Riverview teen Ricky Jaime eliminated just short of the finals on Fox's So You Think You Can Dance
LOS ANGELES -- Even as the end credits rolled on his last episode of So You Think You Can Dance, Ricky Jaime was trying to find something positive to say about getting ejected from the biggest opportunity of his young life.
"I'm alright...I just tell people never to give up," said Jaime, 19, wiping tears from his eyes backstage at the show Thursday, minutes after being told the show's audience didn't vote him into the contest's final four dancers. Jaime joined Caitlynn Lawson in leaving the contest.
His emotion brought a quick hug from judge Mary Murphy, who held him tightly while praising the Riverview teen's tenacity. "There was a time when everyone behind the scenes was against him -- until he took his solo dance," Murphy said of a moment in the show's second week when he stumbled and was forced to impress the judges by dancing for his life. "Not only does his have a good heart, he just shoves the dance right down our throat until we see his talent."
Jaime's tearful, dejected reaction was a sharp contrast from his attitude just 24 hours earlier, when he faced the press after Wednesday's performance show with a smile and boundless enthusiasm -- emerging from the surprisingly small studios at CBS' Television City complex in Hollywood like he'd been named Homecoming King at the world's coolest high school.
The hourlong ejection episode moved like clockwork Thursday, filled out with performances by American Idol semi-finalist Pia Toscano and a dance troupe the Bad Boys of Dance.
Surprisingly, parts of the live show were taped earlier, with the program's opening group dance number and Toscano's lip synched performance recorded earlier in the day. Looking at the show's cramped stage -- easily one-quarter the size it appears on television, flanked by huge, neon-ringed video monitors and a forest of scaffolding -- it was easy to see why producers avoided time consuming set and costume changes by recording parts in advance.
Jaime and the other dancers on contention didn't get much performance time during the show, outside of a brief, 30-second number used to introduce each contestant. Even in that brief interlude Jaime managed to shine, executing a somersault into a sitting position that galvanized the crowd instantly.
Still, even during the live performance, the crowd's allegiances were easy to observe. Female finalist Melanie Moore seem to have the most fans in the hose and was the first contestant moved forward to the finals next week. Sasha Mallory and Marko Germar followed with street dancing machine Tadd Gadduang the final dancer moved ahead in the biggest vote of the season.
Jaime will still appear next week in the show's finale, along with the rest of the program's Top 10 dancers. And he'll dance the contest's 30-city tour, kicking off Sept. 17 at Amway Center in Orlando.
And he had one message left for his hometown fans: "I'm still really happy that I got to do this at all," he said, hugging Murphy one last time before facing along line of journalists waiting to ask about his ejection from the show. "It's amazing that I would watch this lady all the time on TV and now I get to stand here and hold her. I really don't want to let go."