SYTYCD – Interview with Hayley and Paul, last 2 to be eliminated before the finale!

With the Season 10 of So You Think You Can Dance winding down, with the finale next week… this weeks episode was a great one. There were no bottom 2 guys & bottom 2 girls… they all danced a solo in addition to dancing one routine with an all-star & one being pared up with one of the top 6.

Top 6


Jessie Tyler Ferguson was the guest judge this week & he was not disappointed… especially after we learned he has had a crush on dancer Aaron!! After all the contestants danced their hearts out, Cat Deeley delivered the news of who had made it into next weeks finale… Aaron Turner, Amy Yakima (how can you NOT root for her, she has Yak in her name!!), Fik-Shun & Jasmine Harper made up the top 4… Leaving Paul Karmiryan & Hayley Erbert to say their goodbyes, just short of the finish line.

Paul & Hayley

Going this whole process and getting so close to the finale, what are the emotions like now?  Is it joy because you made it so darn far in the competition and you had so much praise, or is it just frustration that you were one step away from the finale?

Hayley: It’s a really bittersweet moment at this point, because we were so close to the finale.  But I am so proud of Aaron, Fik-Shun, Jasmine, and Amy for making it, because they’re just amazing, obviously at dance, and they’re just like incredible human beings too, because I got so close with them over the week.  But, yes, I’m really upset that I didn’t get to show America my last bit, but I’m still so happy that I even made it this far because I had never expected that I would make it this far to begin with so I’m just so blessed to have even gotten this opportunity at all.

Paul: It’s practically the same thing.  Of course it’s everyone’s goal to make it to the finale and to make it all the way.  But just thinking back to, for me the L.A. auditions and just the journey I made from L.A. to now, it’s amazing even thinking that I’ve come this far.  And I have no regrets, and I think that’s the most important thing, and it’s just been such a great journey and such a great experience and I’ve learned so much and grown as a person.  Of course it is bittersweet, like Hayley said, where you would want to go all the way to the end of the experience and actually have the full potential of dancing each possible dance that you could have on the show, but then again everything happens for a reason and Fik-Shun, Aaron, Amy, and Jasmine, they all deserve to be there, and it really was a hard decision for America, I think.  This season has been so strong, and I wish them the best.  Yes, no regrets.  No regrets.


What are your plans for the future now that you have this experience under your belt?

Hayley: Well, I’m planning on moving out to L.A. to start my dance career and whatnot, and I’m going to try to sign with an agency and just kind of figure out my dancing career in that way.  And also I’ve always wanted to try to get into the acting field and be in movies, or even commercial work or anything, so I would love to go into acting.  But I would also love to be a backup dancer for Justin Bieber or someone, just really anything right now.  The show has opened a ton of doors, but I’m just kind of excited to see what my future is going to be like now after this.

Paul: I would definitely want to continue dancing.  It is something that I love to do.  And I would love to be on Dancing with the Stars or any of the ballroom shows that are going on right now.  And definitely, like Hayley said, I’ve always wanted to act, and I would love to get into acting and just be out in the entertainment industry and just take any opportunity that comes from this.  It’s such a great opportunity to start off your career.  And it’s really not the end, it’s only the beginning.


You guys already discussed the emotions you’re feeling right now, but going back to that night, are you both surprised that you got eliminated?  Paul, the judges mentioned many times this season they could picture you winning the whole thing, and Hayley, they always raved about you.  So what are your thoughts on that?

Paul: For me it wasn’t really a surprise, because going into the top six yesterday, we all just got together and we just discussed that, like everyone just deserved to be there and everyone was such an amazing dancer and such an amazing person.  And I guess going in we just thought of it not as something that was very competitive and that it was the end to something, it was more like we had gone through this journey and we had to think of it as more of a celebration that we had come to the top six.  So it wasn’t a shock.  Definitely Fik-Shun and Aaron deserved to be in the finale and the top six, and so did Jasmine and Amy, but the idea was that everyone did deserve to, and anything that would happen, it happens for a reason, I believe, and it wasn’t a shock to me.  I would love to be in the finale, of course, but they also deserve to be there, so I’m not disappointed.  And especially from the guys, everyone, they’re so talented and I’m just happy for them.

Hayley: Yes, basically exactly what Paul said.  It really wasn’t that much of a shock to me.  I think it was more of a shock to me that I even made it that far to begin with, and so I was not disappointed at all.  I was a little disappointed, because of course everyone wants to make it to the finale and the main goal is to win the show, but it was just so great to be just a part of the show because of the camaraderie that we had.  We were just like a huge family and we were all just so supportive of each other.  So we didn’t really consider it a competition very much.  It was not that big of a surprise at all that I was going home.  And I’m just so, so proud of Jasmine and Amy because they’re just amazing and they deserve it so much I’m just blessed to have made it this far, for sure.


When you both danced the contemporary routine together, Mary Murphy and Nigel cracked a couple of jokes that you’d make a great looking couple and should date in real life.  What was going through your minds at that moment?   And is there any hope of that actually happening down the road?

Paul: That’s so funny.  Throughout the season there have been so many accusations and just relationships that people would want to see.  A lot of people would constantly tell me and Makenzie to get married.  I love Makenzie and I love Hayley, but I don’t know if I love them in that way.  Do you know what I mean?  Really, behind the scenes everyone has their own personality, everyone has their own thing towards who they like and whatever it is, so it could go anyway.  I don’t know.  Relationships just don’t happen because they look right.  There have to be other things that are going on personally.

Hayley: Yes, Paul basically nailed it.  I have a boyfriend right now, so it wouldn’t have happened any time soon if it were to happen.  But yes, like he said we’ve all been trying to get to know each other over these past few weeks and it could be a complete possibility, like anybody in the top 20 could end up being in a relationship.  We’ve just been getting to know each other and so we don’t know everyone’s full personality or anything to go into a serious relationship or any of that.  Paul is a gorgeous person, so that would be great.

Paul: Thank you.

Hayley: …So I guess you never know, but as of right now I don’t really see anything because I have a boyfriend …


Hayley, you had several different partners throughout the competition, Curtis, Nico, last night Paul, not to mention the All Stars, what does working with all these different partners bring to your experience?

Hayley: Dancing with different partners definitely was amazing, because everybody has their own strengths.  And so it was great to experience because there was never once that I was like feeling the same way with a partner.  And in dance you have to connect with a partner really fast, so I think that was kind of to my advantage, because I was just given the opportunity to connect with so many different partners so quickly that I feel like that’s really going to help me out in the future.  Every partner that I worked with was amazing and I had such a great time with all of them, so I think it really just added to my experience throughout the entire thing.  And I wish I could have made it into the finale and gotten to dance with literally all of them, but we’ll all be together for a tour and so you never know what dancers they’ll put in or add in, so I’m really excited for it.


Paul, do you have a favorite moment or a favorite dance routine that you did while you were on the show? 

Paul: That’s a very hard question, because I feel like every week was its own highlight and it was its own moment, really thinking about how each genre literally brought a different aspect to the table and I enjoyed every single genre differently.  And there wasn’t one routine where I was like, “Oh my God, I hate this routine.  I don’t want to do it.”  And I feel like that’s very rare because sometimes there are moments where people just are not content with their genres.  And in my case I really enjoyed all of my genres.
I was thinking about it today, that if I could think about one genre that I like the most which one would it be, I really can’t.  Not even my own genre I can isolate from the other ones.  And in a sense if you want me to give an answer, I would totally say the Edge of Glory dance by Mandy Moore, the contemporary that we did, me and Makenzie, it was our last dance together and it was just one of those, the moment that we shared together on the stage was very genuine and it just meant a lot to us.  But then again, the week after I worked with Witney and we did a cha cha, and then I worked with Comfort and we did a hip hop, and then Kathryn this week, and Hayley, every week was just its own great moment.  And the thing is I had no regrets with any of them, so the whole experience was great as a whole.


You were on So You Think You Can Dance Armenia, and I was wondering how the two experiences compared to each other.

Paul: Armenia’s So You Think You Can Dance brought so many great moments for me, and it was just a life changing experience for me.   It made me grow as a dancer.  I think, because I’ve only been dancing four and a half years, it really made me mature very quickly, and through that experience I strived to participate in So You Think You Can Dance America because I knew that I would grow even more.  Because there’s no doubt that when comparing Armenia and America the level is different, because Armenia’s population is less than Los Angeles’ population and there are different choreographers there and there’s different contestants and competition there, and here it’s on a different level also.  We have choreographers that are known worldwide, although both of these experiences I would never take back and never regret any moment of.  So, yes, there are many differences between Armenia and America.  They were the same show but both of them were completely different in my life as a whole.


Now that the tour will be coming up soon, which dances, whether it’s ones you’ve done or ones that other contestants, other dancers have done, would you like to see featured on the tour?

Paul: I would love to see Mark and Janelle dance the, what is it called, the K-pop or jazz funk.  It was such a unique genre that it was like, I can’t even say what genre, but that’s totally one.  I would love to see Tucker and Robert’s, the medicine dance that they did.  Hayley, anything that you’d want to see?

Hayley: There are so many dances to choose from that were amazing this season.  It’s so hard to say.

Paul: It really is, because it’s like whenever you’re behind the scenes and you just see the growth of the dancers and you see what they become and how amazing each individual, like from the choreographer to the dancers, puts into the dance to create this masterpiece, every one just grows on you because that’s what creates the season, all the different dances.  And there were so many that were so impossible.  Even if the audience didn’t like it, it was very impactful to us.

Hayley: Yes.

Paul: Because you saw the difference of the dance, like, for example, there were so many people that did dances that were out of their genre and it was just very amazing to see them do so great in that genre.  And it made that dance great for me.

Hayley: I think my ideal show would probably be just like to combine every single piece – the entire season, keep like rotating them through, that way it’s not too long.  That would be my ideal show.


Of the dancers that were partnered with the All Stars, is there one dance you would love to dance, is there one routine that either of you would want to dance in place of the All Star?

Hayley: Oh, that’s so hard.

Paul: In place of the All Star, oh my God, this is a hard one.

Hayley: I know.  I honestly cannot pick a dance.  Really any of them would be amazing, because I think this is definitely one of the best seasons.  There hasn’t been a single dance with an All Star that looks weak.  They’re all so strong, and I think that’s just amazing for us.   So I don’t even think I can pick one of those, I feel so indecisive, but this season has been amazing.

Hayley, when you left Topeka in May to go audition in Texas, what you thought you’d be doing right about now is settling into a dorm and starting your freshman year of college instead of preparing for a 42 city tour.  Has it really settled in for you yet how much life has changed for you in just a few months?

Hayley: It is actually so strange.  I auditioned in Austin in January, so I knew that I was going to Vegas for quite a few months until Vegas actually happened, but I never imagined that I was even going to make it through to Vegas, and then when I made it through Vegas I didn’t think I’d make South Pawnee, and then when I made South Pawnee I never thought I’d make it this far.  So it’s just been crazy.
Yes, I was planning on going to Chapman University this fall, and as I just kept going further and further in the show, I was like, okay, I guess I’m not going anymore.  But it’s just kind of crazy to even think about that, because right before I left for the show I was graduating high school and then I was planning on going to college, and now I’m here.  And now I get to go on tour and it’s just completely mind blowing to me because my life has just changed in so many ways, and I think it was for the best.  Like Paul’s been saying, everything happens for a reason, and I truly do believe that so maybe going to college now wasn’t what was meant to be for my life, but we’ll just kind of play it by ear and everything really will happen for a reason.  We’ll just see what God throws at me, I guess.


With the success both you and Fik-Shun have had on Season 10, what’s that say about Kansas being a pretty good breeding ground for topnotch dancers?

Hayley: Yes, I don’t think people think of Kansas as being very, I don’t really know, like very resourceful or anything, so it really proved to people that just because you’re from a small state or a small town that doesn’t mean anything, as long as you put the work and effort into it.  And all of the studios in Kansas are amazing, and I don’t think people really realize that, so it just really does prove to people that you can get training anywhere, as long as you have good training and you have the work ethics that you need to be successful, you’ll be totally fine.


It’s been established that you have a boyfriend and that Curtis took you on a date earlier in the season just to work on your chemistry onstage as partners, and Kat Deeley kind of focused in on that during one episode and made it seem like you two were really dating.  So taking into account that situation and the one about you maybe potentially dating Paul down the road and how you guys would make a cute couple, was that a little frustrating for you at all, or make you a little bit uncomfortable? 

Hayley: I know what’s going down and I know that they’re just pretty much kidding about me and Paul dating.  The Curtis thing was kind of taken out of proportion, but it doesn’t really bother me as much as I think it kind of bothers my boyfriend.  But I’ve told him it’s for the show and he knows that I’m just friends with all of these guys, so I mean, it really hasn’t caused any problems or anything.  I think it’s fine.


Reflecting on both of your performances last week, Paul, you did an awesome job with the hip hop routine and you really surprised the judges – Hayley, you performed that great rumba.  Do you guys have any insight as to why maybe your votes weren’t coming in? 

Paul: Well, the thing with the show is it’s so unpredictable.  I hadn’t fallen to the bottom at all and I had a great run with the hip hop.  And the thing is it’s not always what we’ve come to understand.  It’s not always about America’s best dancers.  It just depends on what America thinks.  It has to do with being a favorite dancer also.  And I guess, like we just … it’s not tragic because Aaron and Fik-shun and Amy and Jasmine, they’re all great people and they’re all great dancers, so it could have gone either way.  And it’s just everything happens for a reason.  So it’s just how America saw it this week and it happened the way it did.

Hayley: I was basically going to say the same thing.  It is all based off of America’s votes, so you never know what’s going to happen.  A lot of times people don’t connect with a ballroom dance because America doesn’t know how cool ballroom truly is, and that could have been a part of it.  But also America obviously loves Amy and Jasmine, and they totally deserve it, so I’m completely content with leaving the finale to them.


Paul, You spent much of the competition dancing alongside Makenzie, and you were an absolutely beautiful couple to watch. She had said that she was so lucky to have you as a partner because you were the reason behind the two of you doing so well.  What is your reaction to that?

Paul: Makenzie is just – I was so shocked that Makenzie got cut so early, not early but she didn’t go all the way, I thought that she definitely deserved to be in the finale at least.  She’s just such an amazing person.  And really working with her was just so different because we connected on a different level.  And we became so close and we became such great friends, and she’s just been so supportive of me through this journey, even after she got cut.  And you know the fact that she is such a great person and such a great dancer, I respect her so much for that.  And I know that it’s not the end, we’re going to be dancing together in the finale and on tour, and I just love working with her and I know that she has such a bright future ahead of her and I know that she will be successful in what she does.
And I just wish that America saw what a great personality she had, because backstage she was so goofy and she was just so fun to be around and not only beautiful in terms of her looks, but beautiful on the inside too.  And I just wish her the best and I thank her for being such a great partner, because the time that I spent with her, we never got our genre, my genre, sorry, we never got Latin ballroom, and we always got contemporary or jazz and it was mainly her genre, and she just helped me so much throughout those genres and made it such a great work process and it was great working with her, and her work ethic is amazing.  And I wish her the best.


Is there anything that either of you have learned, or that you take away from the experience that has either changed you as a person or changed your perspective about dance?

Paul: Well, every single day changed my perspective about dance and changed me as a person, because every single day it was literally this obstacle that we had to succumb and pass and just going through practices that were literally draining of your not only physical self, but also your mental self.  And being able to overcome those challenges and being able to conquer routines that you’ve never really danced before, and being able to just do the best that you can every single day, even though you know that you have no energy in your body, especially this last performance that we had, everyone was really drained, even if we wanted to continue and we had the fight to continue and do our best, our bodies were literally not complying with us.
There were moments where it was like we would fight to finish the routine until the end, but your muscles just give up. We’re still human after all, and the fact that we had to overcome these challenges, it really made us grow and mature as people.  And it’s a great experience, so … an amazing experience, and I truly wish that everyone could experience it, because it makes you grow so much as a person.  And of course it makes you grow as a dancer, but dance, I will be dancing for many years continuing after the show, but I know that what I will take with me even more is how much I grew as a person and the experiences I gained, and the knowledge and maturity I gained throughout the show.  So that’s really one of the biggest things that I know I will remember from the show.


SYTYCD: Interview with The Top 12’s Malece and Alan

We started the Top 12 show off with a very high energy and interesting group Bollywood routine by Nakul Dev Mahajan, followed by Cat Deeley explaining why there were only 11 dancers. We learned dancer Tucker Knox had an infection in his knee which kept him from rehearsing with his partner Jenna Johnson for their routine, but it did not stop him from “Dancing for his life” as he and his partner landed in the bottom six, along with Alan Bernsen, Malece Miller, Nico Greetham and Amy Yackima. The judges gave immediate safety to Jenna & Nico, leaving Alan, Malece, Amy and Tucker to dance in their genre’s hoping to impress the judges enough to make it through to the Top 10, and into the SYTYCD Tour!!

Group Bollywood

The 11 dancers (minus Tucker who could not dance with Jenna this week due to his knee infection preventing him from rehearsing) gave some high energy and breathtaking performances. After the partners performed their routines, we seen a group performance by the Top 5 guys (minus Tucker) dancing a hip hop routine by Nappy Taps and a group performance by the Top 6 girls who danced a beautiful contemporary routine by Stacey Tookey.   Then, before the elimination, Nigel explained how hard the decision was, and the he was going to personally make the suggestion that the one’s eliminated would be allowed to tour with the Top 10 as alternates. Then, Nigel gave the news to Alan & Malece that they would be leaving the competition, which we could all see everyone, including the remaining Top 10 dancers.

Alan & Malece


The Yak got to listen in to the interview conference call this week and here are Malece and Alan’s thoughts on their elimination, fellow dancers and the possibility of going on the SYTYCD tour as alternates…


Malece… You were considered a frontrunner throughout the competition thus far.  The judges always seemed to gush about you.  You had never landed in the bottom six before, but Jenna and Mackenzie both landed in the bottom three times apiece this season and they’re still in it.  Knowing that, were you surprised to get eliminated and how does that make you feel?

Malece: Yes, I was definitely shocked to be eliminated the first time that I was in the bottom, but I adore Mackenzie and Jenna both.  I think they definitely deserve to be there.


Alan, you had landed in the bottom six, three times this season, but just got eliminated this week.  It’s kind of the opposite perspective…  Why do you think the judges were holding on to you?  And because of that track record, did you kind of sense this week was going to be your time to go?

Alan: Yes, I have no idea why the judges were holding on to me.  I’m hoping that they liked the way I danced because they kept keeping me on the show.  Yes, after I heard that I was in the bottom again I sort of expected that I was going to be cut, but I didn’t give up hope.  I still tried my best.


Malece, we just talked a little bit about Jenna and Mackenzie.  Do you have any idea what the judges and choreographers’ fascination with them is?  What do you think they saw in those girls that maybe America was missing, since they weren’t really getting the votes each week?

Malece: I don’t know.  Mackenzie and Jenna are both amazing, technically strong.  I think all six of us girls were great.  So I think no matter what the decision would’ve been hard.


Alan, because you landed in the bottom a few times, what do you think America wasn’t seeing in you?  Do you wish they had seen anything in particular that you believe they were missing?  Can you recall anything you would’ve liked to do on that show that might’ve boosted your votes a little bit that maybe you didn’t get a chance to do?

Alan: Starting from the beginning, I believe I was one of the only people who didn’t get a solo shown from the audition practice.  So people only recognized me starting with the top 20.  While the other dancers already had some fan base from their auditions, I was like starting fresh.  Maybe if I was just shown a little bit more personality towards the beginning America could’ve connected better with me.


Does it kind of worsen the blow of your elimination a little bit more knowing you were just shy of making the So You Think You Can Dance tour?  Are you both considering taking Nigel’s advice in that he suggested audition to be alternates, I think he said?

Malece: I definitely think that made this whole elimination a lot harder knowing that we were just one week away from top ten, but I hope we both get to be alternates on the tour.  I’d love to audition for that.

Alan: Same.  It’s nice to know that we made it this far, but it’s so much harder getting cut right before the tour.  Of course I would love to be on the tour.  So if Nigel could help us out—


In the jazz dance you both performed, it pretty much seemed to be the consensus that you were kind of missing chemistry and the way you executed some of the moves made Nigel disappointed.  He said he was a little uncomfortable watching it.  What’s your reaction to that?  Why did you seem to struggle with that dance?

 Malece: I am a little bit shocked at Nigel’s comments just because Alan and I had so much fun doing that dance together.

Alan: Malece and I connected, I thought, pretty well in the dance.  We had a lot of fun working with each other.  I thought we executed it pretty well.  I think that the judges might’ve just been like nit picking so it would’ve been easier to cut us for that night.


Last week you both received raving reviews for your salsa routine in that the lifts were amazing and you two kept up your energy as best as possible.  As a result, Anna Kendrick noted she’d love for you two to make a baby together.  You both clearly laughed at that.  What went through your mind?  Is there any hope of a little romantic chemistry between you guys or no?

 Alan: I don’t think so.

Malece: I don’t know.  Yes, I don’t know.  I was kind of shocked when she said that.  I didn’t really know how to feel or what to think.

Alan: It was a shock to me as well.  Malece is awesome, but with the height difference our baby might be short.  No, I’m kidding.  Malece is a wonderful girl.

Malece: Yes, I love Alan.


When we talked to Curtis last week he explained he took his partner Hayley out on a date just to work on their connection and chemistry as dancers.  Since that was kind of one of the main critiques you two had, about your chemistry, did that ever cross your minds that maybe spending a little time together outside of the competition might improve your showmanship?

Malece: Yes and no, but we didn’t have a lot of time to do a lot of other things.

Alan: Yes, this week was very hectic.  We didn’t have a lot of time to go out at all.  Also, Hayley and Curtis have been partners since the beginning and Malece and I just started together.


Why did you originally audition for the show?  How many times did you try out before actually making it into the top 20?

Malece: This is my second year trying out.  I didn’t even make it to Vegas last year.


What made you originally want to audition, Malece?

Malece: Just watching it growing up.  Definitely … I was just really obsessed and that’s all I wanted to do my whole life.


And how about you, Alan?

Alan: It’s been a dream to be on this show.  Right when I got the first opportunity to do it I tried out.  This is my first time auditioning.  I really just wanted to dance.  It gave me a great opportunity to learn and dance at the same time.


What’s next for you?  What are your future plans and goals now that you have the strong foundation of the show to build on?

Malece: I just want to continue dancing wherever I can.  I’m hoping to just keep the momentum going and hopefully stay working.

Alan: Same.  I want to use this momentum and move forward with more commercial work.  Maybe not just do ballroom anymore but go outside of my element and dance in other styles as well.

Malece: And maybe we can tour.

Alan: And hopefully we’ll tour.  Hopefully we’ll be on the tour.


Next week as the Top 10 dancers compete, they lose their partners & will now be partnering up with an All-Star veteran dancer from previous seasons. This is always a favorite part of the show… seeing returning favorites mentor the current dancers and it always seems to take on a more intense and passionate feel as the dancers are getting closer to being named “America’s Favorite Dancer!”

SYTYCD – Interview with Mariah and BluPrint

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!


Mariah & BluPrint

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!



Happy 200th, SYTYCD – A Look Back At Some Iconic Routines

How do you begin to even name off the top dance routines from the last 199 episodes of So You Think You Can Dance? Ever since the show kicked off with season 1, there has been routine after routine that has stood out in the eyes of many fans. In looking back at the iconic reality competition series, we thought of counting down our favorite 10 or 20 routines. Then we realized that was impossible. It rarely is a challenge to rank performances from a reality competition series. Usually everyone has their favorite, but we couldn’t pinpoint just one. And that’s not because there isn’t a routine worthy of being named a favorite. Rather, how do you just choose between routines that hit you so personally and to the core? It’s like choosing your one and only favorite child.

If we wanted to, we could rank some of the top routines from each choreographer. No other show has the distinction of so much talent behind the scenes to showcase the talent right on the stage. We could go by choreographer. We could go by genre. We could go by season. We could go by male vs. female. We could go by routines judges have claimed to love in the past. The possibilities are endless. So, instead of wracking our brains to rank and pit some of the best of the best against each other, we’re just going to take you down memory lane and post some of our personal favorites.

Tonight, on the show’s 200th episode, Season 9 names the Top 20 that will no doubt have us glued to our TVs. If you ask me, a milestone like 200 episodes is a perfect outlet to name the 20 contestants that will work hard through blood, sweat, and tears and win the hearts of Americans this summer. So, without further adieu and in no particular order, with every line, leap, swag, buccness, and hot tamales, here are some of our favorite SYTYCD routines. Be sure to let us know your favorites down below in our comments and don’t forget to watch tonight’s Top 20 reveal at 8/7c on Fox!

To kick it all off, enjoy this 200 Moves in 200 Seconds clip garnished by the people at Fox. We recommend not even looking for your favorite, but rather to just enjoy the fluidity of the clip and marvel at the moves. Make sure you click on through to see all of the others!

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‘SYTYCD’: An Open Letter to Network Executives

An Open Letter to Executives of the Fox Television Network

Not long after the world celebrated the onset of 2012, So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) Executive Producer and Judge, Nigel Lythgoe, posted a message on his @dizzyfeet Twitter account regarding upcoming Season 9 of SYTYCD. “#FOX have cancelled the results show so I will have to change the format of #SYTYCD. At least we have another season at the end of MAY.”

In a world where social media is prevalent, the news was not taken lightly by fans of the Emmy nominated reality series. Rumors have already started spreading as to possible changes the show will have to undergo without a results show. Worries that the title “America’s Favorite Dancer” would have to be tweaked have begun to spread like wildfire.

In a world where reality or alternative programming to scripted television is prevalent and enjoyed by fans across the country, cancelling the Results Show portion of a program is, putting it bluntly, a terrible and miscalculated mistake. SYTYCD has become a summer staple program in many houses across America. In a world where wholesome family programming is hard to find, SYTYCD offered such an option for families to get together and enjoy true talent showcased on television for 3 hours a week (with a 2 hour performance show and a one hour results telecast). During the latter telecast where America’s votes are revealed, some of the best SYTYCD dances – including some of the Emmy award nominated pieces – were performed as the contestants joined forces in powerful and moving group numbers.

Many Results telecasts of similar programs have been touted by fans and critics to be filled with “filler.” While shows like The Voice and The Sing-Off have televised seasons without Results Shows, SYTYCD Results Shows offer something extra for fans. From group numbers choreographed and performed with such passion and fluid movement to some breathtaking “Dance For Your Life” moments, SYTYCD Results Shows are not filled with overblown recaps and guest performance after guest performance like some other shows. While that format may suffice other reality programs, the format that Lythgoe and SYTYCD producers have adopted for SYTYCD has been all about showcasing the talent. After all, isn’t the talent what it’s all about? Isn’t showcasing the art of choreography and dance without gimmicks what the show is about?

In 2007, SYTYCD was critically recognized when it took home it’s first 2 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Choreography. In 2008, SYTYCD was nominated three times – for three different choreographers – and took home another Emmy for Outstanding Choreography. The streak continued with 23 more nominations by the industry for Outstanding Choreography from 2009 to the present day. Of those 23 nominations, the show took home 10 more Emmys. We can’t forget the nominations of 2011 when host Cat Deeley was nominated for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program – a long overdue recognition. SYTYCD also touted a nomination in this little award category of Outstanding Reality-Competition Program. Not to mention, countless of entertainment sites around the web have named SYTYCD in their “Best Of 2011” features, including YakkityYaks.

While we understand this move by the Network does not guarantee that Season 9 is indeed the show’s final season, we fans know and understand that such a move unfortunately does not bode well for this under-rated and under-appreciated network gem.

To all SYTYCD fans, if you agree with the thoughts noted above, please do your part in sharing this open letter and let the network executives of Fox know that we do not appreciate this move and we hope that they reconsider – even if it means a 30 minute Results telecast versus the usual hour. We here at the Yak do not support this decision by the powers that be with Fox.

This writer can say that the Fox network will be boycotted during the hour originally intended for the SYTYCD Results telecast for any non-SYTYCD related programming.

Thank you for reading.

Kasey Olmstead and JD Montgomery

News on the Reality Front!

Not much going on in Reality lately, but a good amount of shows are coming up! Here is the latest on your favorites:

Big Brother: Matt McDonald (BB Season 9) pleaded guilty for conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, admitting his involvement in a drug ring that also included his season’s winner, Adam Jasinski. Both are now facing a maximum prison time of 20 years. Adam has been under treatment for substance abuse has been under house arrest since 2009, and is due to be sentenced today in Massachusetts. Matt will have to wait for his sentencing until April. I guess they won’t be included when Big Brother does the next All Star round? Must be Karma for treating BB9 Jesus loving Natalie the wrong way.

Mary Murphy Return Official! Mary Murphy will be returning as a regular judge on So You Think You Can Dance on this upcoming 8th season set to air this Summer. “I am thrilled and already dancing in my seat to be back as a permanent judge this season, which I’m sure will be the best ever.” Murphy stated. Get ready to ride the hot tamale train!!

Pick your Survivor Finalist! As we had reported earlier, Survivor is allowing us fans to choose one of the finalists for the competition! To vote, go HERE to watch the videos, then pick your favorite. Maybe you will be the deciding vote!

American Idol: No one wants the ‘villain’ role.  The new judging panel will not be embracing their inner Simon apparently. No one wants to play the villain, rather, critique young idol wanna-be’s on how they can improve. “There’s nothing like having that kind of discussion with another artist to help you grow,” Lopez said. They want to help rather than hurt. Well, that’s great for the ones that aren’t half bad… but are they all playing the Paula card when it comes to those that really should not be singing?

Sarah Palin’s Alaska canned. We here are unsure whether it was by choice, or a network decision, but the rumor mill has it that ratings after the premier were horrible, and the network made the decision to not renew the show. No word from the Palin camp about it.

Mike Tyson gets his own show, about pigeons? You heard me right. The heavyweight boxing champion, convicted rapist and occasional actor is apparently a pigeon farmer? Not just common or garden pigeons mind you, but racing pigeons, or as Tyson puts it “the creme de la creme of the pigeon world. These are thoroughbred pigeons. Pigeons were mens’ first feathered friends”. “Taking on Tyson”, which comes to the Animal Planet cable TV channel in March, is a six-part documentary in which the former world heavyweight champion returns to his Brooklyn neighborhood to race pigeons. Sesame Street Bert would be so proud. Let’s just hope Tyson isn’t an Ozzie fan.

Well, there you have it folks! The biggest news in Reality TV this week. So, what do you think? Are you going to go pick your fave for Survivor? Are you happy to see Mary Return? Are you sad to see Palin snubbed? Will you watch a show all about pigeons? Let us know below or in the FORUM!

‘SYTYCD:’ Mia Michaels OUT, Mary Murphy IN

We have another change at the judge’s table next summer for So You Think You Can Dance. After joining the judge’s panel for one season, Mia Michaels is out and will not be retuning to the show. In a statement she released, she said that she wants to focus on her own world. (Editor’s note: Wasn’t she always concerned with Mia’s world??). Mia does make a point to state that the decision was her decision and not Lythgoe or any show runner. “Last year when I was sitting on the panel, I knew it wasn’t the right fit because I felt too glossy sitting on the panel. People were so focused on what I wore and my hair. I wanted to get dirty and back to the work. I am an artist and I’m a visionary. I need to paint my world now and not be constantly linked to So You Think You Can Dance. It’s been a great platform,” Michaels says. “It was a wonderful platform. I’m staring at [my] two Emmys right now. It was an amazing, amazing thing for me but I feel like I have to fly. I have to now focus on Mia’s world.” Well, and focus on Mia’s world she will do. She has an upcoming Bravo reality show, will be writing her own memoir, and is developing her own Broadway show.

Who will be replacing her? According to Mia, she’s heard that Mary Murphy will be back to the table placing claim to her chair and bringing us back her hot tamale train. SYTYCD will return next summer for the latest installment. So Yakkster’s what do you think about the news? Excited? Bummed? Let us know below and join our FORUMS to discuss!