First off, let me give a sincere apology for getting this out so late! With the holiday weekend, things got delayed so as the saying goes… “better late than never!”
The top 20 show started out like no other in the history of SYTYCD… with a group dance to “Puttin on the Ritz”, which went from outside to backstage to center stage, dancers starting out in sweat pants and jogging suits to them making their way into a black tie event attire! It was the most inventive and entertaining group performance to date… and all this included some fun cameos by Nigel Lythgoe, Travis Wall, Marie Murphy and many more. Personally, I watched it about 4 times… so I thought I should at least mention it!
With that said, this year’s elimination process has been revamped yet again, but just slightly. All 20 dancers were paired up and danced their hearts out in the top 20 show. Then on the following weeks show, we got to see the bottom 6 individuals with the least votes from America at the beginning of the show, instead of like in the past where the eliminations were announced at the end of the show after all the dancers did their routines. The judges then decide which dancers out of the 6 they want to dance for their lives… followed by the judges eliminating 1 girl and 1 boy.
This weeks bottom 6 dancers were Makenzie Dustman, Alan Bersten, Mariah Spears, Jade Zuberi, Brittany Cherry and Carlos Garland. The judges decided to save Makenzie and Alan right away, leaving Mariah, Jade, Brittney and Carlos to dance for their lives. All 4 give it their all but in the end, the judges decide to eliminate Brittney and Carlos from the competition. And since the dancers are eliminated at the beginning of the show, they are still being asked to dance with their partner during the show. Which leads us into our 1st question on our conference call last Wednesday…
Can you try to describe how difficult it was for each one of you to perform right after you were eliminated?
Brittany: It was actually difficult to pull it all together and perform after we were eliminated, but that’s the name of the game. That’s what we’re trained to do. We are dancers and and no matter what the circumstances the show must go on. We ended the show celebrating dancing and our success this far and being able to be there for our partners made it so much better.
Carlos: Yeah it’s definitely a message that you have to send to other dancers of what we did because like Brittany said the show must go on. You have to realize the greater task is at hand. You have to kind of pull all your emotions together and just perform and do our duty.
Is there anything that either one of you wish that the show could have highlighted that you think might have gotten you to stay a little bit longer… another week or so or is something you really don’t want to wrap your brain around because then you start overthinking everything?
Brittany: There are so many factors as to what they do show and what they don’t show, and to think of all the possibilities like, “Oh I should have done this” or ‘”Oh they should have done that,” there are so many different scenarios that could have played out it’s a lot to wrap your brain around.
Carlos: Yeah definitely. You have to take advantage of the time that you are given on air and it’s kind of hard to wrap your brain around there could have been so many possibilities but we’re thankful for what we got and what we were given.
Which choreographer do you feel like was able to pull the most out of you?
Brittany: Oh man, I feel like each of the choreographers I worked with had something different to bring to the table and to pull out of me, and I definitely learned something different from myself each time I worked with somebody new. It’s hard to pinpoint one choreographer.
Carlos: For me definitely it was Stacy from last night’s performance. It was definitely more of an emotion side that I don’t display that much and she definitely helped me soften up my qualities and helped me to achieve something new.
Can you tell me your favorite thing about your top 20 partner?
Brittany: My favorite part about BluPrint is that he is so funny. He’s the funniest person on the earth. He just like turns in to these characters. He has these different voices that he does and it’s just the funniest thing in the world.
Carlos: I love that Mariah is such a hard worker. She always seems perfect and she tries so hard, and I think that helped me as well to get us on the same page and I felt our chemistry was greater that way.
Were you surprised to be voted in to the bottom six dancers, and then also were you surprised the judges eliminated you?
Carlos: I wasn’t surprised to be in the bottom because I did the jive last week and I think that’s a hard dance for people to vote on. But when we were in the bottom, I was surprised that the judges did eliminated us… as would anyone be surprised because you never know their reasoning for who they chose or what they chose but you know it’s for some reason.
Brittany: Yeah exactly what Carlos said, it was definitely surprising hearing your name, but also at the same time it’s not surprising because people do have to be in the bottom three. It was definitely a shock to be eliminated, and like Carlos said, everybody has their reasons. There was a reason we were cut. There was a reason we made it to the top 20, so you kind of just have to expect it and take it with a positive note.
Nigel was not impressed with all 4 of your dance for your life performances… how do you feel about your own performance? Do you feel like you gave that dance your?
Carlos: You can always do better than what you’ve done before, but at the time you do give your best, and I think that’s what we did given the circumstances.
Brittany: Yeah I feel as though like there’s always room to grow, and we can always improve, but last night I put myself out there and I did the best I could be, and you know it didn’t come off that way, but I am very happy with my performance.
What is the one thing that either of you take away from this overall experience of being a part of the audition process and the show So You Think You Can Dance?
Carlos: Definitely meeting new friends and family. We’ve grown so close to each other and we all went through this process together so that was definitely going to be the most I will take away because we all worked together doing the same thing. We woke up together. We ate together. We went in to the same process and learned choreography and worked hard and pushed our bodies and minds to the limit.
Brittany: Yeah exactly what Carlos said, like we’ve all become such great friends. We’ve been through this entire journey hand-in-hand supporting each other, being there for each other, crying together, working so hard to get where we are so I think I’m going to take away the amazing friendships and this entire journey has been the greatest thing.
Do you guys have any plans in the short-term or the long-term now that you’ve been eliminated from the show?
Brittany: I think we can only go up from here. Honestly I just hope to keep dancing and doing what I love and working, and hopefully be working with Dancing with the Stars. There are so many possibilities in the future and I’m so excited for what is in store.
Carlos: Yeah, the plan is always the same even before the show, just to keep dancing and work as much as you can. Eventually I would like to start my own company and start branching in to choreography as well as performing at the same time so hopefully some new doors will be opening for me.
I’m sure leaving your partners behind was hard, but what kind of advice or words of encouragement did you leave them with?
Brittany: I told Blu, just to kill it out there. He is such a character and I just want him to be able to show that to America and open up and let them in. I just told him to open himself up and just kill it.
Carlos: I told Mariah to just to keep doing what she’s doing. She’s a great performer and she really taps in to the piece that’s she’s given so really all she has to do is keep growing, don’t change anything.
Did your partners or fellow dancers leave you with any encouragement or words of advice moving forward for you guys?
Carlos: Yeah of course, everyone did. Everyone was sad to see us go, and we all just remind each other that it’s not the end of the road; it’s just the beginning of this journey. We’re all coming back for the finale so it’s all going to be great.
Brittany: Yeah exactly what Carlos said, everyone was so sad to see us go, especially for the first people eliminated. For everyone, it was such an emotional night, and before the show we all reminded each other that we made it to the top 20 and that we are here as a family, and we did this together. Everyone is here because they’re amazing at what they do, and that everyone just loves each other, and just stay ourselves and be there for each other, keep being supportive because that’s what we’ve been doing from the beginning, and that we’ll see each other in a few weeks for the finale.
Carlos, as a contemporary dancer you had to perform the jive with Mariah last week and the judges main criticism was kind of that the moves seemed a little too fast for you guys to keep up with. Do you think it was the kind of the choreography lead to your demise rather than the skills that you showcased during that performance?
Carlos: Yeah, the dance was difficult but that has nothing to do with our job as dancers and the ways to execute them. Once we’re given the choreography it’s our responsibility to perform as well as we can, and I feel I did my best and so did Mariah. The jive is a whole new language for a hip hop dancer and a contemporary dancer. We focused on performing it well, and I thought we did.
Brittany, as a Latin ballroom dancer you performed Afro-Jazz with BluPrint, and you got raving reviews from the judges. What do you think happened or why you think you didn’t connect so much with the audience? Do you think maybe the style itself was less popular amongst viewers?
Brittany: There are so many different factors and Afro-Jazz is a very different style. It’s not one of your normal dance styles, and I don’t know if it was easy for America to really feel or maybe they thought that we had it in the bag because sometimes when the judges praise one couple America won’t vote for them just because they’re like, “Oh I’m not going to vote for them they’re good. They’re great. I’m going to vote for these other people.” There are so many different reasons and explanations and theories that I have or other people have and to think of them is—like it doesn’t matter because it is what it is and I am grateful for what I have accomplished.
How many times did you guys actually audition for the show, and what made you want to try out for the how originally?
Carlos: This was my third time auditioning. I auditioned in Season 4 and 5. I sucked back then so I didn’t even make it to Vegas but this time I had more confidence in myself and I had more training, and I thought I showed that to the judges. They did remember me from previous seasons.
Brittany: This was my first time auditioning for the show, and I am so excited and thankful that I did make it to the top 20 because a lot of people like Carlos have tried out many times before. I had wanted to do the show since Season 2 and I put my mind to it and succeeded.
Brittany, You and Surge had auditioned together and were together throughout the entire audition process. How did it feel when you made it on to the show and he did not, and do you think he’ll come back again in a future season?
Brittany: It was definitely the most bittersweet thing I think I’ve ever experienced. Surge is the best partner I could have asked for and he is such a hard worker and I was so sad that he didn’t make it because he had tried out in previous seasons. The judges brought us in together and they told us that Surge was no longer in the competition and that I had succeeded, and I just cried so much. I just bawled. I was so sad to see Surge go just because we’d been in it together since the beginning, and he wasn’t going to be experiencing it with me anymore so it was definitely really sad. If there is a next season I think Surge will audition. I don’t know what the future holds though and I hope he does audition and succeeds and moves on to the show because I think he would do a really great job.