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Cheryl Burke on 'Dancing With the Stars': 'It's Just a Show, Not a Real Competition'

by Crystal Bell, posted Nov 14th 2011 4:55PM
cheryl burke dancing with the starsRob Kardashian isn't letting big sister Kim Kardashian's divorce drama get in the way of his dancing, says his 'Dancing With the Stars' partner, Cheryl Burke. Instead, he's focused on making it to the finals, a feat he never thought possible back in week one.

"He's gained so much confidence in himself," Burke tells AOL TV. "He's not even the same guy that he was in week one, and he's just proved to everybody that he is really talented."

Now, Kardashian is one of four celebrities vying for the Mirror Ball trophy and eternal ballroom glory, but he's not letting the pressure get to him. "He likes to keep everything light," says Burke. "It's just a show, not a real competition."

With the semi-finals kicking off this week (Mon., Nov. 14 at 8PM ET), AOL TV chatted with Burke about Kardashian's improvement, the judges' harsh criticisms and her close friendship with the Kardashian family.

It's the start of semi-finals week, so how is Rob doing in rehearsals?

Great. We had a busy week learning the Argentine tango, samba and cha cha. We have to learn it all in four days, so it's stressful. We are all stressed out right now. That's a lot of dancing to do.

What's going to be the most difficult challenge for Rob this week?

There's a relay cha cha dance that we have to do, which is 35 seconds of cha cha for each celebrity. Surprisingly, I'm more stressed than he is. He just knows that he can do it, and when he puts his mind to something, he does it. The stress of learning three dances isn't getting to him as much as it's getting to me.

Week after week, I call Rob the most improved dancer because you can tell that he's really trying and seeing results. How do you think he has improved since week one?

He completely transformed. Not just as a dancer but as a person too. He's gained so much confidence in himself, and he's really just proved to everybody that he is talented and a great person. [His attitude] has completely changed. In the beginning, he didn't know what to expect. He was really shy, and he seemed like he wasn't into it, but as the weeks went by we worked on building his confidence up. The judges also helped by letting him know how much he's been improving. He's been seeing his results, so I think it's just really transformed him.

The judges have been telling Rob that he needs to watch his bum, so that it doesn't stick out. How do you address that in rehearsals?

You know, the Latin dances are harder for him, but the judges have been really great with him by telling him what he needs to work on, and he really does take their criticisms seriously. It's been a struggle, but he really is trying.

The judges' criticisms can be confusing because it's not clear what they're judging on. Do you think that there should be some sort of standardized judging system?

At times, I'm not sure if the celebrities are being compared to each other or if they're being compared to themselves. I just want the judges to give criticism that we can take back and work on. Sometimes they can be harsh, but you just need to remind yourself that this is a television show, and of course there are going to be ridiculous comments and criticisms from the judges. You don't want them to say that, but at the end of the day it is a television show, so you kind of have to take it for what it's worth.

Unlike some of the other couples, you and Rob seem really close and you've worked really well together this season. How does he compare with your other 'Dancing' partners?

We're really close, and we'll stay friends for sure after the show. He's one of my favorite partners. There's just no drama with him. A lot of people change when they get to the semi-finals and become really competitive, but Rob's just stayed the same. He likes to have fun in rehearsals. That's what makes him so cool. He's just a normal kid.

Being that it's semi-finals week, are you getting competitive with the other pros?

Not at all. It's not about the dancer because we're always on the show. I think at the end of the day, we root for each other. We really want everyone to do well. With the celebrities this season, it's not like that either. Sometimes it is, and it gets really competitive, but Rob is friends with everybody. He's making people laugh, yelling in the studio room and going into the other rehearsal rooms to make them laugh. He likes to keep everything light. It's just a show, not a real competition.

Now, don't hate me, but every week in my recaps, I refer to you as a mini-Kardashian. You just blend in so well with that family. Maybe that's why you and Rob work so well together?

People are actually starting to say that I sound like them! I knew his family before he signed on to do the show. I did go to Kim's wedding because Kim and I are good friends and we have been since she was on the show with Mark [Ballas]. Now, we're all really close. I get along great with everyone in that family.

My favorite Kardashian is baby Mason. I think I'd get along great with him.

Oh my god! He's so cute. Just the most adorable kid ever.

'Dancing With the Stars' airs Mondays at 8PM ET and Tuesdays at 9PM ET on ABC.

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vini marchese

what! were to rave that rob is actually doing something in life,come on without kim they(the family) would have nothing they should kiss her butt,if people don't like the show do not watch!dancing with the stars is a fun show !

November 17 2011 at 4:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love Rob - I certainly like him sooooo much better than his "BRATTY" sisters!!! His sister, Kim, is so self absorbed. I honestly feel that she got this divorce because she wasn't in the limelight. What the hell are the Kadashians doing in the limelight anyway? Mr. Kardashian was an attorney who represented OJ - big deal! I too work for an attorney who has represented celebrated people and is related to a celebrated family, should she have a reality show based on their lives? Rob is the only normal person in that family, except maybe for Bruce's son, but I can't swear to it. I'm hoping either Rob or JR win the mirrorball because they have no dance experience whatsoever. As much as I like Ricki, and as good as she really is, she does have some background in musicals.

November 17 2011 at 11:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

DWTS may have lost viewers this season, but it is not because people are bored. DWTS is still one of the most exciting and enjoyable programs on TV. It has been family viewing in the past - but DWTS is not a platform for someone to teach America about transgenders. That could be discussed on another program. DWTS needs to stick to what it does best - DANCING - and leave the teaching to the parents. They certainly didn't lose viewers because of the judges. Cari Ann, Len and Bruno are experts and know how the dance should be performed correctly and precisely. It isn't because of the celebrities because they have been great and have shown week after week just how hard they have had to work to get to where they are. It's a joy to watch their progress every week. And it's certainly not because of the professional dancers. They are some of the most dedicated people I have ever seen. Their grace and form are outstanding, and they are truly athletes in every sense of the word.

November 15 2011 at 9:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

why should she be gone. SHE IS THE JUDGE. It is her job to judge.not hissssssssss

November 15 2011 at 6:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well of course they have something against him, hes a vain pompus {you know what}...that doesnt even deserve to be on the show. his only job is to teach them how to dance but its going to his head and hes going to far. Hope he doesnt get another job

November 15 2011 at 6:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If Maxim isn't back next year - Carrie Ann better be gone too!

November 15 2011 at 6:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am beginning to belive that Carrie Ann and Len have something personal against Maks, they seem to always pick on him and grade him and his partners unfairly.

November 15 2011 at 6:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think Maks should not be aloowed back. He is there only to dance, not make rude remarks.The judges are there to judge and maks is so immature he cant take it to know someone is better than him.And Hope Solo is as bad as him and no personality at all. she cant even smile. She is rude and obnoxious

November 15 2011 at 6:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Cheryl is doing a great job working with Rob. She can be chubby but one hell of a dancer and instructor. Hope Solo has some improvement considering she has no poise nor grace in dancing, she's finally dancing like a real woman.. Jr. is great so does Ricky, I'll be surprise if Rob wins these competetion though,vast improvement for being the underdog.

November 15 2011 at 5:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Are all the female dancers chubby like this girl?

November 15 2011 at 4:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Newquest's comment
Hi Sandra

She's not chubby, she is muscular from all the workouts she get everyday. Cheryl Burke has a womans body, not just some meat over bones but a true womans body. I think she is a wonderful dancer and she pushes herself and her partner to the limits. I also feel she has to be tough in order to win the trophies she has won.
I am hoping she and Rob takes the Mirror Ball Trophy this year.

November 15 2011 at 4:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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