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Hillsborough's Ricky Jaime competes to stay on "So You Think You can Dance?"

So You Think You Can Dance? contestant Ricky Jaime performs onstage during the July 21 episode.

Michael Becker | Fox

So You Think You Can Dance? contestant Ricky Jaime performs onstage during the July 21 episode.

Doris Davila spends every Thursday holding her breath for an entire hour.

Yvette Breheney rides a roller coaster every Thursday without setting foot into Busch Gardens. Cindy Tourgee gets butterflies, and anxiety grips the entire Ledenham family every Thursday.

Shea Crawford sets his DVR every Thursday and then turns his cell phone off, afraid someone would spoil his personal replay.

Every Thursday night, judges, choreographers, voters and one Newsome High School graduate named Ricky Jaime send people all around Hillsborough County into a tizzy, and so far, they have loved every nerve-racking minute.

That's because Jaime's ascension on So You Think You Can Dance? defies his youth and experience.

As he's done the past six weeks, Jaime, 19, will be among the competitors on a two-hour episode tonight at 8, followed by that gut-wrenching Thursday night elimination show at 8 in which the judges, including guest judge Lady Gaga, will help determine if he survives another round.

So far, he's made it to the top eight despite a propensity for being among the final four contestants who have to "dance for their lives."

It appears it's voters, who determine the final four, that Jaime needs to win over. The judges, who have saved him from elimination, rave.

Last week, judge Nigel Lythgoe described his routine to Tori Amos' Precious Things as "sensational." Fellow judge Mary Murphy called him "raw, reckless, passionate and committed," and guest judge Neil Patrick Harris labeled Jaime "fierce."

Making the top 10 ensured Jaime will be part of the 2011 So You Think You Can Dance Tour, which launches Sept. 17 at Orlando's Amway Center. That was his initial goal, but proud family and friends believe he can go further if he gets more support from the community.

"He does everything under his power to do his best, and I think that's what taking him so far," Davila, his mother, said this week.

Like Davila, other supporters, including Chris Ledenhem and her four daughters who are friends with Jaime, credit his determination, as well as his talent and a remarkable attitude.

He left a positive impression with his cheerleading coaches at Newsome (Tourgee) and the Brandon All-Stars (Crawford), and proved equally popular as a student and teacher for Breheney at Centerstage Dance Academy in Tampa.

"He just has that star quality," Breheney said. "He not only has the talent, but he has the charisma, the face. He's the whole package."

Breheney says Jaime also impressed her by putting in an extra effort to prepare his students for the year-end recital before beginning his quest for national fame.

Davila, who has flown to Los Angeles to see most of his performances in person, also noted that her son loves to teach, and often helps his fellow contestants with their routines. She laughs and says sometimes it appears Jaime forgets he's in a competition.

"He wants to see other people succeed as well," Davila said. "I think that has a lot to do with the impression he's had on people.

"He has an amazing personality that shines … a little star that shines differently. Wherever he goes that's going to be a positive thing for him."

. fast facts

If you go

Supporters will stage viewing parties for So You Think You Can Dance? contestant Ricky Jaime at Buffalo Wild Wings, 13402 Boyette Road, Riverview; and at Burrito Boarder, 12908 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa.

Hillsborough's Ricky Jaime competes to stay on "So You Think You can Dance?" 07/26/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 8:03am]
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