Cheryl Burke is a two-time Dancing with the Stars champion, winning the coveted mirror-ball trophy with Drew Lachey and Emmitt Smith. The 15-season pro will blog for PEOPLE.com while competing on season 16 with her partner, D.L. Hughley.
I thought the fours we got from the judges for our cha cha were a little too harsh. I felt like the judges were a little mean to D.L. and didn’t really give him constructive criticism to come back this second week and improve.
The feedback was a bit of a downer for D.L. because he worked as hard as he could. The morning after the results, it was hard for him to get back in the studio and find the motivation to start over again. I just took him aside and told him, “We can only go up from what we got last week. Just have fun with the process.” I also told him, “The judges’ criticism is just part of the game, part of the show. You just need to work harder and come back strong.” That pep talk seemed to work because now D.L. is in great spirits and wants to do really well this week.
We are on much better track with this week’s quickstep than we were with last week’s cha cha. D.L. likes this dance a lot better so rehearsals have been going great. We’ve also been putting in a lot more time than usual even though we are in Phoenix because of his touring schedule. We’ve been doing at least four to five hours in the studio every single day. Rehearsals start at noon and then D.L. naps before his stand-up comedy shows.
It is tough balancing his schedule, but I think it is actually great to change it up rather than going to the same studio in Los Angeles all the time. It is nice to be somewhere different so we can focus on what we need to do. Normally all the couples rehearse at one studio, and it can get distracting because everyone wants to come in and see what you are doing.
Right now we are focusing on ourselves as our main competition. We just hope to get better than the fours we got last week. It’s going to be a challenge, because the quickstep is more difficult than the cha cha, but I hope that everyone sees that D.L. has really improved and has been putting in the work.