Cheryl Burke and her celebrity “Dancing” partner, former Lakers star Rick Fox, received 24 out of 30 possible points from the judges for their “Dancing with the Stars” performance last week.
Not a bad score — but in the wake of Florence Henderson’s surprise elimination, the powerful pair said they’re stepping up their game.
“There’s no clear front-runner - everything changes every single week,” Cheryl told Access, at a rehearsal with Rick on Friday. “Anyone can go home at this point. So the pressure’s definitely on for sure.
“We have to make sure we nail every step — there’s no room for mistakes now,” she added.
The dashing duo is furiously rehearsing for their upcoming Argentine Tango performance – a dance that Rick found challenging when the couple originally performed it two weeks ago.
“We would’ve loved to have gotten better scores that week - didn’t result that way,” Rick told Access. “This is another Tango, so it’s another opportunity to redeem ourselves.”
Though the athlete is accustomed to “strenuous exercise” from his days on the NBA court, Rick said he’s definitely experiencing positive results from dancing.
“What I’m finding is that my body feels better than it did coming in, and it’s been under duress now for eight weeks,” Rick told Access. “I’m doing things I haven’t done since I was in my 20s, which feels great. I’m jumping off of stages, I’ve become more flexible, so yeah, I welcome more of it!”
Rick is hoping to stay in the competition awhile longer to bring joy to his number one fan: his daughter.
“My daughter absolutely loves [seeing me on the show],” Rick smiled. “She’s there every Monday she can be there to support me. She watches reruns when she gets home — pick her up for school, she’s watching it… I look to go as far as I can go [in the competition] just so that she can enjoy the process as well.”
The seemingly gentle giant, who says he’s grown closest to Jennifer Grey and the recently-booted Florence Henderson during their time together on the show, would like to get to know one fellow “dancer” better: former two-time NFL MVP Kurt Warner.
“[Kurt] is in Phoenix with his family, so I only see him two days out of the week,” Rick told Access. “I still feel like I’m getting to know him. I’d like to get to know him a lot better — he’s a former athlete as well.”
While Rick and Cheryl’s height difference has proven to be to be a challenge for the couple (Rick is reportedly 6’ 7”, while Cheryl reportedly measures a mere 5’ 4”), it just may come in handy next week, when the dancers will be allowed to add “tricks” to their routines.
“What we have over every couple is lifts,” Cheryl told Access. “[Rick] has done lifts before with me in the Argentine tango.
“I definitely feel safe in his arms, so that’s a good sign!” she laughed.
As for rumors of potential cattiness on the “Dancing” set, the couple laughed it off.
“We all hate each other,” Cheryl deadpanned. “We put stuff in each other’s costumes, we throw shoes all over the place.
“We just really don’t like each other this season,” she joked.
Cheryl, Derek Hough and Mark Ballas are all two-time champs on hit ABC show, which raises the question — who will be the first to take home three mirror ball trophies?
“I don’t like to think about it because then it just distracts me from my job, which is this big man over here,” she told Access, while pointing at Rick.
It’s probably a good thing that Cheryl doesn’t dwell on the “distracting” thought, since discussing the possibility got the brunette beauty so flustered she momentarily forgot which sport made her partner famous.
“I would love to be able to achieve [another win],” Cheryl told Access. “[Rick] has so much potential. I’m just trying to make him the best possible dancer he can be and hopefully it happens where I get my third trophy, and he gets his twentieth trophy, because he’s won like, 15 Super Bowls.”
“Sorry! Other sport!” she laughed.
Catch Rick and Cheryl’s Argentine Tango performance on “Dancing with the Stars” on Monday, October 25, at 8 PM on ABC.