Dancing their way home.
In an unprecedented double couple elimination So You Think You Can Dance judges sent four contestants home in Season Eight’s first elimination round. America didn’t have much time to enjoy the dancing talents of breaker Wadi Jones, tapper Nick Young, ballroom champion Iveta Lukosiute and jazzy Missy Morelli, but do doubt we’ll see these dance stars again as they develop their careers and look to the future. Dance Informa spoke with Wadi, Nick and Iveta the morning after their shock departures.
Were you surprised to be eliminated?
I wasn’t anticipating anything really, because anything happens. Last week nobody expected all of us to stay, and nobody expected the bottom three to be who they were. This week I never expected even Ryan or Ricky to be bottom three, so it was shocking, in general. I went in with the mindset that whatever happens it’s really meant to happen and to be prepared to be bottom three and maybe go home.
I was surprised because I thought this show was about versatility and showing different genres of dancers. I was the only ballroom dancer, Nick was the only tap dancer and Wadi was the break dancer. It was strange to me that on the first elimination they got rid of all these different styles.
I 120% agree with Iveta. But you never really know who is going to be in the bottom. I think it is kind of ironic that the bottom three this week were completely different than the bottom three last week. But the judges did what they thought was right. I’m a little disappointed. I definitely thought I was going to get a little bit farther than the first week.
How do you all feel about the judge’s decision to not send anyone home last week? Do you think the twist was fair?
It’s hard, looking back on it, knowing that we weren’t in the bottom three last week and they didn’t cut anybody. And the bottom three could have been different this week if they had cut someone last week. All the dance styles we picked totally could have changed too. Unfair might not be the word because they can do whatever they want, it’s their decision, but I’m definitely a little upset about it now.
Last week was kind of cool because we have all built a very good bond with each other and it was nice to have everyone still there. It made it slightly more fair because America had an opportunity get to know everyone better, but at the same time, the fact that no one got eliminated last week and the bottom three completely changed, did make it a little bit unfair. But everything happened the way it should have happened and you can’t take any of that back.
I thought it was nice that we didn’t eliminate anyone the first week. It gave America an opportunity to see couples once more. Of course, I’m upset that I’m going home. I think maybe it would have been fair if every single couple at least had a chance to show that they could dance out of their style. I still feel that wasn’t that fair, because not everyone was out of their comfort zone all three weeks.
No, I don’t think so. I think each and every person brings something different and something very special to the show and it just so happened that no contemporary people went home this week. I think everybody was amazing and it just was according to how America felt about our actual dance pieces performed. I think it’s just the personalities and the talent in general. Anybody can be first.
I think that it has a lot to do with many things. It’s about your personality; it’s about your finesse. I do believe America wants to see different dances and different styles.
What was the most difficult dance style for you?
Obviously, the Cha-Cha was really hard for me because of all the technical parts about it, like making sure I had strong arms and my feet were doing what they were supposed to do while keeping my head up. It was just complicated because I am way more laid back and don’t think so much about structure.
I’d have to say it’s the one I got eliminated on. Bollywood is really, really intricate, with all the intricate hands that you have to do and all the footwork. It was definitely hard to keep my stamina up the whole time. But I had a lot of fun doing it. I don’t regret anything about the way I performed it. It’s just that America didn’t really like it.
The different dance styles have such varied degrees of difficulty. Should this be factored into the judging?
I love that they keep it random. Just this past week, we got Bollywood by chance. But it is hard, for me especially, to have danced out of my style twice in a row, with two of the hardest dances the show has ever had, when at the same time you have a lot of people still dancing in their own styles. I don’t want to be bitter, but it is hard to get eliminated on a week where a lot of people were still dancing in their own styles.
Who was your favorite choreographer?
I can’t pick a favorite because each one has such different styles and such different ways of teaching. Each choreographer, from Jean-Marc to Sonya and Tyce had something inspiring to say that had more to do with life than just dance and they taught us how to be better dancers and better people.
I loved working with Sonya. The passion she puts into her dancing and the passion she wants you to put into it, is just amazing and it says a lot about the kind of person she is. Working with Tyce was just a lot of fun. He’s just a really genuine guy and you know he means everything he says.
I enjoyed working with Jason Gilkison. He is a great choreographer and it was an honor for me to work with him. I thought every choreographer was great and unique in their own style. I learnt so much from how much passion they put into their work, how much they get done in such a short time. They inspire the dancers to believe in themselves and to be better.
What was the highlight of being on the show?
The highlight, honestly, was being able to connect so well with other dancers because where I’m from, unless I’m in the city or at a dancing event, there are not really any other dancers around me because my home town is very small. It was great to be in front of so many talented and amazing dancers who I can learn from, because you can only get better from being around people who are better. The other contestants were really the highlight for me. Also the choreographers were so amazing, and being in front of millions of people was great.
I think a highlight would have to be the family we created. We’re past friendship, we’re past best friendship; we’re family. We’re the family called Season Eight Top Twenty and we’re going to be the only ones that will ever be able to say that.
For me, it was amazing to see how the dancers can do so much more than they can imagine. I could not have imagined learning the most difficult choreography within only six hours and then performing it in two days on a stage in front of millions of people. Every single day I was thinking ‘how can we possibly perform this? It’s not possible’. But every single dancer learnt the choreography, perfected and performed it at their best. That was amazing. Every single performance was magical and having all the fans support you was a highlight.
Every week is a surprise and you never know who is going to be on the top or bottom or who America is going to vote for, so you can’t ever really say. There are no favorites because we all are such a big family.
I think everyone deserves to be a winner on this show because everyone works so hard and everyone is extremely talented.
Anybody could win. We could have won the show a couple of weeks ago, so you never know. Whoever wins, I’m going to be their biggest fan. We’re all a family and I don’t want to favor anyone over anyone else.
What do you have planned for the future?
I am not 100% positive of what I want to do, but I’m hoping to move out to New York City to try to start up a Broadway career. We’ll have to see what happens over the summer. I’m just going to take it one day at a time.
I am planning to open a ballroom studio this year in New York City. I was planning to do this even before I got on the show. I also enjoy all the television camera work so maybe I would like to try dancing on television. We’ll see…
Tadd Gadduang, another friend and I started a company before we went on the show called Dance Touch Collective. What we do is promote drug and alcohol abstinence for kids. We teach them about how to handle abuse and how to use dance, art or basically anything they love as an outlet instead of doing drugs. We started doing workshops with kids. I want to continue to do that and continue to reach out and inspire kids to go out and do what they love.
Photos: Portraits by James Dimmock/FOX, Action shots by Adam Rose/FOX