'Dancing With the Stars' Winner Bobby Bones Feared He Was Why Pro Sharna Burgess Was Cut

After learning that his former pro partner Sharna Burgess wouldn't be returning to the Dancing With the Stars ballroom for Season 28, reigning Mirrorball Trophy champ Bobby Bones made sure to ask if it was his controversial win that caused his pal to be cut from the roster alongside fan favorite pro Artem Chigvintsev. In a new interview with Entertainment Tonight, the Bobby Bones Show host revealed he was "shocked" to learn Burgess wouldn't be back in the ballroom this season.

"As a dancer, you kind of report and meet your partner [beforehand]," Bones told the outlet. "So I hit her up three or four days before and said, 'Hey, who's your partner?' and she said, 'I don't know.' The next day she hit me up and was like, 'I don't have a partner. They didn't ask me to come back.' I was shocked, she was shocked. It was really close to the show and then we saw Artem didn't get asked back as well."

"I think all of us were a little stunned by it," he continued. "Now why [she was cut], I don't really know. I don't even know if they've told her. She had been there the longest and was one of the more popular ones, so it could have been a budget thing. I'm not really quite sure how that happened but everyone was shocked by it."

Bones was initially concerned it could have been his win, which angered many DWTS fans as he took out contestants such as Juan Pablo Di Pace and Milo Manheim who had earned consistently higher scores than him throughout the season. But after being invited back to the DWTS premiere and reaching out to the network, Bones was reassured he had nothing to do with Burgess' exit.

"Well, I'm going back next week and Artem didn't get cut because of any backlash, so it really had nothing to do with that," Bones said. "I actually called and asked them. Like, 'Hey!' But actually, they were able to use our win to get celebrities this season. If anything, the network, to me, was like, 'We're really happy you won because we were able to reach out to people who would have never come on the show because they couldn't dance. And we were able to go, 'Hey, here's a guy who couldn't dance and won.'"

As for his legacy winning with heart over dance prowess, Bones attested, "I have a humongous mirrorball in my living room that I look at and kiss every night before I go to bed. If anything, I think me winning last year showed a lot of people and celebrities that you don't have to be a great dancer to win. You have to learn how to dance, but you also have to be great at engaging with the audience."

"The backlash we still get is only from the people who are way too obsessed with that show," he continued. "The hardcore Dancing With the Stars people, they need to get over it. Everybody else, all my people and the silent majority, we're in it together. We rock! They all need to shut up."

Burgess herself has addressed being cut on Instagram, revealing she was "unbelievably sad" not to 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 (sic)," she wrote. "To say the least.. it’s been epic."

She continued, "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."

"I have endless love and gratitude for all of you and for everyone at the show," she concluded. "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!!!"

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Dancing With the Stars Season 28 premieres Monday, Sept. 16 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Photo credit: ABC/Eric McCandless

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