'Dancing With the Stars' Pro Cheryl Burke Criticizes Series' Changes From UK Original

Dancing With the Stars pro Cheryl Burke, who is paired with Peloton instructor Cody Rigsby in Season 30, would love to see the show go back to its roots by embracing some of the things Strictly Come Dancing still does. The longest-serving pro dancer in DWTS history is calling on producers to bring back dances featuring the pros. DWTS eliminated the dance troupe following Season 27, although the show did hire two extra pros for Season 30 to contribute as background dancers.

In a new interview with Hello Magazine, Burke said DWTS should "take a few notes from" the original U.K. series it is based on. "I love that they still have professional numbers, it's vital," she said, noting that they give the pros a chance to show off their ballroom skills. "At the end of the day it's a ballroom dance show and you want to use your talent to the best of their ability," Burke, 37, said. "There is a way to do it, the U.K. pre-tapes so why can't we start pre-production early?"

Strictly Come Dancing still opens with a professional number that follows that week's theme. DWTS used to do something similar, but that was dropped in favor of pre-taped sketches like the cast's trip to Disneyland before "Disney Week." Before Season 28 started in 2019, DWTS producers dropped the dance troupe. For Season 30, producers hired Sofia Ghavami and Ezra Sosa as two extra pros to perform as background dancers or fill in if any pro is injured.

Burke, who has participated in 23 DWTS seasons, will be back on the dancefloor Monday night with Rigsby to dance to "We Go Together" from Grease. They couldn't perform live during week two after Burke tested positive for a breakthrough case of COVID-19, so the judges based their score on rehearsal footage. For Britney Spears night, the two danced from their homes, as Rigsby also tested positive. They finally performed in the ballroom this week during the two "Disney Week" episodes.

Burke is still feeling the effects of the virus, especially when she tries to rehearse faster numbers. "When people say they are fatigued or have brain fog, it's a real thing," she told Hello. "It just felt like the first stages of the flu and it turned into losing my taste and smell which soon came back - but it was once I started getting my heart rate up, that's when I could feel [the COVID effects]." DWTS airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.