Dancing With the Stars Season 16 kicked off 2013 with the introduction of three new dance pros, including former DWTS troupe member Sharna Burgess, who is paired with Andy Dick. So, what's it like to be the new kid on the block?
Wetpaint Entertainment recently chatted with Sharna, and in this final part of our interview with her — get parts one here and two here — she gave us the scoop on what it's like to be a pro, and who she thinks the Season 16 frontrunners are.
Wetpaint Entertainment: What were you doing when you found out you'd been made a pro, and how did you feel?
Sharna Burgess: I was actually on my way to a dance studio to give a private lesson. It was two days before everyone was meeting their celebrities, so I really thought it wasn't happening this season, so I kind of let it go. I got this phone call from our executive producer. I saw the name come up, and my heart skipped a beat. I thought "Oh! Is it happening?" And then she told me on the phone. I believe I screamed down the phone at her. And the whole room screamed, so I guess I was on speaker phone. It's been a whirlwind, a rollercoaster since then.
Who do you think is your biggest competition this season?
I think Kellie Pickler is definitely up there. Not only is she just a fabulous little talent, but Derek, we all know, is a wonderful teacher and fabulous choreographer. I want to say Zendaya [Coleman], but she did Contemporary her first week, so I want to see what her Ballroom and Latin look like. [Ed. note: This interview took place before Week 2, when Zendaya earned 26/30 for her Jive.] Though again, she has Val as her teacher, and he's an incredible teacher as we saw last season. So I feel like she's definitely going to be up there.
I feel like those are our top two girls. I think Jacoby [Jones] could be up there. And I'm waiting to see what Aly [Raisman] is going to produce. There was a little bit of nerves on the first show [from Aly]. She was a little stiffer than she had been in rehearsal, I think nerves got to her.
We spoke to Val recently, and he told us that you two are close. Are there any other pros that you're particularly close with backstage?
Peta Murgatroyd, absolutely. We danced on Burn the Floor together for a long time. About six years, actually. I've known her since I was, oh, 20, living in London and competing, when we were both competing on the same circuit together. I've known mostly everybody in the cast quite a long time, but I would say I'm closest to Peta, and of course Val.
What was it like to perform for the first time as a pro?
It was quite surreal. It was wonderful and it was exciting and I had adrenaline. But I feel like, because that stage is so familiar for me, because I have been there for the last three seasons, living through the other pros and supporting them and seeing what they do every week, I feel like I didn't really have the nerves some of the newbies might have. Which was wonderful, because I could just be there for Andy, be strong for him, and make sure that he was okay. I'm very blessed and very thankful that I had my time in the troupe. I think it prepared me very well for being a pro on the show.
For more from Sharna, check out part one and two of this interview. You can also follow Sharna on Twitter @SharnaBurgess.
Catch the next episode of Dancing With the Stars on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
Rebecca Martin is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @BeccaDMartin.