Dancing With the Stars fans are completely shook after hearing news about the upcoming 28th season.
On Wednesday, Good Morning America announced the group of stars and pros who will be competing on the show when it returns to ABC next month. While everyone seemed genuinely excited about the celebrity lineup — which includes Lamar Odom, Christie Brinkley and Hannah Brown — others were completely devastated to learn that two of their favorite pros will not be returning.
Arguably the most shocking of them all is Sharna Burgess, who won the mirrorball trophy with TV personality Bobby Bones last season. The red-headed beauty has consistently competed as a pro every season since 2013, when she made her debut with Andy Dick.
ET chatted with host Tom Bergeron just moments after the big reveal, where he told us Sharna seemed “surprised” when he spoke to her recently. “As a matter of fact, I was just texting with Sharna recently,” he said. “She was surprised and I was too. But again, that’s somebody else’s call.”
Meanwhile, Sharna took to Instagram to react to the news herself. “As I’m sure you’ve heard, I will not be returning to @dancingabc this season. I am unbelievably sad to not be back!!!” she wrote. “However, what I can wholeheartedly tell you is that it’s all good, ALL love and in this moment I can’t help but be grateful for the time and the journey that I’ve had, the people I’ve met, the incredible talent I’ve shared the stage with and the memories I’ve made. To say the least.. it’s been epic. ♥️ and to have finally won still feels as exciting and special as it did the moment @tombergeron said our names.”
“After nearly 9 years I feel like I grew up on the show. I am going to truly miss creating, storytelling and performing for you all, I’ll miss giving the transformative power of dance to the person in front of me, and I’ll miss seeing my DWTS family every day and watching them work their craft in ways that inspire me,” she continued. “Though nothing could ever replace my love for the show, there are things coming into my world that I’m excited to dive into now that I have time. Everything happens for a reason ♥️ you know me. I’ll share when I can. I have endless love and gratitude for all of you and for everyone at the show. For my fellow pros you light up the stage time and time again, you are what makes the show magical and I can’t wait to watch you shine. ✨ And to all 12 of my partners… thank you thank you and I adore you. I’ll be watching and cheering this coming season for all of my fam out on that dance floor!!! Good luck everyone, may this be the best season yet! Let’s go season 28!!! 💋 #dwts”
Naturally, fans immediately took to social media to voice their concerns, urging ABC to “BRING BACK SHARNA.”
“Don’t worry. She’ll be back at some point,” one fan wrote in response. “The reigning champ ALWAYS comes back!!”
Another longtime fan shared that she was “nervous” to break the news to her daughter. “She’s been waiting all year for @DancingABC just for her! We know you’re off doing big things though, Sharna! Happy for you! We adore you big time!”
“No Sharna, no watch,” another exclaimed.
Fans were equally torn up about not seeing Artem Chigvintsev, who has choreographed some of the spiciest pieces we’ve seen on the show (take, for example, any dance he put together for his now-girlfriend, Nikki Bella, during season 25).
“I just want to say how sad it makes me feel not to be part of Season 28 of DWTS,” Artem wrote in a lengthy post shared on his Instagram shortly after the announcement was made. “It’s been 10 years since I have joined this absolutely, one of a kind, incredible show! It has given me recognition as a dancer, choreographer and a teacher. I have had so many beautiful memories with all of my celebrity partners! They all have shaped me into the person that I am today.”
“Special thank you goes to all the people behind the camera who work extremely hard to not only impress our fans but to make our pro dancer’s visions come to life. What I will miss the most is working alongside my coworkers, the heroes of the show,” he continued. “I want to wish them and their new celebrity partners the best of luck this season! I want you all to make it better than it ever was before! Because our DWTS fans, who mean SO much to me, want DWTS to continue going strong for many, many years to come.”
Artem concluded his post with a special message to all the fans: “I want to thank you SO much for supporting me all these years! I simply couldn’t have done it without you! Without your love! Without your connection! And most importantly without your support! You all have no idea how much I will miss you all this season! I’m already missing you all so much! Even though this is so hard on me, I will be DWTS #1 fan, cheering you all on every Monday night! Good luck to everyone on Seasons 28! With lots of Love, Artem.”
Fans quickly flooded the comments section, sending Artem messages of love and support, like, “Chin up, brother. You’re the man!”
“Will miss you on DWTS, it wont be the same but brighter things lie ahead.”
A source tells ET that it’s not uncommon for dancers to take a season off and then come back for another season, adding that Sharna and Artem will still remain a part of the DWTS family. ET has reached out to ABC and reps for Sharna and Artem for comment.
Aside from Sharna and Artem, the fan-favorite pros we’ve seen from the past few seasons (like Val Chmerkovskiy, Emma Slater, Gleb Savchenko, Lindsay Arnold and Alan Bersten), are back, along with Peta Murgatroyd making her long-awaited return to the ballroom. There will also be two new pros joining this season — Pasha Pashkov and Daniella Karagach — who some may recognize from NBC’s World of Dance season two.
ABC entertainment president Karey Burke teased earlier this month during the Television Critics Association summer press tour that fans will be introduced to “really fun format changes” this season. While final details have yet to be revealed, we now know that there will be no troupe for the first time since season 11, and for the first time ever, viewers will have to tune in to the season premiere to find out who their favorite professional dancers will be paired up with on the ballroom floor.
“We have a lot of new people behind the scenes,” Tom explained to ET on Wednesday. “A new executive producer. There was a fairly widespread feeling among our viewers and among us on the show that we needed to take a look at things and maybe tweak things a bit.”
“So, you’ll see the results of those deliberations on Sept. 16,” he added. “I don’t want to give it all away, but the judges will have a little extra oomph this season.”
See more fan reactions below:
Dancing With the Stars returns for its all-new season Monday, Sept. 16 at 8 p.m ET/PT on ABC.
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