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Dancing With The Stars

Dancing With the Stars 2013 Pro Cheryl Burke on D.L. Hughley’s Biggest Challenge — Exclusive

Dancing With the Stars 2013 pro Cheryl Burke isn't used to hanging up her dance shoes so early in the season, but if she and her celeb partner D.L. Hughley didn't secure enough votes in tonight's DWTS Results Show, we could be saying goodbye to one of our favorite pros much sooner than we would have liked.

However, Cheryl isn't ready for D.L.'s journey to end. After all, he only just started getting the hang of things! “D.L. has never moved the way I’m forcing his body to move," Cheryl told Wetpaint Entertainment while promoting her favorite on-the-go snack, Sargento cheese. "For D.L., it’s all about his movement. I’m going to really try and make him look graceful." Hopefully, if D.L. and Cheryl are back for Week 3, we can really see how graceful Boogie Fantastic can be.

Check out what Cheryl had to say about D.L.'s chances, his biggest competition and a Maksim Chmerkovskiy-less season below!

Wetpaint Entertainment: There’s a lot of new pros this season. As a pro who’s been there for awhile, is it exciting for you?

It is exciting! It’s nice to see fresh faces who are so enthusiastic and so happy to be here. It’s great because you see different chemistry and new energy on the dance floor. It’s sort of like a fresh start for the series.

However, one pro that isn’t on this season is Maksim Chmerkovskiy. Do you miss his energy on the dance floor?

Of course I’ll miss him! We’re really good friends, and it’s not like now that he’s off the show we’re not going to talk anymore. We’ve been friends for so many years. I think his fans are really going to miss him. He definitely had a spark that you can’t replace. But we’re also going to miss Anna and Chelsie and Louis. It’s hard because we all came into this show together as kids — we basically grew up together on the show — so it’s always hard to not see someone come back.

It looks like the producers really want a more light-hearted season this year. How do you feel about that?

I absolutely agree. I think last season was way too competitive. The dance ability was pretty amazing, but the reason why people loved the show back in the day was because of how light-hearted and fun it was. It is a competitive dance show, but at the same time, we’re training people with no dance experience! We want people’s personalities to shine. We all want feel-good television.

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I’m excited for that as well! Now, what’s going to be D.L.’s biggest hurdle this season?

For D.L., it’s all about his movement. I’m going to really try and make him look graceful. He definitely has rhythm and musicality, but he needs to really work on his posture and try and develop a discipline in his body for dance.

As a professional dancer on the show, do you want the contestant that starts off really strong, or do you prefer someone who has a lot of room for growth?

I love the challenge of having no expectations. I love being the underdog, and I love having someone with no dance experience. The challenge for me is to get them to move and to look like a dancer. I don’t think anyone thought Emmitt [Smith] was going to be as good as he was. He was one of the very first football players on the show, so it was nice that we were the underdogs, and he slowly got better. Obviously, it’s nice to have a great dancer. But then all the pressure is on you, and every week you have to come up with something better than you did last week. With William [Levy], he was obviously an amazing dancer from Week 1, but then the pressure got to him by Week 4 and Week 5. It wasn’t consistent. I’d rather stay in the middle of the pack.

I think we saw that a lot with Rob Kardashian. He started off kind of weak, but then he made it to the finals.

Well, he had a goal! He wanted to beat his sister Kim Kardashian, so once he got past Week 3, he really kicked it up a notch. He put so much stress on himself to beat Kim, which in turn, made him really anxious of failing. But once he beat her, he just started to have fun with it, which is really the best piece of advice I can give as a pro. He accomplished his goal, so it motivated him to work hard and have fun do it.

Who do you think is the one to beat on Season 16?

I think Zendaya, the Disney girl, is going to be great. She has has dance experience, so I’m sure she’s going to be pretty amazing. Aly Raisman will do well too.

I know you recently said you’d love an all-athlete season. That sounds super intense.

Yeah, I think it would be, but in a fun way! Even the fans would get really intense. I mean, you never really see an athlete go the first few weeks because their fan bases are so huge. They’re disciplined and so athletic, so I think having an all-athlete show would make it even more competitive, and you’d get to see us really bring it as pros. Maybe they’ll consider it for next season!

You can follow Cheryl on Twitter @CherylBurke. And, of course, tune in to DWTS tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT to see who goes home. Do you think it will be D.L.? Sound off in the comments!