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Dancing with the Stars Tom Bergeron Ray Lewis Cheryl Burke ABC

When many viewers think about Dancing with the Stars, Cheryl Burke is undoubtedly one of the pro dancers that comes to mind. After all, Burke has been with the dancing competition on-and-off since nearly the beginning. Meanwhile, Tom Bergeron had been there since the get-go. So as you can imagine, Burke did feel “hurt” after hearing that Bergeron was getting replaced.

Ahead of its twenty-ninth season, Dancing with the Stars announced that it had let go of Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews his co-host since Season 18. The latter has already responded following her involuntary exit from Dancing with the Stars. Now, Cheryl Burke is opening up about waltzing into the next season without Bergeron, telling TV Insider:

My feelings on Tom have nothing to do with the show. Out of everybody, other than [co-executive producer] Deena Katz [and the judges], I’ve been on the show the longest. Tom is my family. I’m not going to lie and say, ‘Change is great!’ Let’s be real. This really hurt me. My heart dropped when I heard [Tom was leaving]. And I’m not one to be shocked about anything that happens on this show.

Let’s face it. Cheryl Burke knows her way around a ballroom bombshell. She and her celebrity partner, Fuller House’s Juan Pablo di Pace, were previously voted off of Dancing with the Stars despite perfect scores, and radio personality Bobby Bones and his pro partner, Sharna Burgess, ended up clinching the controversial victory.

Cheryl Burke has acknowledged that the move to replace Tom Bergeron hurt her, and she has remained in contact with him throughout the situation. She also shared insight into how much Bergeron has become a part of her family after working together on Dancing with the Stars throughout the past 14 years. On heading into the new season, Burke said:

I talk to Tom frequently. He was a part of my wedding. He’s my ‘Dance Dad.’ I know Tom would never tell me not to do the show. He and I share a language that needs no words. We’d always chat before the show. I’m really going to miss that. My heart still hurts. It’s weird not to hear his voice.

Cheryl Burke had been around to hear Tom Bergeron calling the show since she began as a professional dancer on Dancing with the Stars. Burke got her start way back in Season 2. She ended up winning the second season with her celebrity partner, Drew Lachey of 98 Degrees fame. Burke would leave and eventually return to the ballroom.

Last season, Cheryl Burke competed with NFL player Ray Lewis. Unfortunately for her and Lewis, they got forced to retire from the competition due to Lewis sustaining an injury, one of the many suffered during the injury-heavy season. Now, Burke is heading into Season 29 with Backstreet Boys singer AJ McLean and Tyra Banks as Dancing with the Starssole host.

Cheryl Burke is not letting her feelings over Tom Bergeron’s involuntary exit from Dancing with the Stars get in the way of her excitement to see what Tyra Banks does as the new host, though. This is a sentiment that was similarly expressed by new judge, Derek Hough, upon news of the switch-up. On her excitement to see Banks host, Burke said:

As far as Tyra goes, my feeling is good on her. She is going to kill it. She owns who she is as a person. It’s awesome that she’s the only host. She got that executive producer credit. Get it, girl! I’m so rooting for her.

Tyra Banks for the win! It won't be too much longer before Dancing with the Stars fans see Banks in action and it'll be exciting to finally get an idea of what she'll bring to the show. Burke and a pre-prepped Backstreet Boys’ AJ McLean will be among the many to show off their dance skills when Season 29 arrives.

You can watch Cheryl Burke waltz onto Dancing with the Stars with her celebrity partner when Season 29 premieres Monday, September 14, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. While you wait to return to the glitter and glory of the dancing competition, check out what other shows are set to tango onto this fall’s schedule.

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