EXCLUSIVE: Sharna Burgess Reveals Why Everyone on 'DWTS' Misses Julianne Hough as a Judge
By Desiree Murphy
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Sharna Burgess is opening up about some of the harsh critiques the judges have been giving out on this season of Dancing With the Stars.
The 32-year-old dancer stopped by ET with her season 25 partner, former NBA star Derek Fisher, on Tuesday, where she revealed how much the cast misses Julianne Hough's bubbly personality and positive energy.
It was revealed earlier this month that Hough would not be joining Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli on the judges' panel this season, and Burgess admits that the show just isn't the same without her.
"I miss her," the red-headed beauty told ET's Cameron Mathison and Lauren Zima during our DWTS recap show on Facebook Live. "I miss Jules' energy up there, her knowledge on ballroom dance and the way she would critique the information she would give. I think she was such a wonderful part of our panel, and she is seriously missed by all of us."
Burgess and Fisher have been a fan-favorite pair from week one. Although they've come out strong and already showcased some highly advanced lifts this season (which other couples have yet to do!), the two have received fairly low scores from the judges. Last night, they scored a 19/30 for their Paso Doble to "Diablo Rojo" by Rodrigo y Gabriela, the same score they received during "Ballroom Night" on Monday.
Burgess admitted that while she doesn't know if Hough's absence is necessarily making the scoring "harsher," the tone of the critiques is different, for sure.
"We don't have that bubbly, bright positivity sitting in the middle, and I'd never even thought of that [affecting the scores], actually," Burgess explained. "We've just been so tunnel vision on what we've got to do."
"But I think that is a big part of it," she continued. "Even if Jules was to give a six, she always had something [nice] to say about it. So, you are right."
Regardless of their scores, #TeamHoopsAndHeels is staying positive and working hard in rehearsals in hopes of getting Burgess her first mirrorball trophy. If the two place first this season, this would also be the first time an NBA star has ever won the dance competition show.
"It's been fun. I've just been trying to listen to my coach here," Fisher, who's played basketball professionally for the Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City Thunder, Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks, explained. "I'm usually a leader and mentor on the teams that I've played on, and then I coached [for the New York Knicks] for, like, two seconds. So, it's different for me because you literally have to just trust what someone else is telling you -- what I need to do to be successful."
"That's part of the journey for me, being on this show and learning to let go of things I can't control," he continued. "I cannot control myself as a ballroom dancer. I have to listen to her, completely."
Burgess chimed in, giving her partner the ultimate praise while discussing what she thinks Fisher's biggest advantages are on the show.
"I think it's a combination of the fact that he's an athlete, that he knows how to work hard," she explained. "I love the way that he learns, being that he's a fundamentals-and-technique guy, and that's what gives you the long game in this show. That's what helps us when we get to double dances again later down the line. We can push it further because he's had a foundation built."
"But also, it's just this. I think it's people getting to know this guy," she added, pointing to Fisher's face. "The fact that he's so lovable and funny and just a really, really cool dude. What this show represents is him -- the guy coming in with no dance experience and just leaving it all on the dance floor and giving it his all."
When DWTS returns next Monday on ABC, Burgess and Fisher will be dancing a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air-themed routine. Find out why Fisher chose this as his "guilty pleasure" in the video of our full interview below!