A week after their shared birthday (July 14), So You Think You Can Dancers Dmitry Chaplin, 24, and Martha Nichols, 19, were dismissed from the stage. But not before executive producer and judge Nigel Lythgoe gave them something to look forward to: Plans are in the works for a tour of the top 10 dancers, à la American Idol. The morning after their elimination, TVGuide.com caught up with the oft-shirtless Latin-ballroom stud and the leggy contemporary dancer to get their postgame analysis and give them a chance to talk back to their critics.
TVGuide.com: Were you surprised about your elimination?
Dmitry Chaplin: Yes and no. I was surprised I got in the bottom two, just because I'm really a perfectionist in a way, so every time I watch my dance I don't like it. But this time, when I was watching, I actually thought, performance-wise, it was good.
TVGuide.com: Nigel had been on your case about showing off your chest too much. Do you think your sex appeal backfired in a way?
Dmitry: This is a TV show, and he had to say it even though I know he didn't mean it, because he came up to me after and said it's fine. I didn't take it personally. For the audience, it's kind of awkward to see my shirt open all the time, but as a ballroom dancer I always compete with open shirts. This is the custom. It's not like I just decided to come on the show and undress.
TVGuide.com: You and host Cat Deeley seemed rather flirty on stage in recent weeks. Is there a reason behind that?
Dmitry: She's not just nice to me, she's nice to everyone. She's really happy for you every time; she's not fake. And if something bad happens for you, like when I was leaving yesterday, I saw it in her face, too. That's how she reacts to everyone, simply because she is an amazing person. No, there's nothing between me and Cat.
TVGuide.com: Are you single?
Dmitry: Yes, I am at the moment.
TVGuide.com: Cat called you the Colin Farrell of SYTYCD because you went through so many partners. What happened to them?
Dmitry: I think Joy and Aleksandra were two of the weakest girls. It's not that they were bad, but I think it was their time to go home. I was just the "lucky one" who kept getting them. I'm kind of upset a little bit that I didn't start dancing with Ashlee right away, because I think we would have made a really good couple [with more weeks together].
TVGuide.com: What was the hardest thing about this competition?
Dmitry: I still want to keep dancing and I still want to take lessons from those people and work with those amazing choreographers, so the hardest thing is going to be sitting in the audience and watching the competition.
TVGuide.com: What was your favorite routine?
Dmitry: The group routine that we did last [week] was my favorite.
TVGuide.com: More than your ballroom routines?
Dmitry: Ballroom was a common thing for me. That's what I do every day.
TVGuide.com: Before the show, you were working with Dancing with the Stars pro Louis van Amstel. Did he give you any advice about dancing on TV?
Dmitry: He is actually the one who pushed me to go for the show. I didn't think I would make it this far, because of my lack of training in other styles. But he said, "Just go and try, because you never know."
TVGuide.com: Do you think your experience in the ballroom circuit prepared you for the show?
Dmitry: Ballroom competitions definitely prepared me. It's really tough mentally especially when you have to do your solo and you don't know if you're going to be cut. People who don't have a lot of experience in competitions... it puts so much pressure on them and they just lose themselves on the floor. Because I've been competing for all my life, it made me stronger.
TVGuide.com: What's next for you?
Dmitry: I'm not going to stop dancing, because that's what people like me for and know me for. I'm going to do modeling and acting. I'm going to start taking acting lessons. People already came up to me with ideas.
And now, Martha....
TVGuide.com: It broke my heart last Wednesday night to see you crying after the judges' critique of your solo.
Martha Nichols: It looked like I was a wimp and that I was just crying because they said I sucked, and that was not the case. They edited out my comments about my mom's death [last year] and it being hard to concentrate because I had a lot on my mind last week. It was a bad week for me.
TVGuide.com: What do you think about their comments that you weren't standing out enough, that you let your partners overshadow you?
Martha: Sometimes they go overboard with their criticism. But on the flip side, this is what I signed up for, a TV show. The harsher they are, the more ratings they get.
TVGuide.com: Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
Martha: I wish I would have picked "contemporary" out of the hat, because out of the top 10 I was the only person who had yet to draw my specialty. I had ballroom for three straight weeks, and I've never taken ballroom before in my life. Then I had hip-hop, and Broadway and krumping. Everybody at least had that one week to [make people realize], "Oh, my god, this is why you're in the competition." But I was out of my element every single week.
TVGuide.com: No one seemed to remember that you were one of the youngest dancers there. Was age a factor in some of what the judges were saying about your performance?
Martha: I think it is. I'm not really seasoned like some of the other dancers are. Then again, I guess I don't carry myself as 18. Mary [Murphy] said she thought I was 22, 24. I'm the same age as Allison, Travis and Ivan.
TVGuide.com: What did you do to celebrate your birthday?
Martha: It was a hard birthday, because it was my first real birthday without my mom after her passing last summer. I didn't really have time to celebrate 'cause we were in rehearsals. But my dance teacher flew out here, and I went to dinner with her.
TVGuide.com: What was it like learning so many more dances in your final week?
Martha: It was very hard and stressful because we didn't have that much time to learn one dance, and in the same amount of time we learned three dances. It was a lot to take in.
TVGuide.com: What kind of experience did you have on stage before this?
Martha: Competitions and things like that. But this show is my first real job, my first real audition for anything major.
TVGuide.com: If you ever need a break from dancing, will you do some kind of workout video? I want to know how to get those arms!
Martha: Believe it or not, it's all genetic. All of my first cousins have the exact same arms as me. I probably eat more than anybody here from the top 20, with the exception of Dmitry.
TVGuide.com: What do you think about the idea of a So You Think You Can Dance tour?
Martha: I am so excited about it! We all are. We have grown closer and our bonds are amazing. Being together for five weeks in a row will be challenging, but it will be a lot of fun.
TVGuide.com: What else do you have planned?
Martha: I'm probably going to move out [to Los Angeles] and pursue dancing. Then when I'm older, I kind of want to try Broadway, because I also sing. I guess I'm going to try to walk through the doors that God opened for me.
Keep posted on the latest twists and terminations from your favorite unscripted shows with TV Guide's Summer Reality Check column.
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