Former Dancing With The Stars professional dancer Artem Chigvintsev said he does not plan to watch the show after learning at the last moment that he will not be taking part in Season 28. The 37-year-old dancer, who is now dating Nikki Bella, learned he would not be dancing for the mirror ball trophy again just days before the celebrity cast was revealed. He said he was "more than shocked" to learn he would not be on the show.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight last week, Chigvintsev said it has been "kind of hard to digest" leaving the show, since he has been part of it for so long.
"My goal for the last week has been just trying to come up with a future plan, coming up with ideas for what I want to do," Chigventsev explained. "But [it's hard] seeing what all my fellow pros are doing on social media. It's kind of like always in your face in a way, you know? It's like a reminder of what could have been, and what it is at the moment. So it's kind of a bittersweet feeling right now. I'm slowly getting used to the idea that there are other things in life, and other things I'd like to pursue."
Chigventsev said he learned he would not be on the show on Aug. 16, days before the celebrity cast was announced on Aug. 21. Sharna Burgess, who would have tried to defend her mirror ball title, is also sitting out this season.
Producers did not give Chigvintsev a good reason for leaving him off the roster. They gave him a "generic" reason, explaining none of the celebrity guests would have paired well with him.
"I was a bit... not hurt, but when I saw the cast, I was just like, OK, this really doesn't make any sense in my mind, but whatever, he explained. "I've had a pretty huge variety of people [as partners] who I've danced with, so I'm pretty sure that I could have worked with anybody on the show. It just felt like they could have done a little better [with an] excuse for why I'm not coming back."
Chigventsev said DWTS has a whole new producing team, so he is not sure if the door is open for him to come back. He is also "definitely" not planning on tuning in.
"Not because I'm not supporting the show or all the people who are there, but I think if I were to [watch], all of the feelings of not being there would just flood back," he said. "I might watch some clips on YouTube but I don't think I'll be tuning into every show, no. It's just simply, I think it's going to be a little hard right now. It'd be negative energy and I don't want to feel that; I'm just trying to find like a good place in my life right now, where I can concentrate on the positives."
The surprising decision to not include Burgess and Chigventsev this season is only one of the major controversies swirling around DWTS Season 28. The producers also chose to former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, which appears to go against the show's apolitical stance. Even co-host Tom Bergeron revealed he was opposed to picking Spicer, but he will still host the new season with Erin Andrews.
Chigventsev took part in Seasons 19 to 27 and was a member of the dance troupe for Season 18.
DWTS kicks off on Sept. 16 at 8 p.m. ET. For the first time in the show's history, fans will not learn who the remaining professional-celebrity pairings are until the show premieres.
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