Just over 24 hours ago, So You Think You Can Dance lost 2 more dancers from its dynamic Season 8 cast. Miranda Maleski & Robert Taylor Jr. were eliminated from the competition. After dancing a Broadway number from choreographer Tyce Diorio, Miranda and Robert found themselves in the bottom 3, joined by fellow couples Chris Koehl/Ashley Rich and Caitlynn Lawson/Mitchell Kelly. Nigel Lythgoe mentioned that that judges unanimously decided to eliminate Robert from the competition, while someone behind the judge’s table put up a fight to try and keep Miranda around. Miranda Maleski, touted “Most Improved” this season by producer and judge Nigel Lythgoe, joined “WoOoOo Man” Robert Taylor Jr. earlier this morning for a press conference with members of the media. YakkityYaks.com is proud to announce that we were a part of this experience, and I, as your humble reporter who happened to be in attendance, will bring you all the juicy details from what we discussed.
On working with Tyce Diorio
While both Miranda and Robert are not Broadway dancers, they had no problems willing to adjust on stage for this routine. Miranda found working with Tyce to be an “amazing” experience. Robert, who has been on tour with Hairspray and has had experience with musical theater, was excited to work with Tyce. Upon finding out he “was going to be dancing to this song, with Tyce, I felt that this was going to feel really great…It was a blast and a great pleasure doing that piece.”
On not being able to dance their respective styles
Throughout the season, contestants seemingly get “lucky” in picking their respective styles out of the hat when it comes time to choosing the next dance. Miranda and Robert never found such luck. In fact, Miranda and Robert were the only 2 contestants this season who were not successful in pulling their own respective styles out of the hat, even during the initial Top 20 week when it seemed like everyone felt right at home. “That definitely helped us a lot as well as played against us a little bit.” Miranda went on to say that not being able to dance her style (Contemporary) was “upsetting.” As for Robert, not being able to work through his style was very difficult for him. He found it hard to keep up with Miranda week after week with all the new styles they had to pick up.
On Robert’s “Dance For Your Life” Solo
When asked if his solo, which included a lack of “tricks” compared to the others, may have led to his elimination, Robert responded it may have been a possibility. “What I incorporated in the solo were elements. I know at the beginning was the knee slide, the footwork, it comes from breaking. Also, part of the stuff towards the end of the solo is more of the grooving, more of the feeling,” referencing the evolution of hip-hop from the 90’s. Taking pride in being more of an “old-school” hip-hop dancer, Robert looks for more of the feeling during his dances versus the tricks.
On being “Most Improved”
“It can’t be a surprise because anything can happen on this show.” Miranda does wish for a better explanation as to why she was eliminated, especially the night after she was told she was the most improved on a show all about growth. “Everyone on that show is brilliant,” she went on to say; however, Miranda did feel as if she could have been given a bit more of a reason when Nigel called her name on stage seconds before her elimination.
On how much impact their personalities had on their role in the show
After being told countless times by Nigel Lythgoe that his personality could be too over-the-top, Robert understood his personality could work against him. He “didn’t want to let down fans who were with me from the very beginning as the WoOoOo man,” so he didn’t want to completely eliminate his vibrant personality from the stage. He believes it’s possible, however, that there were people who were turned off from the beginning with the “WoOoOo,” which might have hurt their chances to further themselves in the competition. Miranda thinks Nigel was the only one who believed in her. “I’m pretty sure I had his vote last night, but that he was out-voted by the other three” [regarding her elimination that was not unanimous among the judges].
On Nigel’s confusion regarding Chris dancing the woodpecker dance
Last night during the results show, Nigel Lythgoe complemented Chris Koehl on his role in the NappyTabs woodpecker dance from the Top 20 Redux performance show. Chris, however, was not a part of this routine. Miranda and Robert danced this piece, and fans began to wonder where Nigel’s confusion came about. As we discussed last night, Nigel also misspoke regarding Mitchell’s track in the bottom 3, so we’re not sure where such a disconnect came from. “I wanted to laugh, but it was such a serious moment that I held my composure at the same time,” Robert explained during the press conference. He wanted to pipe in to correct Nigel during the live show, but “kept character” at the moment. As we followed up on the question, both Miranda and Robert didn’t believe the results would have been changed by speaking up on the error in who danced the woodpecker routine. Miranda recalls sitting in the chair, “not understanding what he [Nigel] was saying.” Miranda chalked it up to human error and doesn’t believe speaking up would have impacted the results. “Things happen on live TV and you never know what’s gonna come out.”
On moving forward in their careers
Miranda believes that the show has helped her grow because, once again, she was the only girl who has really been out of her style throughout the season. “Hip-Hop is one of the things I really want to get into.” She plans on taking more classes and continuing with that style with auditions, especially after being told by NappyTabs that she took well to hip-hop. Robert has always wanted to dive into the arts. As far as dance, Robert would like to dance with Usher or Chris Brown because of their similarity to Michael Jackson. Robert would also like to dive into film/TV or guest host on VH1 or BET. “Sky’s the limit, but there’s a lot I would love to do.” As for Miranda, she plans on going out into the “real world” and looks forward to getting into acting. She plans on calling up Kanye West’s choreographer to see if she can pick up a job, considering she performed as a solo ballerina in a Kanye number at the Coachella Music Festival.
On dancing a style they weren’t able to perform on the show
As we mentioned earlier, Miranda wishes to have chosen Contemporary. “That was kind of upsetting for me for not having the chance to do that. A Travis Wall routine would have been awesome.” As for Robert, Poppin Pete is the choreographer he was most hoping to work with, but he realizes it is difficult to get people like that to choreograph for this show. Ironically, my question to Miranda and Robert brought out an unusual connection the two partners didn’t know existed. Miranda is actually best friend’s with Poppin Pete’s son. Who would have thought the Yak would get one of these dancers such a strong connection for their future?
On what the judge’s look for in the “Dance For Your Life” solos
Miranda candidly explained that she honestly has no idea what the judges look for in those solo routines. She believes the other girls danced beautifully, obviously, but she wasn’t sure what the judge’s considered in last night’s elimination. “I just wish they would have got to see me dance my style,” she explained knowing that her only opportunity was during last night’s solos. Ironically, Robert felt much better with last night’s solo than the solo from the initial Top 20 show. “I didn’t want to flip for my life. I don’t do tricks.” Robert prides himself on using the stage more and including more floor work last night. He believed he didn’t get much feedback on the dancing, but rather it was more focused on his personality, which he worked to tone down.
On the highlight of this season
Miranda: NappyTabs routine because “I was so out of my element…this show is about pushing yourself to the next level, doing dance styles you never thought you could do.”
Robert: “Being on the stage with Miranda every single time. We were growing so much together as a team.” Robert does not believe the judge’s saw that growth, and that the judges weren’t able to see more of his serious side. Robert went on to discuss how he believes he was the first dancer on the show to show America what hip-hop really is because he included the feeling. He doesn’t focus or spend time on tricks, but rather feeling. Robert jokingly wished he included tricks last night because then maybe we wouldn’t be talking to him today.
We’d like to thank Miranda and Robert for the opportunity to chat with them and we wish them the best of luck. Don’t forget, YOU can ask the So You Think You Can Dance dancers a question. Just let the Yak know what your question is and yours could be asked to the next eliminated couple!