'So You Think You Can Dance' eliminee Mariah Spears: It's hard to get sent home when you think you did so well
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 07/25/2013
Mariah Spears, a 19-year-old hip-hop dancer from Phoenix, AZ, was eliminated from So You Think You Can Dance during Tuesday night's live show on Fox, determining the tenth season's Top 14 contestants.
Mariah and BluPrint, a 20-year-old animation dancer from Atlanta, GA, were eliminated by So You Think You Can Dance judges Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy as well as guest judge Carly Rae Jepsen after they found themselves in the week's bottom-six dancers based on home viewer votes cast immediately following last Tuesday night's show, which featured the season's Top 16 finalists performing.
Mariah and BluPrint were paired together and performed a hip-hop routine last week and a jazz routine this week.
During a Wednesday conference call with reporters, Mariah talked to Reality TV World about her So You Think You Can Dance experience.
Reality TV World: Two weeks ago when America voted you into the bottom-six dancers, you had performed a hip-hop routine with BluPrint and it was highly praised. Does your elimination sting a little bit more considering you both were pretty much in your element? I can imagine that kind of being the worst way to go out, after you just killed it on your home turf.
Mariah Spears: I mean, yeah, it's hard when you think you did so well the week before and then being in the bottom and being eliminated. But I mean, everyone does amazing every week, so it's almost like, you know, it's always up in the air. You never know.
Reality TV World: It was clear the hip-hop routine had a lot of choreography, fast pacing and was exhausting for you two. Did you feel like, of all the hip-hop routines you could've learned, you pretty much got the most difficult one possible? (Laughs) Did you feel very challenged even though you were dancing a genre of which you felt comfortable?
Mariah Spears: (Laughs) Yeah, I mean, it was super fast and super high-energy, but it made it that much more exciting.
Reality TV World: The judges absolutely loved you in the hip-hop routine from last week, saying you were effortless and shining. But this week, the judges seemed to think your jazz routine was just "good-ish" -- as Nigel put it -- and that the second half kind of lacked. Do you wish you could've changed anything about your performance looking back, and do you think that was the main or sole reason why the judges sent you home?
Mariah Spears: I think that we did everything we could with that jazz routine. It was a great routine and it was really difficult for us. I think that we definitely left all we could on that stage, and I never could have wished for anything more.
And it definitely comes down to -- all of these dancers, the whole Top 20, were absolutely incredible dancers. And it just comes down to one person has to go home each week and [Makenzie Dustman] was flawless, you know?
Reality TV World: The video clip in last night's episode showed how you were a cheerleader for awhile and absolutely loved every minute of it, which makes it even more ironic or notable you preferred style is crumping. Could you talk a little bit about how you began crumping, how you got so good at it and at what point in your life you became passionate about the style?
Mariah Spears: Yeah, I mean, I've always been interested in being really diverse and trying do things that like people wouldn't expect. And so, I started doing hip-hop when I was like eight, but my teacher Chris Thomas came to my studio and started teaching, and he's a crumper.
And I just got taken under his wing and just started like absolutely loving it and loving everything he taught -- it was confidence or just regular choreography, and yeah, I guess I just took it and ran with it because it was so cool and so different.
Reality TV World: Why did you originally audition for So You Think You Can Dance and how many times did you try out before actually making it into the Top 20?
Mariah Spears: I had watched since the first season and have known people who have gone through it, and just ever since I saw the first season, I was like, "Oh my gosh, it's my dream to be on this show." And so, I auditioned in Season 9 also and got cut in Vegas Week, and then I auditioned again this year and I made it!
Reality TV World: What's next for you? What are your future plans?
Mariah Spears: I'm going to go back to school for dance and just keep training and trying to become more of a trained technical dancer -- and then start auditioning and see how it goes from there!
Below are some additional highlights from Mariah's call with reporters.
Mariah Spears: It would be so, so amazing and such a dream to come back as an all-star, because So You Think You Can Dance is just such a family and I would love to be able to stay a part of that family.
As a crumper, that's still even a little bit different than hip-hop, so you're technically dancing a different genre every week none of which is in your real comfort zone. Is that very difficult?
Mariah Spears: Yeah, I mean, it's definitely more difficult just because we've never done anything like that before, but it just pushes us to work even harder, you know?
Was it fun and exciting to switch partners throughout the season or more challenging? Did you learn something new from each partner?
Mariah Spears: It's so cool to see and learn how different people work and we all bonded so quickly. It's not hard.
What does it mean to you to represent female hip-hoppers on So You Think You Can Dance? Because they haven't been highly represented in the past.
Mariah Spears: It feels so amazing to be able to say that I can represent something that hasn't really been on the show. I mean, it has before, but not in a long time and not very much. So to be able to be one of those girls -- one of the three, I believe -- that have been able to do that, it's just so cool and such a unique thing that I have that I was so blessed to be able to portray on the show.
What are your thoughts on criticism that guest judges on the show don't have enough of a background in dance to be able to judge your performances accurately or fairly?
Mariah Spears: They do judge very well. I mean, they all are a part of the entertainment industry, which is what dance is a part of. It's not always about like the technique or anything.
I mean, they have judges that can comment on that and I'm sure just by watching dance, you may not know everything about it, but you can see that stuff. But it's more about the whole entertainment value, I feel like, and that's what the guest judges bring. They bring something different -- a different perspective on what you see every week.
Does the lack of a results show make it more difficult in a sense that you're immediately preparing for a performance with the knowledge that eliminations are going to take place immediately after?
Mariah Spears: Definitely. It is really hard without a results show to just separate your performance from the whole stress of, "Okay, well, I might go home after this performance." But at the same time, it pushes you to leave everything that you have out there, because you know this could be your last time performing.
Check back with Reality TV World soon for our interview with BluPrint.