single round from week one and then it would be anticlimactic for the freestyle round for the finale, so I'm glad that he sticks to his guns when it comes to that. 

Every freestyle round was definitely on a whole other level which I really truly appreciated. 

Charity Lawson 'nailed' the redemption round:

Charity Lawson dances tango with partner Artem© ABC
Charity Lawson dances tango with partner Artem

Charity nailed that tango – it was the best of the redemption round. But there were a few weird call outs during the redemption round; Carrie Ann Inaba said that Charity and Artem Chigvintsev had a misstep, and I didn't see that but I did see a misstep with Xochitl, but it's a live show and sometimes they see stuff, sometimes they don't but I agree with judge Derek Hough that Charity's tango was definitely the best dance of that round. 

But although Charity's cheerleading was super impressive for freestyle, I wish that it would have been more focused on Artem and Charity as a couple. It was too much of just Charity and cheerleading, and something that she's done before. 

Dancing with the Stars season 32 cast camaraderie: 

Dancing with the stars
DWTS season 32 was beloved by fans

Every season has its own unique spin to it but you can tell just that with this season, the camaraderie between the cast and the crew and the pro dancers was so spot on. 

ABC did such a great job with casting this season, and the partnerships, making it a strong season and a strong finale. 

The importance of professionals stepping up: 

Pasha Pashkov was insane [during the freestyle with Ariana]. Pasha really stepped out of his comfort zone and not only did he step out of his comfort zone, but he looked amazing. 

Ariana Madix’s Finale Freestyle – Dancing with the Stars

I love when the pros also challenge themselves to showcase their celebrities and that's what this is about – it's not Dancing with the Pros, it's Dancing with the Stars.

 For me, doing, 'Save a Horse Ride A Cowboy,' back in season two with Drew Lachey put me out of my comfort zone, and it was out of the show's comfort zone, and the same thing with 'Can't Touch This,' with Emmett Smith – I'm not a hip hop dancer but you do whatever you need to do to showcase your celebrity. 

Cheryl's favorite moment: 

Watch the Len Goodman tribute on Dancing With The Stars

My favorite dance is still the Len Goodman tribute in week five, that was so memorable and still touching to this day, and I'm just happy that they honored Len at the end of the finale, saying, 'In memory of Len Goodman.' 

I am such a fan of Dancing with the Stars, and I always will be, and I know maybe I have ruffled a few feathers but at the end of the day, I mean well. I'm not trying to hurt anybody, I'm just trying to give my own expertise on what I've studied and have competed for in my whole life, and have done so against Derek and against Julianne Hough and against Mark Ballas, against Val. 

Terrell Owens and Cheryl Burke were partners in 2017© Eric McCandless
Terrell Owens and Cheryl Burke were partners in 2017

We all come from the same world and just because I'm not part of the show that doesn't mean that I don't still watch the show and that I don't still have my own opinions. 

Whether or not I'm a judge is irrelevant, I still have an opinion just like everybody else, and no matter what I hope we can all look beyond know that my intentions are just pure and they're always with love and with kindness.