The "Dancing with the Stars" fall 2014 season premieres Sept. 15 on ABC, and the Aug. 13 edition of "Good Morning America" officially revealed the identities of the 12 talented pros who will compete for the mirror ball trophy. Although the chosen dancers and their fans celebrated the news, not everyone was pleased with the cast list. Included in the latter group was Paul Kirkland, who tweeted anger and confusion over girlfriend and one-time show pro Sharna Burgess' mysterious absence from the roster.
Shortly after the announcement, a stunned Kirkland wrote "lost for words at the moment. All I can say is Sharna is the most creatively talented person on the show." After a deluge of supportive tweets rolled in, Kirkland's tone changed to one of anger and frustration as he added "Personal!! when someone choreographs half of everyone #'s and there own every week it's slap in the face. Plus Dwts is sytycd now. Mistake!"
New "DWTS" show runner Rob Wade's decision to omit Burgess from the cast list is puzzling, and an apparent lack of communication with the talented dancer is disturbing and insulting at best. Per another tweet by Kirkland, Burgess received no notice --"not a phone call or anything"-- regarding her status prior to the morning's public announcement.
Burgess, 29, spent three years as a "DWTS" pro coach. Her first season, which saw her working with comedian and actor Andy Dick, produced some of the most creative dances ever seen on the show, including a memorable Mad Hatter-themed jazz routine.
Season 17 saw her make an early exit on the arm of NFL player Keyshawn Johnson, but she came back strong during season 18 with Olympic gold medalist Charlie White. Although the duo was ultimately denied a spot in the finals, they turned in a string of enjoyable and technically sound numbers, including a charming Disney Week jazz piece set to the "Mary Poppins" tune "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious."
Following the cast announcement, Burgess herself addressed fans via Twitter to thank them for their support in diplomatic fashion. "Feeling so much love right now. Thank you beautiful tweeps, your words mean a lot to me. Love you all right back. Xxx"
The professional dancers who did make the cast include Cheryl Burke, Karina Smirnoff, Emma Slater, Witney Carson, Peta Murgatroyd, Tony Dovolani, Derek Hough, Mark Ballas, Val Chmerkovskiy, Artem Chigvintsev, and "DWTS" newcomers Allison Holker and Keo Motsepe. The celebrity cast will be revealed during the Sept. 4 edition of "GMA."