You’re not the only one who think the “Dancing with the Stars” judges suffered from premature perfection when they gave Juan Pablo Di Pace and Cheryl Burke a 30 last week. “It was a little too soon!” Burke told AOL. “Every week you have to start over again. The slate is wiped clean, and everyone starts over. That’s really what happens on this show.”
The pair received the first 30 of the season for their samba in Week 3, tying Season 19’s Janel Parrish and Val Chermkovskiy for the earliest appearance of a perfect score in the show’s history. The last and only time Burke delivered the first perfect score of the season was when she led Gilles Marini to a 30 during Week 4 of Season 8 for their Argentine tango.
But perfect scores typically come halfway through the season, which Burke is well aware of. The two-time champ, who’s competing in her 21st season, knows the undue pressure perfect scores put on couples, who will be seen as frontrunners and won’t have room for improvement, score-wise, going forward. “Every dance is going to bring new challenges, and it’s important that you don’t let the scoring get to your head to where you get lazy or to where you feel too much pressure and then you over-choreograph,” she said. “I’ve done both, believe me.”
The couple took a dip this week, nabbing a 24 for their comparably lackluster trio with Melissa Rycroft. There’s no disappointment, though, because it’s all about keeping it in perspective. “I tell [Di Pace] constantly, ‘You’re only as good as your last dance, and let’s take everything one step at a time,'” Burke said. “Literally.”
Besides, they still have the highest average score of the season, a 25.6, tied with Milo Manheim and Tinashe, who got the boot. Di Pace is the second favorite to win in our odds, behind Manheim, who topped the leaderboard this week. But Burke is not thinking about getting her hands on a third Mirrorball trophy yet.
“You can’t control the outcome,” she said. “All you can control is what you do and how much rehearsal you’re doing. It’s all about the whole package: It’s the chemistry, it’s the interviews, it’s that one live moment with Tom Bergeron or Erin Andrews, it’s the packages airing before that and it’s the struggle. People want to see that struggle and see that you’re a human being. If you come on and are too perfect, why are you even here? You’re not relatable. For me, my goal is to get him to be vulnerable and know that it’s OK for people to know the real Juan Pablo.”
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