'So You Think You Can Dance' cuts Kherington Payne, Gev Manoukian
By Christopher Rocchio, 07/18/2008
Kherington Payne and Gev Manoukian became the eleventh and twelfth finalists eliminated from So You Think You Can Dance's fourth season during last night's live results show on Fox.
"Thank you for everything. This has been the greatest experience I've ever had. I learned so much," said Gev, a 21-year-old hip hop/break dancer from Kazakhstan who currently resides in Centerville, UT, after his ouster was revealed. "I'm excited. This is definitely not the end. This is just the beginning."
Kherington and Gev found themselves among the bottom two female and male finalists based on home viewer votes cast immediately following Wednesday night's performance episode, in which each finalist performed two couple routines and a solo.
"I love to dance, and this is what I want to do," said Kherington, an 18-year-old contemporary/jazz dancer from Placentia, CA, during a video montage of her So You Think You Can Dance journey. "This is the greatest thing in the world and it means everything to me."
Kherington was paired with Mark Kanemura for Wednesday night's performances, and the couple's first routine was a country two-step choreographed by Ronnie DeBenedetta and Brandi Jobais. Kherington and Mark had obvious troubles working with each other for the first time, most notably when they couldn't get their hands to connect.
"I think you guys tried to attack it, but you might have went at it from the wrong direction," said this week's guest judge Lil' C. "I saw over in the beginning, it looked like a missed turn, and you can't let that bleed onto the skin of the dance floor. We can see those wounds because they're really deep. I thought you guys nailed a lot of the stunts. Great character, smiles... You didn't nail it for me, but justifiable presentation though."
"This was one tough number," said judge Mary Murphy. "A lot of arm connections, very fast spinning, lots of tunneling, tornado turns, windmill turns. It's really, really tough. Kherington, the arms. You have to be connected from your center. They're just a little bit loose through the shoulders. It made it really tough for Mark to really handle you. You've got to tone up. That's what it's all about -- making it smooth and easy, and that did not happen."
"The trouble with this style of routine is it really does require the partners to have complete faith in each other, and you've had such a short time to try and build a relationship up," said executive producer and judge Nigel Lythgoe. "Kherington, you can't just let go in the middle of turns. You have to trust him enough to let him lead you. It's about the male leading, and you were leading a lot of the way there. It's probably because you didn't trust he was going to be there for you. But a lot of the time he was."
Kherington and Mark's second Wednesday night routine was a jazz piece choreographed by Tyce Diorio.
"Good routine. It allowed you guys' flexibility to show off. You guys maintained a nice balance on the fulcrum of character," said Lil' C. "Kherington, wonderful job. You were nailing those turns. Great center. Be careful on the lifts, make sure they don't look too choreographed."
"I'm not jumping out of my seat right now," said a docile Mary. "Was there anything really particularly wrong with it? Not really, things were synchronized, it moved across the floor, it covered the stage. Did it make me feel something? No it didn't. I wanted to get fired up about this... Happy's kind of a weigh station between too little and too much. It made me happy, but at this point in the game, I want to be fired up."
Nigel compared the performance to passing a driving test.
"Did they pass the test? Yeah, they passed the test. And that's it," he said. "No heart. No passion. Nothing outstanding that is going to make people want to pick up the telephone. At this stage, when they're voting for you individually, you are going to have to do something to make people get off the couch, pick up a phone and dial it. There wasn't anything that either of you did there that I believe would make people do that... Technique-wise all the boxes were checked, but nothing of any passion."
Gev was paired with Chelsie Hightower for Wednesday night's performances, and the couple's first routine was contemporary and choreographed by Sonya Tayeh.
"I feel like you guys really committed to that," commented Lil' C. "Gev, I'm going to give it up to you. You did look like you were more prepared to do a contemporary piece. You weren't chopping a lot of your movements -- you were floating."
"Congratulations Gev, the leaps across the stage, look at you go!" exclaimed Mary. "You guys, it was terrific tonight."
While Mary added she felt chemistry between the two, Nigel wasn't so sure.
"I did feel Gev as though you weren't completely behind the passionate side of it. I think you might have had [Courtney Galiano] on your mind," said Nigel, a reference to Gev's former partner.
Gev and Chelsie's second Wednesday night routine was a jive choreographed by Jean-Marc Genereux, and Chelsie was clearly the star of the number.
"She out-stepped you Gev. She led the whole time," commented Lil' C. "I think you could actually make a manikin look good just dancing with it. There were a lot of the times Gev, you weren't there. But she was like, 'Hey, I'll do it myself. It's all good.' Gev, you've just got to pick it up for me."
"I thought you guys did a terrific job. It was great," commented Mary. "I think it's a great partnership the two of you, but I have to agree with Lil' C. Chelsie, you just stole the show up there. This was more like Dancing with the Stars -- professional with amateur. It was Chelsie just dancing all around you. But Gev, I'm going to give it to you. It was respectful."
"I think the energy levels were there," said Nigel. "Chelsie, you were outstanding. Everything was there... Gev, your bounce was there on a few things. Then every now and again it sort of stopped and became a little staccato. But other than that, I thought you did a great job, the pair of you."
During last night's live broadcast, Kherington found herself among the bottom two female vote getters with Comfort Fedoke, a 20-year-old hip-hop dancer from Lagos, Nigeria who currently resides in Dallas, TX. Comfort had been eliminated last week but was reintroduced to the competition when Jessica King had to withdraw due to injury. Comfort was paired with Twitch Boss.
Gev found himself among the bottom two male vote getters with Kherington's partner Mark. Once all four bottom vote getters were revealed, they each performed a solo routine -- however it had no affect on the voting results since they had already been tallied.
"Your ride has been turbulence free," said Lil' C to Kherington after her solo. "You can't get upset just because we turned the heat up in the kitchen just a tad. This is a realistic television show, and America, they're exposed to your insecurities... Everybody looks at how you digest constructive criticism. It's just constructive. Your amazing, you're great."
Mary added she felt Kherington was originally in the bottom of the Top 20 but has since become a "front runner."
"I'm really shocked right now that you're even standing there," said Mary. "You're an amazing, brilliant dancer."
"She's also got film star looks," added Nigel about Kherington. "It isn't just about dancing. It's about performing in every form that you can. She's got a hell of a future in front of her I think."
The judges were equally supportive of Gev following his solo.
"I'm such a fan of the little guy all the time," said Lil' C. "You danced with so much heart... Whatever you do, you always deliver."
"He's just been tremendous in almost all of the performances that he's done," added Mary. "He might be the underdog here, but he has been pulling it off week after week... Not to mention, some of his solos have blown everybody away in here. No doubt about it."
"Gev really is outstanding with his personality, his charisma and his unique ability," said Nigel.
In addition to Mark, Comfort, Courtney, Twitch and Chelsie, So You Think You Can Dance's Top 8 fourth-season finalists are Katee Shean, Joshua Allen and Will Wingfield.
So You Think You Can Dance's next fourth-season performance episode will air Wednesday, July 23 at 8PM ET/PT on Fox. Then on Thursday night at 9PM ET/PT, the two dancers who received the lowest number of home viewer votes will be eliminated from the competition, revealing the Top 6.