Dancing With the Stars Season 16 kicked off 2013 with the introduction of three new dance pros, including Sharna Burgess, a former troupe member who's now paired with Andy Dick. What did this new pro think of her first week, and the judges' harsh comments towards her star?
Wetpaint Entertainment recently chatted with Sharna, who candidly opened up about working with Andy, her experience as a pro, her disappointment in their scores, and more. In Part 1 of our interview, she explains her mixed feelings about the judges' comments, why she wishes Contemporary and Jazz hadn't been included in Week 1, and what we can expect from Andy tonight.
Wetpaint Entertainment: How do you think Andy did in the first week?
Sharna Burgess: I feel like Andy did amazing. I was so proud of him. He was a ball of nerves. First show jitters — you don't know how it's going to feel, you don't know what's going to happen. I was so, so pleased. He did everything right. A little rough? Yes, of course. But I think everybody — or most people — had a little hiccup or something wasn't quite as smooth as rehearsal, because it was the first show. I couldn't have been happier with him.
As far as our scores and our comments, I was a little disappointed. I feel like in comparison to the other Foxtrots he was no better and no worse; I felt like we were all very much in the same boat. For Len to turn around and give [Andy] the RoboCop comment, and mark him down to a five, one point above D.L. [Hughley], I thought, "Oh, that's a shame." I really thought he would have deserved the three sixes. Or, in my book, I thought he would have deserved sevens. It's a shame. But hopefully in Week 2 we can turn it around.
You already answered our next question! We did think Andy's scores were lower than he deserved.
I think a lot of people feel the same way. In many ways, it's fine. I also respect what the judges said. What they said is true. Yes, rough. Yes, pancake hands. Those things are true. I just felt we were scored a little harshly in comparison to others. But they are three people in the 17 million viewers who tuned in. Hopefully Andy's fans will rally behind him.
Along with giving you a low score, the judges were pretty harsh with their comments, both to Andy and to others. Do you think they took the snarky barbs a bit far for Week 1, or were they just doing what they do?
I don't know. Is it one of those things where you say, "Oh, first week, why would you be so harsh?" or do you turn around and say you appreciate their honesty if that's how they really feel?
I think some of the way things were said ... The "ugly duckling" comment, which I feel has been taken out of context. I think [Carrie Ann] meant that [Andy's] dancing has blossomed, not him, but I feel like it was just said sort of the wrong way. The RoboCop comment, I feel like he was no more stiff than other people in the competition that had done the Foxtrot. As far as calling him Woody Allen doing a Foxtrot around the floor — he's a comedian! I feel like he was not trying to be funny. He was being very debonair. It seems like an obvious comment to make. So, I don't think the judges actually saw what was in front of them, to be honest, when it came to Andy.
I do feel like they were quite harsh to some other people. At the end of the day, it's controversy, and what they were saying was true. So, I guess you can't really go against it.
How's rehearsal going for Week 2?
It has been incredible. Andy has been night and day in rehearsal. Now he knows what to expect, he knows what the floor is like, where the cameras are. He's just so much more comfortable. He's a different person in that rehearsal room. He's pushing himself even more, he's even more motivated. He's learning even faster. I'm in shock, and I'm amazed.
I truly had a baby steps Jazz routine ready for him. On the first day he pretty much learned the whole thing, so I said to him, when we come in tomorrow, this is going to change a little bit. I need to up the ante on this, now. You're doing all of this on the first go. That means to me, it's not difficult enough.
Yeah. He was super excited to hear that. It's been wonderful. I'm throwing in some great choreography, some tricks, even some pirouettes. I think everyone's going to love what's going on.
You said you have Jazz this week. What do you think of the inclusion of Contemporary and Jazz in the first two weeks?
I was shocked. I think a lot of people were. My opinion is, for Dancing With the Stars, which is predominantly a ballroom show, I would love to see everyone do ballroom on the first week out. I love Jazz and Contemporary. I think it's wonderful that we have them in the competition now. I just think they belong a little later. Give it around a Week 5 or Week 6. Even a Week 4. But Week 1? You really want to see how everyone's ballroom training is going, because that's what this competition is about.
For more from Sharna, come back tomorrow for the rest of our interview, where she talks about Andy Dick's redemption, their biggest competition, and what it's like to be a new pro.
You can follow Sharna on Twitter @SharnaBurgess. And, of course, tune in to DWTS tonight at 8 p.m. ET/PT to watch Sharna and Andy tackle Jazz.
Rebecca Martin is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @BeccaDMartin.