Dancing With The Stars’ Derek Hough, Jenna Johnson And More React After Cheryl Burke Announces She’s Leaving The Show

Dancing with the Stars fans only just learned that longtime judge Len Goodman will leave the show at the end of its latest season but, now, another big name tied to the series is exiting as well. Pro dancer Cheryl Burke will depart after 26 seasons on the reality dancing competition, and Derek Hough, Jenna Johnson, and many others shared their thoughts on social media regarding how they feel about that massive news.  

Cheryl Burke is a Dancing with the Stars legend, to put it quite simply, so it’s no surprise that many notable series alums had things to say in the comments of her Instagram announcement. Judge Derek Hough was quick to share thanks for all her years of service, and wish her well on what’s ahead in the future:

It’s been a wild ride 🕺🏼 So proud of all you have achieved and overcome. Forever left your mark on DWTS. It’s been a pleasure. BL 😉

DWTS pro Jenna Johnson, who's been sitting out the show's first season on Disney+ due to her pregnancy by husband and fellow pro Val Chmerkovskiy, kept her message short and sweet: 

The OG ♥️

The Season 31 finale was already primed to be an emotional one with Len Goodman’s exit and actress Selma Blair returning for a dance after gracefully bowing out early, and it'll be even more sentimental now due to Cheryl Burke’s news. Veteran Daniella Karagach might shed a tear or two during the big night, based on the response she shared:

I’m not ready 😭😭😭 love you so much @cherylburke 🥺💜

Gleb Savchenko is likely very busy practicing dance routines with Shangela ahead of Season 31's final episode, but he found time to honor Cheryl Burke with a simple yet lovely sentiment:

Love you @cherylburke ❤️

Fitness trainer Cody Rigsby, who came in third place with Cheryl Burke in Season 30, spent a good deal of time with her as they battled COVID and experienced other setbacks on DWTS during that season. Rigsby left a brief message for Burke that sweetly referenced their time on the show:

Love you boo. What an incredible journey. So proud to be part of your story.

Perhaps the most heartfelt words amongst the comments came from former Dancing With The Stars winner and Olympian Kristi Yamaguchi. Yamaguchi, who won Season 6 with pro Mark Ballas, had quite a bit to say to Burke: 

@cherylburke thank YOU for the countless awe-inspiring moments on the dance floor and off as a friend. You set the bar awfully high and raised the game on DWTS. I will miss watching you dance and but hoping we will still see you create and choreograph (or judge:-) I know your strength and passion and compassion will serve you well in this next chapter. Love you and enjoy every second of your special farewell. ❌⭕️❌⭕️😘

It’s worth noting that Cheryl Burke mentioned to Variety that she campaigned for Len Goodman’s soon-to-be vacant judge spot but does not know whether or not she’ll get the job. CinemaBlend recently spoke to Val Chmerkovskiy and asked him if he’d take the DWTS judge's position if asked, but he noted he still felt he had years of dancing left to do. Burke, on the other hand, is ready for the next chapter, as she noted in her emotional message to the fans: 

A post shared by Cheryl Burke (@cherylburke) (opens in new tab)

A photo posted by on

Given that the long-running show will be in the market for a new judge after this season ends, one has to wonder if the producers will tap one of their current or former dancers for the role, or perhaps look elsewhere to bring in their first full-time judge since Derek Hough. Regardless of that though, let's wish Cheryl Burke nothing but the best, as she prepares for the next stage in her career.

Anyone with a Disney+ subscription can tune into to see the star say goodbye when the finale airs on Monday, November 21st at 8:00 p.m. ET. Plus, they’ll get to see what might be one of the most competitive finales that the series has delivered in quite some time, so it should be an exciting night.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.