Cheryl Burke: ‘DWTS’ Judges Were ‘Harsh’ Amid COVID-19 Recovery

Out of step! Cheryl Burke is calling out the Dancing With the Stars judges for being “pretty harsh” on them amid their recovery from COVID-19.

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Burke, 37, and her partner Cody Rigsby returned to the ballroom on Monday, October 11, for the Disney-themed week after they both tested positive for the coronavirus and were forced to isolate earlier this month. However, the dancing pro didn’t feel all that welcomed back by the judges a week after she and Rigsby, 34, performed for heroes night.

“I think that last night they were pretty harsh, to be quite honest,” she told Us Weekly and other reporters on Tuesday, October 12, admitting that while she “understands that this is a competition,” she wished that the judges “put everything into perspective.”

After being diagnosed with an outbreak infection of the coronavirus, Rigsby said his health is nearly a hundred percent, but the jive is an athletic dance that requires a lot of stamina. “I remember my lungs just being, like, a little on fire,” he told Us on Tuesday night. “So, you know, there’s still [some] effects from COVID a little bit.”

Dealing with the aftermath of the coronavirus meant he and Burke had only two days to learn their two routines — much less than their competitors. “We basically only had, like, five to six hours a day to really be able to get something done,” the two-time mirrorball trophy winner added.

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That being said, Rigsby admitted that, unlike the previous night, the judges “finally acknowledged” what the pair had been dealing with after testing positive for the coronavirus after their villains dance.

“They gave us a lot of fair, constructive feedback,” the Peloton trainer said of Tuesday’s comments. “There were a few missteps with the footwork … So, nerves kind of got the best of me.”

Despite the miscues in their performances, he was happy to hear their names called as safe during the elimination episode on Tuesday.

“This feels like an inflection point,” he told Us following the result shows. “We’ve been through this COVID situation and we’re finally getting a fair shot at it just like all of the other competitors in the ballroom.”

On October 4, the pair admitted that they were “hurt” to see such low scores for their virtual dance during the Britney Spears-themed week. The judges gave them an 18 out of 30 for their jazz routine performed remotely and separately, which Burke found disheartening.

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“It would have been nice — I could have accepted the sixes if they could have at least acknowledged what was done, what was being done here, you know,” she told Us at the time.

Dancing With the Stars airs on ABC Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET.

Reporting by Emily Longretta

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