"I'm equally as excited and terrified for all of the things that lie ahead for me," the dancer tells ET's Katie Krause in her first interview since she and fan-favorite Artem Chigvintsev were cut as pros for season 28 of the competition show. "I am currently adjusting to a new fall season."
Burgess won the Mirrorball trophy with TV personality Bobby Bones last season, and has consistently competed as a pro every season since 2013, when she made her DWTS debut with Andy Dick.
"I got the really super sad phone call that was a 'Is this real life?' moment for me," Burgess recalls of the day she found out she would not be a part of the show. "I was driving on the freeway on my way to a meeting and I was chatting with our executive producer [Andrew Llinares], and I could hear it the moment he got on the phone, in his voice."
The red-headed beauty explains that she received the call about a day or two before the DWTS dancers were supposed to start rehearsals. "It was the same day Artem got the phone call. We were within an hour of each other, and we were supposed to go into rehearsal for Good Morning America," she shared, adding that she was sure she would be part of the new season, "until this phone call happened."
"I could hear it in his voice from the moment the phone call started, and my adrenaline spiked," she continues. "I pulled over and he let me know that they love me and I am very much a part of the family at DWTS, but they could not partner me up with a partner this season."
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Completely shocked by the news, it took her a while to process the information. "There was no hint that this would be the case. There never is, and, by the way, we all go through the same thing every season, we don't know if we are back until we get that pick up letter," she explains. "But I've been sitting pretty comfortable for a while."
When asked if they gave her a reason as to why she wasn't chosen to come back, she says, "honestly no."
"Not beyond, 'We couldn't partner you up with anybody this season,'" she relays. "What's tough about hearing that is I've danced with everyone from Andy Dick to Bobby Bones to a Backstreet Boy, there is no type, and it has nothing to do with height and has nothing to do with anything [specific]. For whatever reason, the people in the room who decide who's on the cast felt that I wasn't what they wanted for this version of the show, and that is OK because the team in there has changed."
"Not everybody can love you, not everybody is going to vibe with you, maybe they don't want a redhead this season," she continues. "There's three blondes and three brunettes. I think maybe I stick out like a sore thumb and they don't want that. Maybe it's that my choreographing they kind of got bored with. Who knows?"
"And it doesn't matter. It really doesn't matter. At the end of the day, I am never going to know the real reason behind it and, to be honest, it's irrelevant. It's happened, I'm here, I've been given an opportunity of 12 months of other adventures and who knows what's going to happen next year. Whether they want me back or don't, or is this the end, honestly I have no idea, that's their call."
She also dismisses the notion of her not returning due to budget constraints, saying, "I was on par with people. Definitely not the most expensive, and certainly not by an amount that would break the show if they kept me."
Thankfully, Burgess has a handful of projects in the works that she's really excited about -- and thanks the universe for putting her on an exciting new path. During her off-season she started performing in two new musicals, The Storm and Esther: The Heart of a Queen.
"Both are trying to get to Broadway in the next couple of years," she says of her new projects. "They are just so wonderful in the fact that I am even asked to be their lead…Esther is a beautiful story taken from the Bible, but very much about female empowerment and this woman who becomes queen and loses herself."
"I resonate with that, being a country girl that fell into Hollywood and had to figure out that and now wants to do good with it," she says. She and Chigvintsev teamed up to work on another hit dancing show, So You Think You Can Dance, creating a routine for the show. They're also teaming up for another dance and acting project soon.
And as fans gear up to see Burgess return to the stage, she shares a special message for all those that have shown their support during this whirlwind couple of weeks.
"Thank you so much for all of the love, and the support, and the words of how much you miss me, and your defending me like my champions," she expresses. "It's been a beautiful eight and a half years of me being on this incredible show and getting to create, and no one has ever said if it's the end. And whether it is that I come back and do another season or not, I'm always going to be putting things out there for you guys."
"I love and appreciate you all so much. You're in my heart. I have a vested interest in you all and I'm trying to create things for you and to help affect change in this world, especially for women and that's all coming," she continues. "And even though it hurts and I'm sad to be gone and it's a sore point, feeling the love and energy from all of you certainly does help and make it feel better, so thank you, thank you, thank you. I love you."