Caitlin Kinney, Phillip Chbeeb dish on 'So You Think You Can Dance'
By Christopher Rocchio, 07/14/2009
Caitlin Kinney found herself among the bottom three vote getters three times during her So You Think You Can Dance journey, but she said it helped her overcome her biggest hurdle in the competition.
"I felt so blessed every week to even be there. Every week, you can ask anyone, I would be like, 'Guys, it's my last week.' Not that I was pessimistic, but for me, getting that confidence that a lot of these contestants have has been my struggle and my fight," Kinney told reporters during a Friday conference call.
"I think some of the best advice that I got on the show was that never doubt yourself. Always question yourself, but never doubt yourself. Every week, I think I improved a little bit in that. And I was like the bottom three champ. I was like the mom of the bottom three... I loved every second of being on that show, bottom three, not bottom three, whatever. I got to dance more."
The 21-year-old contemporary dancer from Annapolis, MD, and Phillip Chbeeb, a 20-year-old popping dancer who currently resides in Los Angeles, CA, became the next two finalists eliminated from So You Think You Can Dance's fifth season during Thursday night's live results show on Fox.
After his ouster, Chbeeb told viewers he hopes that his experience inspired others to reach their full potential -- and he reiterated that when speaking to reporters on Friday.
"You're never really prepared to get cut so, always, it's kind of a shock and you're standing there and all of a sudden, wow, the microphone is up to your face and you have to say those final words before you're off the stage," explained Chbeeb.
"I think really I just went down to the basis of why I wanted to be on the show in the first place, and that was purely to prove that there's so many people who aren't given the same opportunities as others, all over the world, not just here. And I really wanted to show that you could find something within that can really take you places and you don't necessarily need to have the money, or know the right people, or all those things, that sometimes if you just find the talent that's within, or the passion that's within you, you can make things happen. And I feel like that was my main goal of being on the show."
Chbeeb had previously auditioned forSo You Think You Can Dance's fourth season, and the judges were constantly impressed by his skills as a popper.
However he knew that his lack of talent in other dance styles would also cause trouble for him once he finally made the fifth-season's Top 20.
"When I first got on the Top 20, I was almost dreading it because I knew I was going to be fighting an uphill battle the whole time," he told reporters.
"But mostly just because I know that my lack of training in those styles, and especially because all the styles on the show are focused around a technique that they almost center around the exact same things. All standard ballroom has the same arm positions as a balletic background, so all the trained dancers had a lot of familiarity with the technique that was going on there and I wasn't, so I knew it was going to be pretty difficult. But when I got on the show, it was definitely a battle the whole way."
Kinney also had her own uphill battles, as she didn't start dancing until she was in the fifth grade when she decided to take her acrobatic skills to the dance floor.
"I look at the glass-half-full most of the time so I would say the advantages are the acrobatics, obviously, and I had great training in how to blend my gymnastics skills in with dance at the studio I started with," she explained.
"And I think a lot of dancers, they start when they're three and that's all they know in their life. They dance because that is what they've always done and so they don't know anything else. And for me, I started because it's what I have to do. It's not what I know how to do; it's what I have to do. So my passion for it has never wavered or dwindled and I'm still going strong. But the disadvantage obviously is I haven't trained in a lot of the styles that other people have, and so I don't have that solid background taking so many different styles and classes. But at the same time, I wouldn't have it any other way."
In addition, Kinney said she didn't agree with judge Nigel Lythgoe's comments that she and partner Jason Glover lacked chemistry.
"I think Jason and I always struggled when they said that to us because we're thinking, 'My God, with all the couples, we really bonded as friends.' We hung out probably the most of any other couples and I think we did have great chemistry. I think my boyfriend was probably thrilled that they kept saying they see no chemistry," Kinney told reporters.
"But I don't know what the deal was with that. I don't know... At some point you're like, 'Oh my God. We're putting our heart and soul into this. We're in it together. We're doing it together.' And you can only do so much. They either see it or they don't. "
Kinney said she thinks the lack of chemistry criticism originated with the widely-praised Bollywood routine they performed during the first week of the competition.
"It started off with such a bang that there really was nowhere to go from there," she said. "There wasn't any growing on the chemistry. It was always expected to be so intense and so emotional, whereas some of the pieces didn't really call for that."
Regardless of what the judges felt, Kinney said she had a wonderful time working with Glover and wouldn't have wanted any other partner.
"Jason and I, we just love each other because when you go through this experience, you go through it together. So you form a bond with someone that you can't describe, you can't show to people," she explained, adding her exit was emotional since he got to continue.
"We both cried a lot, I think, because it's hard. But he is going to do so well on the show. I am not worried about him at all. He's going to kick butt and I am excited to watch. I think one thing that we both said to each other was just, 'Thank you. Thank you for being there,' because we were. We each had our moments of being down, and the other one, we would pick each other up."
While both Kinney and Chbeeb plan to continue dancing, Chbeeb also said he plans to finish working on his degree in engineering and physics.
"Engineering, the major itself, is so stressful that I really needed an outlet of some sort and I feel like dance has provided that easily whenever engineering gets too stressful," he said, "But at the same time, it held me in my dance because my dance was more mathematical-minded than human emotion-driven. So yes, it's been a really interesting relationship between the science and the dancing."
Both Kinney and Chbeeb will participate in So You Think You Can Dance's annual tour once the fifth-season broadcast run is complete, and Kinney described it as the silver-lining in her ouster.
"I think that was really touching for us to have them have that kind of faith in us and know right away that we add something to the group and that they really want us on tour," said Kinney. "That meant the world to us."
Chbeeb agreed and said while he was sad to be ousted, he's also excited about the opportunity the tour presents.
"I definitely can guarantee this is one of the best seasons this show has ever had and to be a part of this group, especially such a well-trained group, everyone here has been pretty much bred for this type of competition," he said. "It's almost incredible. So just to be a part of the same group and still have my own place that I feel like is my own in the group of the top twenty, has been amazing. Regardless if it's my time to go, it's my time to go and the fact that I'm on tour makes it all worth it."