ET caught up with pro dancer Sharna Burgess ahead of the dance competition show's Monday premiere, where she opened up about the show's condensed, four-week season, and what it will be like without fan favorites Maks and Val Chmerkovskiy in the ballroom.
"Listen, it's all everything on the table from week one. Usually we try and have a journey, give you peaks and valleys and savor a little for the end. This is all out there on week one," Burgess, who is paired with NFL pro Josh Norman, told ET's Lauren Zima. "Multiple eliminations each week, so you can't hold anything back. For us, we're on the front end of this because it's going to be double dances every week too, so it's intense. I think all of us as pros are trying to just breathe and go, 'OK, we can do this,' and just take it each day as it comes."
The 32-year-old dancer has yet to win DWTS, but seeing as the Chmerkovskiys are sitting this season out (combined, the brothers have won three mirrorball trophies), there's an even better chance this could be her time.
"We're all good friends and not having them with us doesn't make it a loss necessarily," Burgess said of Maks and Val, who are currently on their Confidential dance tour with fellow pro Peta Murgatroyd. "We're very proud of what they're doing on the road. Their show is incredible! I can't wait to see it myself."
"I've been stalking them on YouTube and Instagram to try and see it, but knowing that part of our fam is out there crushing it and doing something great I think is really special," she continued. "I think it gives a great opportunity for other people that haven't gotten the chance to shine in that light to get an opportunity."
Still, going into the all-new season, the mirrorball is on Burgess' mind!
"To be honest, I've gained so much over the seven years I've been with the show, and there's been so many times when I've come close to it, but walked away with a best friend in the process too, so there's so many more things that you win other than mirrorballs," she shared. "It doesn't mean you're not chasing them or I don't want one, but I'm so blessed with my time that I have had on the show -- I don't look at it like a loss and not having one. But it would be an added bonus to have one."
Norman agrees that Burgess is very well-deserving of a mirrorball.
"It's due," he said. "Her time is due. People, her time is due! Go out and vote for us!"
Burgess also told ET that #TeamBackThatPassUp is dancing last during the premiere, and is counting on fans to help them avoid elimination. Two couples will be going home Monday night, based on votes from both the judges and live viewers. Voting begins at 8 p.m. ET (that's 7 p.m. CT and 5 p.m. ET) on the official DWTS website, which you can view HERE.
"It's only going to be voting during the East Coast airing time," Burgess explained, reiterating how important it is for fans to vote in real time.
Dancing With the Stars: Athletes premieres Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Be sure to keep it locked to ETonline all night, as we'll be liveblogging the show (HERE!).