Daniel Baker, Janaya French and Nick Bloxsom-Carter
In So You Think You Can Dance's first elimination episode of the season, the judges sent Alexa Anderson, Daniel Baker, Nick Bloxsom-Carter and Janaya French home Wednesday night.
Although Anderson was not available, the other three spoke to reporters about their time on the show and thoughts on the new once-weekly episode format. Do they like the season's changes? Which dancer is taking off for Mexico? Who is setting their sights on Dancing with the Stars? Check out the interview below:
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Do you like the new format this year of having the elimination in the same episode as the performances?
Janaya French: I like the new format, but we didn't have anything to compare it to. We got to stay together as the Top 20 longer than usual, which is really nice. I didn't mind it at all.
Nick Bloxsom-Carter: We were able to perform so many more times, more than twice. You're on that stage a lot. I really enjoyed it.
Daniel Baker: At the same time, though, I didn't get the chance to dance for my life, but the judges already had their minds made up. It's one less chance to show you can dance. I like the fast pace of it.
Do you think it would have been easier if you were working with the two-day format for the show (performance night followed by elimination night)?
French: It would have been different if we had two days like in past seasons. It's kind of a luxury of time. To fit all that in one episode, it was crazy... It was a lot of stress and a time crunch. It had to go fast, so we didn't get those [video] packages, so America didn't get to know us quite as well. We don't get to show our personalities anymore, which is kind of a bummer. I went into this with less camera time [than the other dancers]. I just sort of popped into the Top 20, and not many people knew who I was, so it was hard to go from the bottom and show who I am.
Do you think it's fair that the judges know who's in the Bottom 3 before you do your performances of the night?
Bloxsom-Carter: When we do perform a duo, I think it's nice that the judges can change their minds. They may know who's in the Bottom 3, but they don't tell you until after you perform. Your performance can sway their minds.
French: I didn't think about it much when I was performing that they knew already. I had so much going on in my head that it didn't cross my mind... I wasn't pleased what they said about my piece the week before, so I wanted another chance to prove to them that I was capable of that performance, and I think I was more successful this week, and they did acknowledge that. So I do think we have the ability to help ourselves a little bit more.
Baker: I like the idea that we have the ability to change their minds, but I've been reading things where there are double standards in the critiquing and especially for the [dancers] going home. There's the potential to manipulate the audience if they know they're going home to justify it with those comments.
Would you have liked to swap partners each week? Daniel, you got comments about your chemistry with Alexa.
Baker: I loved working with Alexa. She was great. But it would've been nice to change partners just to try it out. Some people have extension that's more crowd-pleasing; some people are all about chemistry. It would have been nice to switch out the partners, especially when it comes to that chemistry. I felt that in my routine. I was held back a bit because we were supposed to appear nude, but the network wouldn't have allowed that. I was told to make it more family-friendly, keep it tasteful.
French: It's hard to say because we didn't get to try it out. I loved working with Brandon as a partner. But we did have difficulties since he's a hip-hop dancer and a stepper, and I'm mostly contemporary. It's hard because our strengths are different, but also cool in the way that they took both of our strengths and tried to incorporate both of them. It was nice to work with him because I learned something different. But of course there are so many people in the cast I would love to work with.
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What was the most challenging thing about the competition when you performed live?
French: I think the most challenging thing was the mentality you have to have to make sure you were strong, positive. Everybody wants so much from you. You didn't want to disappoint America or disappoint the judges, so it was a lot on your mind all the time. So I had to try a lot harder than normal to stay positive and not get down on myself. So with the live show, with the judges and critiques, it was stressful, but you just had to make sure you had a clear head if possible.
Bloxsom-Carter: During the show, I thought before that I was a strong individual, but after doing the show, you have to keep your mind in a positive area... if you have any shred of doubt or feel defeated, then it shows. There's no room for mistake on TV now... I feel like it was a great learning experience.
Baker: I think the biggest challenge was the time restrictions.
What are your plans for the future?
French: I think this experience is obviously going to help. I was already out in L.A. trying to audition and find jobs that way. The people I got to work with on the show, I never would have had the chance to work with in an intimate setting if not for this opportunity I was given... I'm still going to dance. Nothing about this changed my mind about anything. It kind of lit a fire beneath me. I've realized that this is exactly what I want to do. So I'm excited to get back into things that my career will take off from.
Bloxsom-Carter: As far as what I'm doing, I was going to school, studying business management and dance. I'm definitely going to keep auditioning. And since I worked with Jason Gilkison, I'd love to work with him on Burn the Floor. And maybe work on Dancing with the Stars as a pro, but that's later in the future. And start in production as well. I'm a dancer, but now that I've worked on the other side of it, I'd have the best of both worlds.
Baker: I'm just exploring the commercial dance world and getting an agent this week to have a job or two lined up for the future and I'm also choreographing .... for the New York City Ballet later this year, so I'm excited about that.
What are you doing to relax or have fun now before diving back into your career?
French: I'm at a beach house with my family in Long Beach. They've been here all week and have watched me on the show. So I'm going to spend time with family and go to the beach and lay out.
Bloxsom-Carter: I'm at home with my family, and my brother's actually making breakfast -- not for me though! I've got to eat alone. [Laughs] As you might be able to tell [from my voice], I'm sick. With this show, my body is done with all the stress and I've got to relax, but that means I'm getting more sick. I'm trying to get over that cold and trying to rest.
Baker: I'm renting a car and I'm driving to Mexico to get some space and clear my head and figure out what's next.
Next week, Christina Applegate will guest-judge on So You Think You Can Dance, which airs Wednesday at 8/7c on Fox.
Are you sad to see any of these dancers go? Do you think the new format is fair?