Max Kapitannikov, Ashley Valerio talk 'So You Think You Can Dance'
By Christopher Rocchio, 06/22/2009
Max Kapitannikov said he anticipated his So You Think You Can Dance ouster when he found himself among the bottom three males with Kupono Aweau and Jason Glover during Thursday night's results show.
"I kind of predicted that I was going to leave when the judges were giving us their comments and it was just between me and Kupono," Kapitannikov told reporters during a Friday conference call. "But I don't think I have any regrets. Kupono is a good dancer and [so is] Jason and every other guy actually. They deserve to be there."
The 26-year-old Latin ballroom dancer from Moscow, Russia who currently resides in Brooklyn, NY was subsequently eliminated from So You Think You Can Dance's fifth season along with Ashley Valerio, a 22-year-old contemporary dancer from Mesa, AZ who currently resides in North Hollywood, CA.
Valerio had been partnered with Aweau, and the couple performed a hip-hop routine choreographed by Shane Sparks on Wednesday night's performance show -- however the judges hadn't been particularly impressed by it, with Mary Murphy stating it "wasn't memorable" and Nigel Lythgoe claiming he was "underwhelmed."
"I actually felt like me and Kupono performed that dance the best that we possibly could, I think. I re-watched it just to kind of see where we went wrong and what we could have done better. I think there's always room for improvement, but I think we looked great," Valerio told reporters during a separate Friday conference call.
"I really don't have any regrets about what we did. I got a lot of good comments, a lot of good feedback from other professional dancers that thought that the dance was really, really good and high energy. You know, some people like you and some people don't and it's all a judgment game and you can't please everyone."
In addition, Valerio said the random routine assignments the contestants receive every week "are crucial to your position on the show."
"I think that Shane's piece was awesome. I really do. Unfortunately, dance is a judging game, you know? Like some people can absolutely love something and the next person can absolutely hate it, you know? It's all about other people's views," she explained.
"So, you can't please everybody and I really felt like we did a great job. But it's true. It's a big part of that. So if you have great choreography and if the choreographer showcases you, you have better chances for sure."
Kapitannikov had been partnered with Kayla Radomski, and the couple received positive feedback for their Wednesday night performance of a pop jazz routine that had been choreographed by Brian Friedman. Despite the fact that the routine was out of his comfort zone, Kapitannikov said he was focused.
"I have to say that I'm pretty focused when I'm on stage," he told reporters. "Of course thousands of thoughts went through your head but you just have to kind of zoom in on what you're about to do, just kind of visualize the routine before you're going to do it, and just go for it."
Both Kapitannikov and Valerio were ousted by the judges after performing a 30-second solo routine, and Valerio said she doesn't regret the slow start to her solo performance that might have hindered her opportunity to show the type of dancer she is.
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"Growing up I've always just kind of been in my own world when I dance. I don't like to do what's expected of me. I don't like to lift my leg up and do a million turns. I think that gets tiresome," she explained to reporters. "I just really wanted to be me and just kind of do what I do when I do solos. I didn't want to sell out and do something that everybody wanted me to do... I just really wanted to be me and that's what I do and I loved it. It was fun."
Neither Kapitannikov nor Valerio's elimination was a unanimous decision by the judges, however Valerio said she's unsure which of the three judges most-supported her ouster.
"I have no idea. I really don't know. I'm clueless to that decision. I have no idea," she said. "I was really confident last night and I really enjoyed doing my solo. I felt really great about it. I have no clue."
Despite her early elimination, Valerio said simply making the season's Top 20 was a goal of hers after previously auditioning for the show three times.
"I moved out to Hollywood to be a dancer and I ended up just teaching and not really auditioning and not really doing what I wanted," she said. "And then the show came along and it just kind of all came together."
"I came into this competition kind of selfish and all about me. You know, 'I want to get into the Top 20, I want to do this.' And being around all these phenomenal dancers and people, I just really grew to love them," she said.
"What I'm going to take away from it is obviously, I'm going to be a better dancer than when I came in, but it's the friendships that really changed who I was and I just really love them a lot. I'll take that with me and I'll have that forever. Right now I feel like I'm on top of the world because I got to work with two of my most favorite choreographers in the world, Wade Robson and Mia Michaels, and they both pushed me past my limits and I feel like a stronger person and a stronger dancer and I'm excited to take on more things."
Valerio also offered some insight into the new partnership of Aweau and Radomski -- who are now paired together due to their previous partners' eliminations.
"I think Kayla and Kupono are going to be phenomenal together because I know working with Kupono he was a great, great person and great partner," she explained. "He always made me smile, we were always laughing, and I think he'll bring out the best in Kayla."