Mata, a 19-year-old jazz dancer from West Covina, CA, and her partner Sabasino, a 22-year-old tap dancer from Philadelphia, PA, were ousted from the competition by So You Think You Can Dance's judging panel after finding themselves among the bottom three couples based on home viewer votes cast immediately following Tuesday night's performance episode broadcast.
"Ever since I started watching the show I used to sit there and say, 'That's what I want. That's what I want to do with my life,'" said Sabasino during a video montage of his journey.
"To me dance is life, I couldn't picture myself without dance. Dance is just who I am."
So You Think You Can Dance co-creator and lead judge Nigel Lythgoe said the decision to boot both Mata and Sabasino was "unanimous."
Mata and Sabasino performed a quickstep routine choreographed by JT Thomas & Tomas Mielnicki during Tuesday night's performance episode.
"We have a contemporary dancer and a tapper doing the dreaded quickstep, and I will let my good friend and colleague Mary Murphy discuss the technical elements, I will just address some of the performance," said judge Adam Shankman.
"I think by giving a lot of story and character, you may have blown past some of the technical missteps as it were -- which I'm not going to say there were a lot of. But I can't talk technical... Pauline you were appropriately adorable. Peter, you were on fire. You threw an enormous amount of your natural charisma at the dance, which is I think what the audience is really responding to."
Murphy said she always "expects a train wreck" when it comes to the quickstep.
"But I will say you pulled it off tonight," she added. "Was the performance amazing? Yes it was. Peter, I agree. You were on fire -- the life, the energy, the joy that you brought to the quickstep. And it is a joyous dance, so I'm very proud of you for that. Now some of the leg action and the footwork, it wasn't really skimming across the stage. It was kind of clunking along a little bit."
Murphy described Mata as a "vision" in her outfit.
"You were a little bit lighter and faired a little bit better, but when you got into close holds your position is so far off his right side -- you weren't really even connected at all," she said. "If you get this dance again, you need to really work on that body connection. But I agree with you giving an amazing performance."
While Murphy said the train wreck was "avoided," Lythgoe said it was "absolutely not" perfect on the technique.
"Did I care? Absolutely not," he added. "It was a fabulous performance and America votes for performances, and why not? I think everyone who's ever won this program has done it with good dance ability and a wonderful personality, and -- while you two have got that personality that you've shown tonight -- you are not going anywhere I don't think."
Lythgoe was wrong, as Cat Deeley revealed during last night's broadcast that home viewer votes had put Mata and Sabasino among the bottom three couples.
"I'm not really surprised Cat. They did avoid a train wreck, however obviously America decided to derail these guys," said Murphy during last night's broadcast. "I don't think they found the magic last night."
They were joined in the bottom three by Ryan Di Lello, a 28-year-old ballroom dancer from Orem, UT, and his partner Ellenore Scott, a 19-year-old contemporary/jazz dancer from Brooklyn, NY, as well as Kevin Hunte, a 23-year-old hip-hop dancer from Brooklyn, NY, and his partner Karen Hauer, a 27-year-old Latin ballroom dancer from Valencia, Venezuela who currently resides in Queens, NY.
The six dancers in the bottom three couples then performed solo routines in their individual styles before the judges revealed their decision.
"Pauline, I think you have gotten by on your charisma and your personality more than your dance technique or your dance work, which I think we feel is a little too... How would you describe it Adam?" asked Lythgoe at the conclusion of last night's broadcast.
"Classroom -- I mean advanced -- but you go to a lot of the classroom tricks," responded Shankman.
"Conventions, if you like," added Lythgoe. "Consequently tonight I'm sorry my darling, we are going to let you leave the competition."
After Mata left the stage, Lythgoe turned his attention to the guys.
"Peter, you haven't really had a starring role anywhere yet -- you haven't shown us your star quality. Your solo tonight -- although there was a lot of creaming going on when you want to listen to the taps -- it still didn't come across, your star quality didn't come across," said Lythgoe.
"I'm sorry. This is our third tap dancer in two weeks -- you're going home tonight."
So You Think You Can Dance's next sixth-season episode will air on Tuesday, November 17 at 8PM ET/PT, with the Top 14 finalists performing for home viewers votes.
Then on Wednesday at 8PM ET/PT, the bottom three couples based on home viewer votes will be revealed before the judges eliminate one more male and one more female finalist.
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