Cheryl Burke opened up about her time on “Dancing With the Stars” — and the celebrity partner she thinks deserved to win the celebrity ballroom competition but didn’t.
Burke who announced her retirement from the show in March, won the mirrorball trophy twice with partners Drew Lachey and Emmit Smith. But in a September 12, 2023 interview on the “Behind the Velvet Rope” podcast, the longtime pro dancer revealed that another one of her partners was “robbed” of the DWTS win.
Burke told Yontef that Rob Kardashian, her partner in season 13, should have won the competition when he was a contestant more than a decade ago. Kardashian is known for his family’s reality show, “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.” He joined DWTS three years after his older sister, Kim, competed on the show and landed in the runner-up spot for season 13.
“I actually think that we got robbed, no pun intended, but I definitely think that we should have won for sure,” Burke told Yontef of Kardashian, later adding, “I think he deserved [it].”
J.R. Martinez and Karina ultimately won that season, which aired in 2011.
Cheryl Burke Revealed Rob Kardashian Did Reach One of His Goals on DWTS
While speaking with Yontef, Burke said Kardashian was one of her favorite celebrity partners out of her many seasons on the show. She also admitted that it was initially difficult to get him into the rehearsal studio because he was so “nervous” about it.
“I’m not sure if he actually was like ‘I wanna do Dancing’,” she revealed. “But you know, Kim Kardashian had done it already and she didn’t last very long. I think it was like week two or three with Mark Ballas [that she was eliminated] and, you know, the goal was just to beat her and we came in second place.”
Burke said underdogs like Kardashian are the reason why people love “Dancing With the Stars.”
“I remember Rob and I came out for week one doing a Viennese Waltz and he got booed because in our package, you know, he came across like this spoiled kid and you know, you can edit anything together,” she said. “And literally, people were booing at him.”
She added that something changed in Kardashian, and he put in the required work and ultimately found himself some moves – as well as a fan base on the show.
Burke also said she thinks Scott Disick, the ex-husband of Kourtney Kardashian, would be a great contestant on DWTS. “I don’t know if he would do it, but I think this would be, I think first of all he loves to dress up and I think he would be perfect for the show. I’m shocked he hasn’t done it. I mean, you’d be a great, yeah, he’d be a great character. But again, not my decision.
Rob Kardashian Never Imagined He’d Make It So far On DWTS
While Rob Kardashian’s original goal was to beat his sister’s stats on the show — Kim was the third contestant eliminated on DWTS season 7 — early on, he wasn’t surprised that he had better moves than she did.
“My sister’s not real competitive, so I don’t think this competition is really for her,” he told E! News in October 2011. “I’m competitive. It’s a good fit for me.”
Rob Kardashian was a bit more surprised when he made it further on. When he made it to the finals, he told The Hollywood Reporter, “I didn’t even expect to be in the semifinals, let alone win the Cha Cha relay and get our first 10s of the entire competition.”
“Now I’m in front of J.R. [Martinez]. It’s crazy,” he added.
Of his mom, Kris Jenner, Kardashian said, “She probably never would have expected me to do what I’ve done in a million years.”