- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
On a new episode of Burke's Pretty Messed Up podcast, the pair recounted their experience being shut out of the ballroom this week due to Burke, 37, testing positive for a breakthrough case of COVID-19.
After she began to feel "strange" last Friday, Burke — who is fully vaccinated — said she suspected "there was something off for sure." The pro dancer then got tested and broke the news of her diagnosis with fans on Sunday.
"We've been doing the cycle of flying out to New York doing rehearsals, flying back here, doing more rehearsals, so it's been a whirlwind," said Rigsby, 34. "Then we had our rehearsal, we cleaned up a lot. We had fun. I said, 'I'll see you tomorrow, boo,' came home, ordered room service, went to sleep and then woke up to literally paragraphs from Cheryl Burke."
The Peloton star continued, "So I woke up to that paragraph thinking that you had like, broken up with me, to be honest. Then I read all of it and I'm like, 'Oh wow, okay, that's a lot.' … I was just worried about you, because I've been through COVID. It sucks. I remember times when I had COVID. I was crying on FaceTime with my boyfriend, obviously, this was [in] a pre-vaccinated world."
Rigsby, who contracted COVID-19 in January, said he "got hit pretty hard" with symptoms at the time. "It took me a lot to bounce back," he said. "Even returning to physical activity, it took me like, five weeks after my diagnosis to even feel normal. It's a work in progress."
The fitness influencer told Burke, "We just want you to focus on resting, taking care of yourself, and I know you got my back through the next week, no matter what happens. But you've got to take care of you right now. ... You're going to have to take this day by day, see what happens and take care of yourself. It can turn at any point — just take it day by day."
During the show on Monday evening, Burke and Rigsby appeared via live video conference. Instead of a live performance, Burke and Rigsby's week 2 salsa routine was judged based on their rehearsal footage from days prior.
Outlining the other options that were presented to them, Burke and Rigsby discussed the possibility of him dancing with new pro Sofia Ghavami.
"All these people who make decisions that are way above our pay grade were like, not so fast. That's not going to happen, we can't have you in the ballroom," Rigsby said. "I've tested negative. Every test that I've had for the past three weeks has been negative. I wouldn't have a mask if I were performing, so I think that's also a big factor."
"Do I wish that instead I got to perform with a sub instead of our rehearsal footage? Yes, of course," he continued. "We had worked on it, you had worked on it with me. I took all those notes that you had given me, came to the hotel room, mentally went through it. I was running through it on Sunday because I didn't know what was going to happen, and there were all these little details and textures that I wanted to really perform. And how fierce was our costume? It was like, this fierce black floral print and I was so excited for it."
Maarten de Boer/abc
As for how week 3, which is Britney Spears-themed, will unfold for her and Rigsby, Burke said she "won't know until way later" if she can physically be around her partner since she must secure "three negative tests in a row to be back."
"[It could] be me last-minute showing up on Monday morning and being like, 'Okay let's do this without any practice.' Meaning that he's going to have to train with another professional dancer and I'm going to be there via Zoom," Burke said. "He's going to be going back to New York, so there are a lot of moving parts."
In the meantime, she promised to be the "ultimate dance mom" for Rigsby, who is a big fan of Spears.
Fellow season 30 contestant Amanda Kloots, who was also a guest on Burke's podcast, said she and partner Alan Bersten will be dancing to Spears' "Circus" for week 3.
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.
Breakthrough cases — COVID-19 infections that occur in people who have been fully vaccinated against the virus — are rare, but possible and expected, as the vaccines are not 100% effective in preventing infections. Still, vaccinated people who test positive will likely be asymptomatic or experience a far milder illness than if they were not vaccinated. The majority of deaths from COVID-19 — around 98 to 99% — are in unvaccinated people.