Cheryl Burke: Terrell Owens ‘Needs to Up His Game’ on ‘Dancing With the Stars’

Dancing With the Stars pro Cheryl Burke is blogging exclusively with Us Weekly about her quest to take home the season 25 mirrorball trophy with partner Terrell Owens! Check back each week for her latest update on the competition.

We survived our first elimination week but it was nerve-racking, especially being in the bottom two! This is who I am, though; I always get nervous. It doesn’t matter how low or high the score is. I thought for sure we were in jeopardy, which we were the first night. It doesn’t really hit you until you are standing on the stage before elimination, and then you remember that the scores are from the previous week, and we were coming from a score of 15. It’s an emotional roller coaster because we just got through our fox-trot, which was great. I was so sad to see Barbara Corcoran and Keo go, but we were just so happy that we survived. 

Being in the bottom two on Monday didn’t affect our dance going in to Tuesday. Terrell works better under pressure, and I’m the exact opposite. He tells me to calm down. You can see the athlete in him. By Tuesday though, the whole cast was exhausted. Normally, back in the day, Tuesday was a results show with just pro numbers and the celebs would just chill. Last week was exhausting for everyone but we had another dance and a new score. You can’t say we did great on Monday night because we still had Tuesday night to get through.

I thought we were going to be in the bottom again on Tuesday. It was such a relief that we were safe. I was shocked to see that Nick Lachey and Peta were in the bottom and I was very shocked to see Debbie Gibson go home. I had a conversation with Debbie the night before. She’s so great and her dancing was awesome, and she has a huge fan base. I did not expect her to go home this early.  

Having two dances this week was really difficult because they were two completely different styles. fox-trotis about standing up straight and samba is about moving your hips. I was so proud of Terrell’s fox-trot, but I was really nervous going in to the live show because he tweaked his back on Monday. The few hours of downtime he had, he was able to get physical therapy and he came back like a new person and completely nailed it, and I was happy with our scores.

On Tuesday, the judges were right with their critique of our samba. I think what Carrie-Ann meant was that now that Terrell has his posture right, she wants to see his upper body move. What’s hard with someone so tall and with our height difference, since he is not a dancer, he has the technique down but he has to learn to stand up straight and to isolate and move his upper body without looking like he is hunching down towards me. We are still struggling with that for this week but he is working hard.

This week, it’s Guilty Pleasure Week and we have the salsa! We are back to the Latin dances. It’s going to be an ’80s block party; girls versus guys. It’s going to be a good time with a lot of tricks. It’s the first time he is ever lifting me. It’s the first time he is ever doing full-on tricks where I have to rely on him 100 percent because I don’t have any control when it comes to that. We are adding troupe members because we really want this number to be big, and he needs to up his game because they are professionals, so you will be able to see the difference if Terrell doesn’t step up.

Another challenge this week is moving fast because the salsa is a fast dance. Terrell is known to move fast on the football field, but dancing with size 14 feet can be difficult, so we are working on that. We are still listening to what the judges said — “stand up tall” — but we need to start getting his upper body to move with his lower half.

I’m just really proud of Terrell, especially with the pressure of two dances last week and surviving an elimination. He really came out and I feel like now people are starting to recognize he does have a lot of potential, including the judges. Len was saying, “We don’t want you to go home.” You just never know who is voting so we were prepared that it could be us, but I’m so happy we survived. We really do need everyone’s vote!

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