This week on SYTYCD, we saw the bottom six dancers were Makenzie Dustman, Alan Bersten, Curtis Holland, Jenna Johnson, Mariah Spears and BluPrint… everyone except Jenna, as she is the sole remaining ballroom dancer left in the competition… had to dance for their lives for the judges, which included regulars Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy, but also quest judge Carly Ray Jepsen! After their solo’s, they found their partners to prepare for their choreographed number in hopes they would dance again next week. After some very good performances from all, they broke the news to Mariah and BluPrint that this was the end of the road for them. Mariah and BluPrint sat down with the press, including The Yak, to share their thoughts and experiences from SYTYCD!
While there’s some notes obviously in hip hop in a little bit of what you both do, does it feel almost like there’s an extra challenge in that? You don’t really get the opportunity to do many choreographed animating or krumping routines on the show, so do you have the challenge of basically doing something somewhat different from your style every single week?
Mariah: Yes, I mean it’s definitely more difficult just because we’ve never done anything like that before, but it just pushes us to work even harder.
BluPrint: Yes, it is because we’re both completely out of our element in each style. But, yes, it does help. It does push us to want to even make a little like that is our style on the show.
What was it like for you two going from working with one partner to another? Is that another challenge, or is that kind of exciting in a way? Going from working with one partner on the live show, then your first partner being eliminated and switching over to a new partner… Is it kind of a cool feeling to work with multiple people? Is it a challenge?
BluPrint: It’s actually cool because I get to experience what it is like to work with different people instead of keeping it the same every week. We all bond like really quickly. So, I mean having chemistry wasn’t a problem. We got right to having fun. That was a great experience….
Mariah: Yes, I totally agree. I mean it’s so cool to see and learn like how different people work and as BluPrint said, we all bonded so quickly. It’s not hard.
A couple of weeks ago (there was no show the prior week due to an all-star baseball game) you had performed the hip hop routine together that was highly praised. When America voted you both into the bottom six, did that make your elimination almost sting a little bit more considering you both were pretty much in your element? It seems like that kind of would be the worst way to go out, being that you were both on your home turf type of thing.
Mariah: I mean, yes, it’s hard like when you think you did so well the week before and then being on the bottom and being eliminated. But, I mean everyone does amazing every week. So, it’s always so up in the air. You never know.
BluPrint: Basically what she said. Doing our own style is actually kind of more difficult because the judges are looking for you to do so much. They’re expecting more from you, especially when it’s your style. So, doing that … was actually not—it was challenging especially because I … like that, but it was actually fun at the same time.
It was clear that that routine had a lot of choreography, it was fast paced & it seemed to be a little exhausting for you two… Do you feel like out of all the hip hop routines you could have learned, that this was almost the most difficult one? Did you feel like it was kind of the most challenging thing you were presented with out of every other possibility for that genre?
BluPrint: In a way it was because of the energy level that we had to have, but it was actually more fun to learn than any hip hop routine that I’ve learned so far.
Mariah: Yes, I mean it was—it was super-fast and super high energy, but it made it that much more exciting I feel like.
Mariah, what does it mean to you to represent female hip hoppers on So You Think You Can Dance? They really haven’t been heavily or highly represented in the past?
Mariah: I mean, it feels so amazing to be able to say that I can represent something that hasn’t really been on the show. I mean it has before, but not in a long time and not very much. So, to be able to like be one of those girls, one of the three, I believe, girls that have been able to do that, it’s so cool and such like a unique thing that I have that I was so blessed to be able to portray on the show.
BluPrint, as an animator that is such a different style from so many of the other things you’ve been presented with on SYTYCD… Has learning any of these other styles and working with those affected your own style of dance? Do you think you’ll bring that into any of your dancing in the future?
BluPrint: Yes, it affected it in a good way because I’m like a little bit more versatile now and I have been practicing my own style as well like every day too. So, it actually helps me to be more open and just do more things with my original stuff.
What is your opinion on the guest judges this season. There’s been a lot of criticism about the fact that maybe all the guest judges don’t necessarily have the proper background in dance to be able to give the proper critiques. Do you have any thoughts on that?
BluPrint: I actually liked some of the guest judges because they actually did give good critiques even though some of them don’t really have dancing experience. But, they actually gave like good critiques. They didn’t say anything out of the water or anything. I actually took what Carly Rae said and went with it. But, yes, I really liked the guest judges especially because I mean they bring a lot to the show and everybody loves them and all that.
Mariah: Yes, I mean and I fully agree with Blu(Print). They do judge very well. I mean they all are a part of the entertainment industry, which is what dance is a part of. It’s not always about the technique or anything. I mean they do have judges that can comment on that and I’m sure just watching dance, you can—you may not know everything about it, but you can see that stuff.
But, it’s more about the whole entertainment value I feel like and that’s what those guest judges bring. They bring something different, something a little—a different perspective on something you see every week.
Does the lack of a result show kind of make it more difficult in the sense that you’re immediately preparing for the performance with the knowledge that there’s going to be eliminations on the very same show?
Mariah: Definitely. It is really hard without a results show to separate your performance from the whole stress of, “Okay, well, I might go home after this performance.” But at the same time, it pushes you to leave everything you have out there because you know—again, you know this could be your last time performing.
BluPrint: Yes, exactly what Mariah said. We all know that it might be our last performance. So, it actually pushes us harder to try to make the judges change their mind if they do have a decision to send one of us home. Just makes us work harder.
Mariah, the judges absolutely loved you in the hip hop routine from a couple of weeks ago, saying you were effortless and shining and so forth. But this week, the judges seemed to think your jazz routine was just “goodish” as Nigel put it. Do you kind of wish that you could have changed anything about the performance looking back at what you two brought to it? Do you think that is the sole reason why you went home I guess this week?
Mariah: I mean, I think that we did everything we could with that dance routine. It was a great routine and it was really just…. I think that we did—I mean we definitely left all we could on that stage and I could have never wished for anything more. Definitely, it comes down to all of these dancers, the whole top 20 were absolutely incredible dancers. It just comes down to one person has to go home a week and Makenzie is flawless.
BluPrint, During the show two weeks ago when you performed the hip hop, the judges and your choreographer made it clear that your “freestyle is ill,” but you kind of lack emotion in your face and the judges wanted to see the performance quality come out a little bit more. What is your take on that? Did you notice that that was missing from your end, and was that something you were really starting to work on, but obviously you didn’t get the chance to really show them that you could finish it?
BluPrint: I was really working on that, especially last week. Like after the judges said what they said, I really went home and worked on it like to the max. I am kind of upset that I didn’t get a chance to show that part, but I did definitely work on it. It’s going to help me in the future for my future performances too. So, I took that in. I actually thank the judges for saying all that because now I know what I’m missing in my performance.
We’ve seen, particularly Mariah, you’re a crier. We saw you were upset last night even before … going home. How hard is it to see your fellow dancers go home? How close have you guys gotten over the course of the show?
Mariah: I am a crier, but it is so hard. We’re such a close family. We became so close. I mean I signed all of them my best friends. So, it’s so hard to watch people go home and then to go home yourself because not only like just the end of the road for the competition. It’s not even that. It’s just that we’re going to miss each other so much.
BluPrint: Yes, everybody here, we basically grew into one big family. So, to see like everybody leave and to leave yourself is very hard. But, they give you inspiration and we all keep in touch, which is a good thing.
Of those that are left, what guy and girl do you think might win it all?
Mariah: I don’t think we can choose. I mean at least for me, everyone is so, so good at not only what they do, but I mean you’ve seen everyone grow and do things that none of us expected we could do. So, there is no way at least I can pick a guy and a girl because everyone is so great.
BluPrint: Yes, same here. Everyone is really great. So, I can’t really even wrap my mind around who is going to win right now.
Mariah., the video clip in last night’s episode showed how you were a cheerleader for a while and absolutely loved every minute of it, which makes it even more ironic and notable that your preferring style is krumping. Can you talk a little bit about how you began krumping, how you got so good at it, and at what point in your life it became a passion?
Mariah: Yes. I mean I’ve always been interested in like being really diverse and trying to do like things people wouldn’t expect. And so, I started doing hip hop when I was like eight, but I just got like—my teacher, Chris Thomas, came to my studio and started teaching and he’s a krumper. I just like got taken under his wing and just started like absolutely loving it and loving like everything he taught, if it was krump, if it was just regular choreography. I guess I just like took it and ran with it because it was so cool, so different.
BluPrint, when Nigel was critiquing your hip hop performance a couple of weeks ago, he also said it was vital to maintain personality since you’re “not a great dancer yet.” Did that comment surprise you or offend you at all because some viewers who saw Nigel make that comment kind of thought, “How would he have made it to the top 20 if he wasn’t “a great dancer yet”?
BluPrint: Okay. Well, I mean it didn’t really take offense with me because I just sort of brushed it off and like ignored that part of the comment. But, the personality part, I mean I knew I was lacking in that area and I really didn’t get a chance to show them that part because what happened yesterday; I got eliminated. But, I mean I’m glad he gave me that critique though because I know what I need to work on.
Why did you originally apply for SYTYCD, and how many times did you audition before actually making it to the top 20?
BluPrint: This was my first time auditioning and originally, I wasn’t going to audition. Some friends kind of pushed me into it because … because they all wanted to audition and I just wanted to go for the ride, but it was like, “Well, since you’re here, you might as well audition.” So, I went ahead and did it and made it here.
Mariah: I had watched since the first season and have known people who have gone through it. Ever since I saw the first season, I was like it’s my dream to like be on the show. And so, I auditioned … also and got cut the Vegas week and then auditioned again this year and I made it.
What’s next now after the show? What are your future plans?
BluPrint: Well, I’m just going to go back to my crew and travel with my crew to shows and … YouTube videos and I’m also going to take choreo classes because the show has really helped me fall in love with choreo stuff. So, I’m going to take more classes on that so I can get fluent in that area and just keep doing my thing.
Mariah: Yes and I’m going to go back to school for dance and just keep training and try to become more the trained technical dancer and then start auditioning and see how it goes from there.
Would either of you would be interested in coming back as an All Star if they ask you to?
BluPrint: Yes, I would definitely be interested because everyone there—like when we were new, we didn’t know what to expect. So, we were like kind of just going with the flow, but then an All Star came in and showed us what to do like during rehearsals and how to do things. I just want to be that person to help the next group, the next top 20, help them get what they need and show them what to expect and all of that. Basically, just help everybody out.
Mariah: Yes. It would be so amazing, such a dream to come back as an All Star because like SYTYCD is just such a family and I’d love to be able to stay a part of that family.
Sad to see Mariah and BluPrint go? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!