Mitchell Kelly and Clarice Ordaz talk 'So You Think You Can Dance'
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 07/22/2011
So You Think You Can Dance eliminated Mitchell Kelly and Clarice Ordaz during Thursday night's live results show on Fox, which determined the eighth season's Top 8 contestants.
During a Friday conference call with reporters, Mitchell, a 20-year-old contemporary dancer from Chicago, IL who currently resides in Atlanta, GA, and Clarice, a 19-year-old jazz dancer from Whittier, CA, talked to Reality TV World about their So You Think You Can Dance experience including -- whether they were surprised to be eliminated since other dancers had accumulated more bottom-three couple finishes, whether they were frustrated the judges had no criticism or advice to offer on how they could improve prior to their ousters, and how their experiences had differed when they changed from dancing with fellow contestants to the show's all-stars.
Reality TV World: Mitchell, this time around was your third time in the bottom, but it was Ricky's fourth time. So were you surprised you were eliminated since he had one bottom-finish above you or did you sense you were going to be the one sent home for any reason?
Mitchell Kelly: Actually I don't know, because with this show, you don't know what may happen. All the ones who are always in the bottom three when it comes to who had the most bottoms, I guess, you don't ever know if they could be sent home.
You could be in the bottom six times but you may never be sent home. So, really it was more of a -- we just did what we had to do. But I wasn't shocked at all. It was just reality and America knows what they want, but it was a pleasure to do my solo.
Reality TV World: Clarice, since you had never faced elimination before this week because you had never been a member of the bottom couples, did your elimination come as a surprise to you or did you see it coming beforehand at all?
Clarice Ordaz: I think at this point, all of us are great dancers, and I think that anything could have happened and anything can happen. So, you know, it was just -- I actually didn't expect anything at all. You can't really expect anything when you're in that position because you can't really be too disappointed or expecting something great.
So, I just did my best and went out there and did what I practiced. I just hoped for the best but being eliminated, it's sad but at the same time, I'm just really looking forward to the tour and being a part of the Top 10 is really special to me.
Reality TV World: Both of you, when Nigel announced your eliminations, he said all of you were fantastic and he had nothing negative to say to you or any advice he could give for improvements. Because he let you both go without much of a reason at all, did that frustrate you in that maybe you feel your ousters weren't warranted?
Mitchell Kelly: Actually, no, just because we -- the judges know and we worked really hard. They know that we work hard and they see it every week. So, they can tell the growth from the beginning, even when we first auditioned for the show.
So, it was just more of a -- I guess it was just our time -- but they had to choose, and we're all good dancers with different styles. Even though we're the same genre, we have different fields in our own genre. So, I felt like it was great that he did that, because he tells us the truth because we're all good and powerful and great dancers.
Clarice Ordaz: For me, it was a little bit hard taking that, because I'm always wanting to better myself. But at the same time, there was a great compliment in him saying that we're all great. So, I'll take that and I can grow in other ways, so I can figure it out.
Reality TV World: Both of you, I just want to follow-up on my last question -- did you get any explanation about why you were eliminated after the show from the judges, or is it still kind of a mystery to you?
Clarice Ordaz: I mean, it's not a mystery. I think that two people have to go every week and it's just maybe what they want to see from [Jordan Casanova] or [Ricky Jaime] that maybe they hadn't seen from us, or maybe they wanted to see more -- I don't really know.
I think that it was a great time and being in the Top 10 was a great accomplishment and I was happy either way. So, yeah, it's definitely not a mystery. I just think that they have their opinions and they want to see certain people grow, and yeah.
Mitchell Kelly: Same here. I just basically wasn't shocked. It was just the fact that someone had to leave and at the same time, now I do want to see the growth from Jordan and Ricky, and also just see the rest of the show and see how the show goes.
Reality TV World: What was it like to dance with your all-star partners? Clarice, you mentioned in the call it was like a breath of fresh air, so was it a big change for the both of you from the previous weeks when you were paired with fellow contestants?
Clarice Ordaz: Yes it was. It's not like the previous weeks were too horrible or anything, it's just a different energy that the all-stars brought to rehearsals. They're part of a family that we are a part of the family now.
They just brought that welcoming spirit and most definitely [former seventh-season contestant Robert Roldan] was great to work with. He gave me some good advice about being on a TV show. We had a great talk and I think that it was great to have the all-stars, and I was glad that I was a part of that.
Mitchell Kelly: Me too as well. It's just been a wonderful experience, especially dealing with and partnering with first-season official runner-up -- which is [Melody Lacayanga] -- she was a phenomenal dancer and she did so much.
It wasn't as stressful because my partner [Caitlynn Lawson] was a great partner, but it was just that it was more calm and more mellow than it appears -- I was so nervous -- But at the same time, I definitely had a good time with my all-star. I am happy that I experienced it before I left.
Reality TV World: Mitchell, you mentioned in your final words that Ricky had become a brother to you and you called out [Melanie Moore] for her phenomenal dancing skills. It seems like you had grown the closest with them in the competition, so why was that and would you say you're rooting for either one of them to win above the rest?
Mitchell Kelly: Um, no. I knew Melanie before the show and I know that she works so hard. And Ricky and I, we were roommates, and he's like a little brother of mine. We're just two dancers who are passionate for the same thing but who do two different styles of dance. But at the same time, I really want to see him grow and just soar, and all those great things.
But every last one of the dancers that are actually in the Top 8 are really phenomenal. They are such great dancers with great personalities, but I was just so close to them. So, I just couldn't say everybody else's names, because I didn't know how much time I had, but you know, I was just really close to Ricky -- he was like a little brother to me.
Reality TV World: Clarice, what about you -- is there anyone in particular that you're rooting for to win now that you've been eliminated?
Clarice Ordaz: Um, actually no. I think the entire Top 10 -- and even the Top 20 -- we were all great, and I think that anything can happen, definitely -- most definitely. It's up to the voters in the first half and then it's up to the judges the second half, but I'd be happy for everybody.
All of them do their best out there and work so hard, and only we would know that. It's so great -- I'm so glad that I got to know each and every one of them.
Also in the call, Mitchell and Clarice told reporters how they responded to their eliminations, whether they believed viewers had trouble relating to the less-popular genres of dance, and what their plans are for the near future.
How did you both respond to and deal with your eliminations?
Clarice Ordaz: So, actually for me, making the Top 10 was my ultimate goal and I can't believe that I actually made it that far. It's just been a thrill. Being able to get that close to everybody -- it really is a different kind of family -- being in that Top 10.
So, I'm really happy that I've made it that far and being eliminated was sad thinking that for two weeks, I won't be able to wake up and rehearse everyday. But at the same time, we'll be at the finale performing with all the Top 20 and we'll have the tour to look forward to. I just couldn't be more excited.
Mitchell Kelly: Same here. It's just basically like I was really excited to just be on the show. I didn't know I was going to make it far in the competition. It was at first my dream, and then my dream started to put me forward into the next level and the next things I really want to do in my life.
But in a way, it was a bittersweet thing. Even though we got voted off the show, there's going to be a tour, we're going to be with our friends, we all get to dance together and do the dances that we did in previous shows. So, I'm very excited.
Do you think dancing more unconventional genres would result in voters having a harder time relating to the performances?
Clarice Ordaz: Yeah, I think that more out-of-the-box styles definitely are hard to pull through to viewers sometimes, but everyone has to do it and it's just something that you have to try and bring out. I think that's a challenge. You just have to make it entertaining and people have their own opinions.
I think this week, it might have hurt me a little bit, but it's fine because I totally enjoyed that performance. It was so much fun and it was a great challenge. So, I'm really happy.
Mitchell Kelly: The one thing people say in this day and time is that everyone loves hip-hop, everybody loves jazz, everybody loves contemporary, but the other styles that people are not really familiar with, it just has them kind of saying, "Okay."
But I'm actually happy that I did Broadway because it showed me a different side of my dance ability and it was a great performance, but it was a different genre. I know that most people don't really know Broadway classic jazz, but it was okay, because I'm happy that I actually did it so America can know what it was.
What are your plans for the near future now that the show is over apart from the tour?
Mitchell Kelly: My plan is to really act, sing, dance, be in some movies, and all that great stuff. But my ultimate goal is to open a center of performing arts for children that deals with dance, music and drama -- all around the arts and entertainment.
Clarice Ordaz: For me, after the tour, I plan on going back to school and getting a degree and also, just any jobs I can get. I used to teach a male dance studio and I plan on doing that -- master classes -- and really anything I can get a hold of.
I plan on getting an agent and booking jobs for anything like acting or anything that's just part of the commercial world. I really want to be involved in that and I'm really excited to get started!