Dancing With the Stars Season 16 kicked off 2013 with the introduction of three new dance pros, including Sharna Burgess. For her first season out Sharna was handed the mixed blessing of being paired with Andy Dick, a performer with huge name recognition, but a lot of baggage.
What does she think of her controversial partner, and how has he quickly become one of the most entertaining performers of the season? Wetpaint Entertainment recently chatted with Sharna, and in the second part of our interview with her — get part one here — she gave us the scoop on what Andy's really like, and why she hopes he'll go far in the competition.
Wetpaint Entertainment: You're paired with Andy Dick, who is both one of the most famous and one of the most controversial contestants on Season 16.
Sharna Burgess: Absolutely.
What was your thought when you found out who you were paired with?
It's funny, because I didn't actually know about Andy's "antics," and his history. I knew about his career, and his TV shows and movies and roles that he'd done. So I was super excited to meet this really funny guy. And then, in the few days afterwards, and after meeting him, people were like, "Oh, Andy Dick. Did you hear about this story, or when he did this..."
I was really shocked at some of the things that I was hearing. Of course, when we had our first meet, he was very open and very honest, he expressed a lot of pain and a lot of regret about the things that he'd done. So it was a shock to me that he has that history. Because he's such a sweet, down to earth person. The guy that he is now, I wouldn't imagine that those things are a part of his past.
That's already coming through on the show. We've seen a lot of fans commenting that they didn't expect to like him, but they ended up impressed by his attitude.
Yeah. He's showing people who he really is, and people are thankfully open to accepting that there were mistakes that he's made, and that people can change. That's such a wonderful thing, because it's frightening to bare everything on national television at the risk of being ridiculed and having people say, "No, I don't want anything to do with you because of your history." He's a very brave man, and I'm so happy that he's being welcomed with open arms.
What do you think Andy's biggest strength in this competition is, and what's his biggest weakness?
I would say Andy's biggest weakness is his own fear. He can frighten himself into inaction. However, since we had a breakdown, so to speak, in our first 10 days of rehearsals, he has been like night and day. He's been focused, and retaining choreography. He's learning so fast and he's ready to go. I could not ask for anything more in a student.
I think his biggest strength is his redemption story. Is the fact that he's changed, is the fact that he's so hungry and wanting to show everybody that he is a good person. I think that's what's driving him. I feel like that's what's going to get him through the hard weeks. He has a very serious and powerful motivation behind him.
What do you think the hardest dance for Andy is going to be?
When it comes to the ballroom categories I'm going to say Rumba, because it's so slow, and so technical about those straight legs and fluidity. If we bring in other dances, Argentine Tango. Just the lifts. It's a very dynamic, very powerful dance with a lot of lifting going on, usually. And we haven't really found what lifts suit us, yet. But really, overall, it would be the Rumba.
[Andy's] actually quite strong at the things in frame. When I look at our [Week 1] number, you can really see that he almost dances better in hold than he does when he's on his own. So I think that the ballroom dances are actually going to be his best. The Waltzes, the Quicksteps, the Tangos. I think they're going to be his best.
Interesting. A lot of the time it's the opposite — stars struggle to stay in hold properly.
Absolutely! For most people I think it takes them out of their dancing. They're so close to someone, they think they're going to step on their toes, they'll fall over, or whatever it is. But for some reason Andy handles that beautifully. He holds his frame and he does really well.
For more from Sharna, check out part one of our interview, and come back tomorrow for the final installment, where she dishes on what it's like to be a new pro and what she thinks of the competition.
You can follow Sharna on Twitter @SharnaBurgess. And, of course, tune in to DWTS tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT to see who goes home.
Rebecca Martin is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @BeccaDMartin.