The 50-year-old fitness guru spoke about her experience on the ABC ballroom competition series during the Wednesday, April 13, episode of David Yontef’s “Behind the Velvet Rope” podcast. Burke took home the mirrorball trophy on season 7 of DWTS with pro partner Derek Hough before she cohosted the show with Tom Bergeron from season 10 to season 17. Banks, 48, began the gig during season 29, replacing Bergeron, 66, and Erin Andrews.
Burke called the former America’s Next Top Model personality’s first season on the job a “tough transition” for both viewers and the cast, claiming Banks is “a diva” — and “everybody knows” it. “There’s nothing wrong with that, and I’m not saying anything bad about her. Be a diva,” Burke added. “It’s [just] not the place to be a diva. Your pros are the diva[s], your winners, your perfect 10 score dancer who’s never done it, that defines diva in the ballroom.”
The Rock Star alum noted that being on DWTS “requires a lot of compassion and kindness, especially as the host,” and reflected on the major differences in the show’s reception since Bergeron and Andrews’ departures.
“Change is hard for everyone. They’ve gone through a lot on that show, that’s for sure,” Burke continued. “You’re just not the star as the host. It’s just not about you as the host, right? So, yeah, I think Tyra is great in a shining role. I will just say that.”
Longtime DWTS fans were shocked in July 2020 when Banks was tapped to fill Bergeron and Andrews’ shoes. At the time, ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke said in a statement, “Her fresh take on America’s favorite dancing competition will surely bring more than a ‘smize’ to fans everywhere.”
While the Life-Size star was no stranger to the world of live TV, her DWTS tenure got off to a rocky start, from wardrobe malfunctions to announcing the wrong bottom two couples. Despite receiving criticism from some viewers, Banks defended her hosting performance.
“Every host messes up. It’s just normal. It’s live TV. If it wasn’t live, there would be no mess-ups,” she exclusively told Us Weekly in September 2020. “Even on America’s Next Top Model, I would mess up and tell my editors to leave it in. That’s what makes things human and makes things alive. … It’s better than being like a doll.”
Banks returned for season 30 in 2021 but has yet to be confirmed as the season 31 host when the show moves to Disney+. Burke, for her part, looked back on her time on the series with love.
“Live TV is very difficult, and managing and anticipating and just sort of pivoting when you need to and things go wrong,” the She’s Got the Look alum said on Wednesday. “But having danced on the show, the fear that I brought to the table from competing made the ballroom just a comfortable, safe zone. … To say that hosting live television is easy is crazy, but in comparison [to dancing] … I was lucky to have been on both sides.”