It was disappointing to see Mitchell Kelly ousted Thursday from "So You Think You Can Dance." In his solos, especially, he almost matched the magnificence of Danny Tidwell, years ago. Here's the story I sent to papers, after interviewing him and Clarice Ordaz today:
By MIKE HUGHES
After being dumped from a reality show,
young dancers and singers often insist they have no regrets.
Well, Mitchell Kelly granted today
that he has one regret: “I really wanted to see Lady Gaga.”
He missed that by a week on “So You
Think You Can Dance.” Gaga will be a guest judge Wednesday (along
with Oscar-nominated “Chicago” director Rob Marshall) and will
This week, Kelly, 20, faced Neil
Patrick Harris, who resisted the feel-good style of most guest
judges. On Wednesday, Harris said he just didn't get the Broadway
number that Tyce Diorio had choreographed for Kelly.
Viewers promptly put Kelly in the
bottom two, alongside his friend Ricky Jaime. (“He's like a little
brother of mine …. I want to see him soar,” Kelly said.) On
Thursday, judges sent Kelly home.
That means no Gaga for him, but the
timing was perfect otherwise: By making the top 10, he and Clarice
Ordaz, 19 had already landed spots on the show's tour.
“I feel bad that for two weeks, we
won't be able to get up and just rehearse every day,” Ordaz said.
But then “we'll all be back to rehearse for the finale” and the
Dance has filled up most of her 19
years. She started at age 2 in Whittier, Cal., and says, “I grew up
in a studio.” Along the way, she learned every style, from ballet
to hip hop.
Well, almost every style. She had never
done Bollywood dance until “Dance” – first in a group number
and this week in a duet. “I was really nervous that Bollywood
wouldn't be as popular,” she said.
It seemed to be popular with the studio
audience and the judges, but not with the voters. Ordaz was in the
bottom two with Jordan Casanova; the judges sent her home.
That's a problem, Ordaz said. “The
more out-of-the-box styles are harder to pull through for viewers.”
Kelly agreed. “Everyone loves
hip-hop, jazz (and) contemporary, but the others just have them
saying 'OK.'” That includes his style this week: “Broadway is a
really hard genre; it's not all leaps and jumps.”
Originally from Chicago and now in
Atlanta, Kelly didn't start lessons until he was 15. His inspiration?
“Basically, children. You look at children dancing around and …
having a great time.”
Kelly reflects that sense of joy – so
much so that judges criticized his smiles during Wednesday's
performance. “I am very happy,” he said. He's just not happy
about missing Gaga.
– “So You Think You Can Dance,”
– 8-10 p.m. Wednesdays: Dancers
(eight remain) each solo and duet with an “all-star”; viewers
– 8-9 p.m. Thursdays: Bottom two men
and bottom two women solo again; judges oust one of each