Pro dancer Sharna Burgess has been blogging exclusively for Us Weekly about her partnership with champion bull rider Bonner Bolton on Dancing With the Stars. Their quest for the Mirrorball Trophy came to an end on Monday, May 8. Read her final dispatch on the competition below.
I think like every couple, our biggest challenge last week was dealing with the stress and the pressure of two very important dances. Bonner knowing that he wasn’t the best dancer in the competition led him to put quite a bit of pressure on himself, and I think we all saw the frustration get to him.
Beyond all that, I have to say that he danced incredibly well in our Argentine tango. We did have a slight complication with the end of our routine, though. We had to make a last-minute change because something was hurting him in dress rehearsal. I would be lying if I said that didn’t make me nervous. But he handled it like a pro.
I was very, very proud of him for that performance, regardless of the judges’ comments. Len Goodman was definitely brutal. I was actually a little disappointed in Len for what he said to Bonner. It’s not always just the best dancer who’s making it through to the finals. I think we can all agree on that. It has to do with that person’s story and how much they’re inspiring someone.
In some way, many of our fans and viewers related to Bonner in his struggle and his pain and his adversity. I think people enjoyed watching him get out there week to week and show that you can push past those things.
I usually wake up with a feeling when it’s time. I woke up that Monday incredibly calm, but knew I needed to pack my bags because this could be it. But not because I don’t think Bonner deserved to go further. I had that feeling because everybody left in the competition was so dang good. It could have been anybody’s game. We’re watching some incredible dancers go home week to week, and it’s hard to know what the result will be. I can only say that with my nine partners, I’ve had a gut instinct that I knew when I was going home, and this was no different. Obviously I was hoping that I was wrong.
Seeing how far Bonner has come in the last eight weeks into this competition is phenomenal. As his coach, watching him start to move better, start to move with more confidence and feel better with his injuries, is kind of the greatest gift that I could have.
He trusted me and allowed me to do what I do best and that is to coach him and teach him how to dance. I really took the time to understand his injuries and what he could and couldn’t do, and to understand him as a person, because a lot of teaching is understanding the personality that is in front of you and how to help them. It’s not just dance that I’m teaching this person, it’s how to be confident and how to just take charge of the situation, and that is what I believe Bonner did this season. I watched him grow and I’m incredibly proud of him.
Now I am about to head on tour with Dancing With the Stars Live. One of my favorite things about the tour is getting to meet all of our amazing fans that support us and have kept us on the air for the past 24 seasons. We owe them so much gratitude, and this is kind of like us giving back to our fans. I’m excited — I can’t wait to get out there and dance my butt off!