Ricky Jaime and Caitlynn Lawson talk 'So You Think You Can Dance'
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 08/05/2011
So You Think You Can Dance eliminated Ricky Jaime and Caitlynn Lawson during Thursday night's live results show on Fox, which determined the eighth season's Top 4 contestants who will compete in next week's finale.
During a Friday conference call with reporters, Ricky, a 19-year-old contemporary dancer from Miami, FL who currently resides in Tampa, FL, and Caitlynn, an 18-year-old contemporary dancer from Moses Lake, WA, talked to Reality TV World about their So You Think You Can Dance experience including -- why they were somewhat relieved to be eliminated before the finale, whether they believed the outcome would've been different had the judges decided who would advance into the finale rather than the home viewers, whether Caitlynn was upset by Nigel Lythgoe's comments claiming she danced with her head instead of her heart, and why Ricky thought the judges kept him around despite his many bottom-finishes.
Reality TV World: Were you guys surprised to be eliminated and do you think it was more disappointing to be eliminated right before the finale or do you see any silver lining in the situation in that maybe you feel the pressure's off or it would've been even worse to be eliminated after making it all the way to the end during the finale?
Caitlynn Lawson: I personally definitely see a silver lining in it. It's sad to get cut obviously just because you want to go as far as you can, but I really just wanted to learn and grow out of this experience and I just wanted the opportunity to get better. I feel like I really got that, and I feel like every day I was here, I learned more and more.
Yeah, so I'm just really happy with my whole experience here, and getting cut right before finale is sad just because you really want to be competing for that last show, but the good things about it is that we never even have to go home. We're in rehearsal right now and we still get to be a part of the show tomorrow, we're not just competing in it.
So, I think if there's a time to get cut, it was definitely the best time (laughs). But yeah. I'm just really happy with how my whole experience went. It's bittersweet, but I'm mostly just happy to have gotten an opportunity to have gotten this far. I was worried about making Top 20 let alone Top 6.
Ricky Jaime: Same. I think getting to this point in the competition is great just because it showed me how far I can come or how amazing like the friendship and everything -- I just didn't want to leave anyone. So, I'm really glad I wasn't sent "home" home, like in a plane back home. I don't know. Top 6, like Top 3 boys and Top 3 girls, that's crazy.
It just gives me goosebumps to even think about that. I'm really, really, really, really happy and grateful that I was able to get on the show this season, because I really felt like coming into the Top 20 or the Top 30 or like finding out if we were in the Top 10 they were going to tell me that I was too young and I had time to grow as a dancer and then come back.
So, I'm just happy that I got the chance to do it and meet amazing people. But yeah, no. I'm not even upset that it's right before the finale just because I've pulled through every show and it's great, and I'm still here! I'm normally rehearsing -- just like Caitlynn said -- with them. I haven't gone home yet, but I'm excited to go home and see everyone and say, "Thank you" to everyone that supported me.
Reality TV World: Do you think if the So You Think You Can Dance judges were able decide who could advance to the finale instead of home viewers things might have turned out differently for you guys? -- For instance, the show's own producer Nigel had told you, Caitlynn, a couple times during the season that you were his favorite.
Caitlynn Lawson: Yeah. That was great, I mean, it's always fantastic to hear good things from the judges, but the thing that we always say is just that you can't expect anything out of the show and even as the judges, everyone here is so, so amazing and it's such a privilege to even be here that it's just -- I don't know if it would have been different or not.
It doesn't matter. I'm so happy for how far I've come and making it this far, and I'm so, so excited for the four that are in it. They're all part of my personal family, and I can't wait to watch them do amazing next week.
Ricky Jaime: Same thing here (laughs). We're both saying the same thing and that's not good (laughs). I'm really excited for the Top 4. I mean, [Tadd Gadduang] is the most unique and amazing dancer I've ever met... he deserves to be where he's at right now and [Marko Germar] is of course just an amazing dancer. So, if the judges had to choose, I don't think -- I have no idea what would have gone down.
I'm just happy I was able to do my solo and show America why I was there, and the judges hopefully realized it as well like, "Hey, he's here and he's grown," and it was just an awesome experience. I'm so happy I remembered my choreography because I was really nervous I was going to forget (laughs). But I walked offstage just really happy and proud and gave Cat a really big smile, and I'm done.
Reality TV World: Caitlynn, just before So You Think You Can Dance host Cat Deeley announced your elimination, Nigel said you danced with your head and sometimes tend to over-think things, while Sasha Mallory danced from her soul and Melanie Moore from her heart. You looked a little shocked when Nigel said that, so was that actually the case? And did you find that inaccurate and maybe even a little offensive, since you're clearly so passionate about dance?
Caitlynn Lawson: Oh, I wouldn't say I was shocked or offended, but that's not exactly what you want to hear of course. I feel like I try to leave my heart on the stage every time I dance. I think that in my solos, I would be more thinking in my head just because of the pressure of it, and so I would understand that.
But I think that in my duets and the actual competition and other pieces, I always got good responses from him and the other judges by saying I really show the emotion of everything, and that is dancing from your heart.
So, I hope that I'll keep working on that and keep working on my solos and be able to be as confident in those as I am in my duets. But I've gotten plenty of good comments from Nigel, so one bad one won't kill me. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Ricky, you had been in the bottom quite a few times this season, yet you always managed to survive. Would you consider yourself the underdog of the competition and why do you think the judges were so intent on keeping you around? Did those circumstances make it more difficult or easier for you to be eliminated since you fought so hard to stay?
Ricky Jaime: Yeah, I'm not sure. Every week it was just hard like hearing that I was in the bottom just because I kept asking myself, "Hey, what am I doing wrong? I want to connect with them; I want to show them my talent. I want to be able to experience this whole experience with them."
But I'm really grateful that the judges kept saying that I do have something -- like there's something in me that just wanted it really bad and just wanted to grow as a dancer with the show.
But I feel like to be in the bottom really helped me as well. It just helped show America why I'm here and why I'm just so driven sometimes. I don't think it was anything bad. I really took it as a good thing, so that's that on that (laughs).
Reality TV World: Caitlynn, last week when Jordan Casanova was eliminated, Nigel told her he was disappointed with both of your "dance for your life" solos. What was your reaction when you heard that and why do you think he felt that way? Do you think you gave that performance your all?
Caitlynn Lawson: The "dance for your life" solo, I think for both of us and for everyone who has to dance for their life, it's just such a -- you just want it so bad and you really want to impress the judges, and you want to stay so bad.
It means so much to you that I do think sometimes the pressure gets to all of us and we end up messing up or not doing exactly what we planned on doing during our solo. So, sometimes it turned out well and sometimes it doesn't turn out as well.
Dancing for your life -- you really are -- you just want to stay so bad, and so yeah. But he was disappointed and I think it was because both of us just let the pressure get to us that week a little bit during our solos, but I'm glad that it was enough to keep me through! (Laughs)
Also in the call, Caitlynn and Ricky told reporters what their plans are for the near future, how they reacted to dancing in front of big-name celebrities who served on the judging panel throughout the season, which contestant on the show Ricky has an obvious crush on, and whether Caitlynn ever imagined she'd make it as far as she did on So You Think You Can Dance.
Ricky, you took some time off of dancing for about three years and you're friends with fifth-season So You Think You Can Dancewinner Jeanine Mason. Where did you meet her and did she influence your participation in the show?
Ricky Jaime: Yeah, definitely. She actually introduced me to Focal Point Dance Studio in Miami, FL when they first opened, and I just started dancing at that studio with her. At the studio, I would look up to her and how amazing of a dancer she is.
So, after I took off a couple years, I was just like, "Well, Jeanine did it and she's an amazing person and an amazing dancer, so I'm going to try to do it and hopefully I can live up to that expectation." And I think I did. I had an amazing time and I hope I've been inspiring others.
What are your plans for the near future besides the upcoming tour?
Ricky Jaime: After the tour's over, I am planning on moving out here hopefully with [Clarice Ordaz]. So, I mean, I'm up for anything. I'm really excited to just come out here, hopefully get into the acting business, and start dancing even more and harder and dance with anyone -- maybe [Sonya Tayeh] or [Tyce Diorio] -- doesn't matter. I'm just really, really excited for the future and to work with anyone.
Caitlynn Lawson: After tour, I actually have an apartment set up down here and everything, so I'm planning on moving down here and I'd like to do some singing and acting. I basically just want to go to any audition I can and I just want to try and do as much as possible.
I'm so excited to be down here, and I just want to try to see how many jobs I can get and keep learning and growing like I have been on the show. Hopefully, I get to stay in contact with the show and come back as an all-star. I think that'd be great after the fact. (Laughs) But yeah, just keep on doing what I'm doing.
Ricky, are you going to continue teaching dance or are you going to pursue joining a ballet company?
Ricky Jaime: Yes, definitely. It's actually really funny because I've been searching to see if I can find like a really amazing ballet contemporary -- like all these mixed genres -- type of company around here in LA, because I do want to move to LA.
But, I'm going to keep teaching. I'm really excited. I can't wait to go back and show all my girls, and everyone hopefully, that will come to my class what I've learned here -- the quality of movement that I've learned.
It's just like a whole different style from when the last class that I taught back before I came out here. It's going to be so different whenever I go back. I'm really excited just to show them all my growth. And the ballet company? Yeah, I definitely am, and I really hope it's in my future. So, I'm just taking it day by day.
Why do you think Nigel has asked such big-name celebrities to serve on the judging panel and what's it been like dancing for them?
Caitlynn Lawson: I personally think he wanted to invite them just because they're all a type of performer. So much of the show is about acting and telling a story and just all the different aspects of performing are really involved. It's not just about your dancing ability.
It's about your performance, and so I think it's nice to hear corrections from someone who's a different kind of performer and it's not just about your dance technique or about the moves -- it's about the emotion behind it. So, I thought that was really nice, and it was really cool because we see all those people on TV and they're all icons. So, it was a really great experience getting to hear from all them.
Ricky Jaime: I feel the same exact way. Especially when Lady Gaga was on the panel, it was just amazing to hear what she has to say because she's such a performer, she's such an artist, and the appreciation that she has for dance is obviously amazing. And with everyone else, it was really great to hear from them because they see what America sees but even in a better light, I feel like.
They know what to say, they know what to tell us to keep us going in the competition. There hasn't been one judge that I was like, "Uhh, you're crazy and I don't even know what you're talking about." I'm just really grateful that we got all these amazing opportunities to meet this people and be judged by them. Hopefully they remember us! (Laughs)
Was there any critique in particular you had received from any of the judges that you both learned a lot from and will carry forward with you in your careers?
Ricky Jaime: I may have to say Lady Gaga just saying that she has a sweet spot for me, because I really love her (laughs), and I mean, just hearing everything from everyone was just amazing. It's stuff that you can take with you.
Even if it wasn't directed to me, if it was directed to Caitlynn or anyone else, I just took it all in and I put it in my pocket and walked away with it. That's the best about being judged. You can always take it with you no matter who it was for, and you can always make yourself a better person and a better dancer.
Caitlynn Lawson: I'd have to say that out of this whole experience, I just really wanted to get better and I wanted to have the opportunity to grow and to learn as much as I possibly could, and to grow as a dancer and as a person.
So, any time the judges told me -- like after my tango and after my performance Wednesday night when Nigel told me that I've come of age and I grew and that I've gotten better, it meant the world to me because that's all I really wanted out of the show -- was just to become a better dancer myself.
I feel like from taking all their critiques throughout the season and from just being around all these amazing people, I've learned so much and I've totally accomplished the goal that I set out for myself. So, it's been an amazing run.
Is there a dream movie, TV or Broadway role that you've always wanted to do and hope to tackle?
Caitlynn Lawson: Oh gosh. I've done a lot of acting and singing and whatever throughout my life growing up, and that's really a big goal for me -- just to make it on TV in any way possible. I honestly -- just the opportunity to be in a movie at all -- I don't think I'd care which one it is. (Laughs) That would be amazing, but I don't know if I have a specific one.
Ricky Jaime: I haven't really thought about that. I'm obsessed with Disney and the Disney Channel, so anything on the Disney Channel like The Suite Life of Zack and Cody or like The Suite Life On Deck, that would be great -- or Wizards of Waverly Place (laughs). I actually just thought about the whole acting thing recently, and I really hope I can get an acting coach here and pursue that.
If someone pitched a TV pilot to you and asked you to commit to a long-term series, would you be interested?
Caitlynn Lawson: Oh my gosh, yes! (Laughs)
Ricky Jaime: Yes, yes, yes! (Laughs) This is what we love to do. We love performing and any opportunity -- absolutely any opportunity -- I would take, because you never know how much you can grow in the smallest -- maybe the show won't air, but you never know how much you can grow in that experience.
Caitlynn Lawson: Yeah, I feel exactly the same, and it's probably like the biggest dream of mine -- for someone to walk up to me and have a pilot for me. That would be absolutely amazing.
Caitlynn Lawson: You can't have a favorite. I honestly -- that's like picking your favorite sibling, you know? (Laughs) You just can't do that. We're all so, so close and such a family that I just want them all to do their best, and it's really just up to America.
You never know what's going to happen with the show, and I just want them all to go kill it and do amazing. I can't wait to watch them do an amazing job next week.
Ricky, you have mentioned Clarice in this interview. Are you two a romantic couple?
Ricky Jaime: You know what? I would love to be! She's so beautiful! I don't want Caitlynn to get jealous (laughs), but I love Clarice so much. I really feel like she's the boy version of me. We just click so well. I don't want to single anyone else out, but we just click so well and it's like the funniest thing.
You would think she's like super quiet and just super down-to-earth, but she's the funniest person ever and she just talks so much. The things that she says are so funny, so having her around is just the best thing ever. But no, it's not a romantic thing. I mean, I really wish -- she has a boyfriend, but gosh, she's beautiful.
Caitlynn, when you first auditioned, did you ever think that you would make it this far?
Caitlynn Lawson: Oh gosh. (Laughs) I just wanted to go and try my best and see what happened, but I definitely didn't expect to make it this far. I was -- for the green mile, trying to make the Top 20, I was extremely unsure about how that was going to go. Every week since then, I just tried to push myself and do the very best I can and hope that it's enough to get me through.
I've gotten so much further and not just in the competition but as a dancer than I ever thought that I would, and so, I'm just really proud of how far I've came and how much I've learned. The whole experience has just been such an amazing thing in my life.