'So You Think You Can Dance 3' cuts first two finalists, reveals Top 18
By Christopher Rocchio, 06/15/2007
Ashlee Langas and Ricky Palomino were partnered together and suffered similar fates last night during the first live results show of So You Think You Can Dance's third season, as they became the first two finalists eliminated from the Fox reality competition series.
"Just thank you so much for this opportunity," said Langas upon learning she was the first female finalist eliminated. "It's just been an amazing experience. It's given me the confidence that I need to move on from this point in my life."
Langas, a 19-year-old contemporary/jazz dancer from Tyler, TX, and Palomino, a 25-year-old contemporary dancer from Phoenix, AZ, performed an Argentinean tango during Wednesday night's So You Think You Can Dancetwo-hour performance episode that saw the show's Top 20 third-season finalists randomly paired together.
"It said that it's supposed to be really sexy. It wasn't that sexy," said So You Think You Can Dance guest judge and choreographer Dan Karaty following Langas and Palomino's tango. "You know, I felt like a mother could have danced with her son doing the same thing."
Executive producer and permanent judge Nigel Lythgoe commented he though Langas' height over Palomino due to her heels could have played a role in the way the routine was performed. He echoed those sentiments when host Cat Deeley revealed on Thursday night that the pair was one of the bottom three based on viewer votes.
"They're both brilliant contemporary dancers. They've not been given the opportunity to show what they can do yet," he said. "They looked a bit like dancing David and Goliath last night. The situation is they were put in as partners and didn't choose each other. It's much better looking at them now -- see she's in bear feet and he's in bear feet -- and the height works much better for them. I think that should have been thought about when they were being choreographed and that would have helped."
The other two couples in the bottom three based on viewer votes form Wednesday night's performance episode were Sabra Johnson, a 19-year-old contemporary dancer from Roy, UT, and her partner Dominic Sandoval, a 21-year-old B-boy/hip-hop dancer from Roseville, CA; as well as Faina Savich, a 21-year-old Latin ballroom dancer from Brooklyn, NY, and her partner Cedric Gardner, a 23-year-old hip-hop dancer from New Berlin, WI. Johnson and Sandoval performed a disco routine on Wednesday night, while Savich and Gardner performed a hip-hop routine.
Once the three couples who received the lowest number of viewer votes were revealed, all six had one last chance to impress the judges with a solo performance of his or her choosing.
"Like Nigel said, I haven't had an opportunity to show America what I can do," said Langas following her contemporary solo. "So, I mean, that was amazing. I felt so good about it."
While she might have felt good about it, the judges didn't feel the same way. After all six dancers had their chance to perform, Lythgoe, Karaty and permanent judge Mary Murphy deliberated and revealed they had decided Langas and Palomino would be eliminated.
"Ashlee, I'm so sorry darling. You weren't really given the opportunity. I think it's really tough that the first thing you get is an Argentinean tango," said Lythgoe. "But when it came to doing your solo tonight, you relied so much on emotion and didn't really show us your entire vocabulary of movement. And that's why we felt that you would be the one going home."
Lythgoe described the choice between Palomino, Sandoval and Gardner as "the toughest decision of all" since they're all "unique in their own style." He explained why Palomino was the judges' choice to be the first male eliminated.
"Without doubt, you have the potential to be one of the best dancers this year," said Lythgoe. "We didn't feel as though you gave us your full potential this evening in what you did [for your solo routine]."
Somewhat ironically, both Langas and Palomino were favorites of So You Think You Can Dance contemporary choreographer Mia Michaels, who championed that the two make the third-season's Top 20. "If there is a heaven, that's how they dance there," said Michaels to Langas before putting her in the Top 20. Michaels called Palomino her "favorite male dancer in this competition" several times during the "Las Vegas Round."
"[Winning the competition] changed my life. I'm just so grateful for Nigel, everyone here having a show like this to make our dreams come true. I've been all around the world and back again three or four times now," said Schwimmer, who pulled down his pants at the end of his routine, revealing American flag underwear.
The Top 18 finalists are Johnson and Sandoval; Savich and Gardner; Jaimie Goodwin, a 19-year-old contemporary dancer from Virginia Beach, VA, and her partner Hok Konishi, a 22-year-old B-boy dancer from Los Angeles, CA; Anya Garnis, a 25-year-old Latin ballroom dancer from New York, NY, and her partner Danny Tidwell, a 23-year-old Contemporary/Jazz dancer from New York, NY; Lacey Schwimmer, an 18-year-old swing and international Latin dancer from Redlands, CA, and her partner Kameron Bink, a 20-year-old contemporary/hip-hop dancer from Coral Springs, FL; Sara Von Gillern, a 23-year-old hip-hop/B-girl dancer from Ft. Collins, CO, and her partner Jesus Solorio, a 23-year-old contemporary/jazz dancer from Paso Robles, CA; Jessi Peralta, a 24-year-old hip-hop dancer from Valley Village, CA, and her partner Pasha Kovalev, a 27-year-old Latin ballroom dancer from Fort Lee, NJ; Lauren Gottlieb, an 18-year-old contemporary/jazz dancer who currently lives in Sherman Oaks, CA, and her partner Neil Haskell, a 20-year-old contemporary jazz dancer from Clarence Center, NY; and Shauna Noland, an 18-year-old contemporary dancer from North Hollywood, CA and her partner Jimmy Arguello, a 21-year-old contemporary dancer from Miami, FL.
Next Wednesday, June 20 at 8PM ET, the Top 18 finalists will remain with their same partners from this week but will all be performing new routines during the two-hour broadcast. Then on Thursday, June 21 at 9PM ET, one male and one female finalist will be eliminated from the competition during the live one-hour results show.