As the season finale of So You Think You Can Dance tiptoes toward us, it's safe to say that few fans will be happy to say goodbye to the remaining dancers. The most recent elimination dealt a shocking blow: Longtime favorite Allison Holker, the 18-year-old contemporary specialist from Utah, was voted off the stage. The other ousted performer, 20-year-old New Yorker Ryan Rankine, was less surprised about leaving, since for weeks the judges had been harping on him for holding back and lacking self-confidence. TVGuide.com caught up with the two last Friday to see if judge Nigel Lythgoe should hand in his amateur-shrink license, and if America was watching a completely different show than we were.
TVGuide.com: You were robbed! Were you as shocked as we were that you left so early?
Allison Holker: You cannot predict these things. We four girls really did not know who was going home. We all knew it could have been any of us.
TVGuide.com: During the week, do you guys discuss how the people are voting, or are you just focused on the dancing?
Allison: Of course I'm wondering how America is judging us. It's always on your mind. You're always wondering, "Am I doing the right thing? Are they enjoying me? Do they really like me?" That's what makes the show so hard. If it was just about dancing, none of us would be stressed out at all, we'd just be having the time of our lives.
TVGuide.com: So why do you think you were voted off?
Allison: I don't ever want to sound cocky or anything, but people have been telling me that I came into the competition being really versatile. I am only a contemporary jazz dancer, but they kind of consider me doing everything because I adapt really well. So it seemed not so impressive that I could do [different dance styles] well. I never really got a lot of praise.
TVGuide.com: As opposed to the way everyone was fawning over your partner, Ivan Koumaev.
Allison: Exactly. I freakin' love Ivan, that's my boy. And he went from being the lowest point to being the underdog that's sweeping everyone off their feet. All the more power to him, because that boy's working his butt off, and he deserves everything he's got. America loves to see the improvement, the person who's come out of nowhere.
TVGuide.com: Which was your favorite performance?
Allison: My contemporary piece with Ivan was by far my favorite. I love that piece. Tyce Diorio is amazing, the choreography was so good. But also the two tangos that we did. I'm in love with the tango it just puts you in a different person's shoes.
TVGuide.com: Had you ever done it before?
Allison: I've never done any type of ballroom. After the show, I'm going to start training a lot and hopefully become a ballroom dancer professionally. In addition to everything else.
TVGuide.com: Did you wish you'd had the chance to partner with anyone else on the show?
Allison: I love Ivan with all my heart, but I would have loved to dance with Travis [Wall]. We dance so much alike, and we have so much history together not personal history, but we worked together this last year... [for] a convention called New York City Dance Alliance. Last summer, I won the national title. After you win that, you go on tour and assist them and help teach. Travis had won a couple years back. We became close there. It would have been fun to show how we know each other that well.
TVGuide.com: And that's why you directed your farewell solo to him on the stage?
Allison: It was me just passing on [to Travis] that I'm leaving the show, but I still love you and you're still here.... And this is my goodbye to you.
TVGuide.com: I've read that you also knew Jaymz Tuaileva before the show.
Allison: We went to high school together, and we went to homecoming together my sophomore year. It's a small world. It's so crazy how many of us knew each other. I also knew Joy, Erin and Ben before this.
TVGuide.com: What's the deal with dancers coming out of Utah? That's not exactly the first state that comes to mind when you think of dance.
Allison: There is so much dancing in Utah. I come from a little town in Utah called Orem. People don't even know where the crap that is! And in that city alone, there are like eight dance studios. There's nothing else to do in Utah!
TVGuide.com: Have you received offers for jobs after the show?
Allison: I've had a few offers here and there, just little things. It's too early to say what I'm going to do, because I'm still under contract. We're doing the tour, and there's a lot going on, so we can't really expect a whole lot right now. There's a lot of teaching offers, convention things, even some modeling.
TVGuide.com: Have your goals changed after this competition?
Allison: I don't think they necessarily changed. I've always been one of those kids who sets high goals for myself. Even before I made the show, I wanted to do TV, music videos, Broadway shows. I wanted to hit every aspect of dance. But actually now being on the TV show has shown me that I can reach all those goals. Everything is possible.
And as for Ryan....
TVGuide.com: Were you expecting to leave this week?
Ryan Rankine: I kinda knew what was going to happen. I kinda felt it in my spirit because of how the judges have been getting on me for the last couple of weeks. And I was in the bottom the week before. Then Travis [was in the bottom two with me], and I kind of see Travis as winning the whole competition. I knew it was my time. I was happy that I was able to be a part of this experience and grow from it as I did.
TVGuide.com: For weeks now, you looked surprised every time you weren't eliminated.
Ryan: Because it's so unpredictable, the nature of the show. You can be America's favorite one week, and then America hates you the next minute.... There was so much going on Thursday. It's my worst day. It should be Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday. You create bonds with these people around you. Not only the cast but in wardrobe and music, these people you see every single day, and then when you go home, you're leaving all of them. You don't know when is the next time you're going to see everybody. That was the hardest thing about leaving the show.
TVGuide.com: What was the hardest aspect of this competition?
Ryan: What was so difficult for me was to open up and be comfortable in front of the cameras. I didn't watch last season, so I came into this thinking that it was a dance competition and not a personality competition. I came into this blind, and the judges hit me with that personality card. Then throughout the show, no matter what I did, they didn't let go of that. When I did say personal comments from my heart, it would somehow get edited out of the tapings. It just wasn't coming across.
TVGuide.com: Can you give us an example of what was cut?
Ryan: After disco this week, Cat asked me how I thought I did, and I said I was just having fun and if I can inspire one person to dance and not do anything negative with their life, then I've done my job. But I saw it in shorter form and they didn't use any of it.
TVGuide.com: Is there any truth to Nigel's comment that you lack self-confidence?
Ryan: He's definitely off with that. I definitely have enough confidence in myself. I know who I am. I know exactly what I can do. If anything, I wasn't allowing myself to open up in front of millions of viewers through a little camera. If I were in an arena and you had millions of people there, I could do that, because I'm dancing to human beings. I'm more of an internal dancer, and that obviously doesn't read well on camera.
TVGuide.com: Do you think you just got off on the wrong foot?
Ryan: Toward the beginning it was really rough, because they barely showed me in the Vegas week. They didn't give me a lot of airtime before [Hollywood], so no one really knew me going into it. And then as soon as I started dancing they gave me that "no personality" [label], which made it even harder for me.
TVGuide.com: For weeks, all we saw were the awful dancers.
Ryan: Yeah, it was retarded. Then they show the top 20 and it's like, "Who are these people?" I think it would be much better to show the journey of the dancers that you will be seeing compete, as opposed to the people that make you laugh.
TVGuide.com: In your Fox.com bio, you say you were kicked out of school for SYTYCD. What happened?
Ryan: My school, SUNY Purchase College, throws a spring concert every year, and the semifinals in Vegas conflicted with the second week of their concert. They said either go to the auditions and get kicked out of school or stay and don't do the competition. I don't regret a minute of it. You have to make sacrifices for amazing things to happen.
TVGuide.com: After the tour, what are you going to do?
Ryan: I probably will come back to New York, because that's just home to me. Then I'll probably move to L.A. to see what job opportunities will come up. I'm just open-minded to everything right now and weighing my options. It's basically who calls me first.