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Does Dancing With The Stars Need To Change Its COVID Policy After Cody Rigsby And Cheryl's Burke's Britney Performance?

Cody Rigsby striking a pose
(Image credit: YouTube)

Warning! The following contains spoilers for Dancing with the Stars’ Season 30 episode “Britney Night.” Read at your own risk!

Dancing with the Stars hosted another week of performances, and there was plenty to be excited about on “Britney Night.” Unfortunately, the energy dipped well below what it should be on a night celebrating Britney Spears when Tyra Banks announced Cheryl Burke and Cody Rigsby were absent for yet another week. A plan to compensate for their absence ensured the two were a part of the action, but also showed the series might need to rethink its policy for how to keep stars in the competition despite positive COVID tests.

Last week, Cheryl Burke’s positive COVID test meant Dancing with the Stars had to use previously shot rehearsal footage for the judges and viewers to rate their performance. This week, ABC decided to mix things up and have Burke and Cody Rigsby perform live via webcam from their respective homes, and the result wasn’t quite the standard the fans may expect. Take a look at the performance below, which shows a good effort, but ultimately sloppy execution on all fronts.

Full credit to Cheryl Burke and Cody Rigsby for the attempt, especially under their circumstances, but the poorly synced dance between webcams just didn’t measure up to the DWTS standard. Frankly, many of the issues could have nothing to do with the dancers, but the technical limitations and way Dancing with the Stars presented it. The judges were unimpressed and gave them the lowest score of the night with an 18/30. Derek Hough was not present to judge, as he had been exposed to COVID recently. 

The two dancers were penalized heavily due to many circumstances beyond their control, but voters saved Cheryl Burke and Cody Rigsby all the same. Instead, Bling Empire star Christine Chiu was sent packing alongside partner Pasha Pashkov. Chiu and Pashkov had a much better score than Burke and Rigsby but went home all the same. 

It’s not the first time something like this has happened in Dancing with the Stars, but this elimination felt particularly egregious given just how jarring Cheryl Burke and Cody Rigsby’s performance was. I’m fine with the duo getting a pass until their recovery, especially if viewers are invested in saving them come hell or high water, but like Derek Hough, couldn’t we just let them have some time off?

Although Cheryl Burke and Cody Rigsby are talented, I’d much sooner see them on a dance floor when they’re healthy and not when they’re stuck at home. It may not be fair to let the two slide however many weeks and return without performing, but at the same time, was the scathing review of their at-home performance fair? I think the dancing from home is a nice attempt, but something that shouldn’t continue should future COVID-positive contestants have to do the same throughout the season. It’s not great television, judges don’t seem to like it, and audiences aren’t voting them out. What’s the harm with a brief break? 

Dancing with the Stars airs on ABC on Mondays at 8:00 p.m. ET. For more on the series, read up on what ABC executive Rob Mills had to say about the latest accusation about Olivia Jade.

Mick Joest

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.