Love her or hate her, 19-year-old Lauren Gottlieb impressed the So You Think You Can Dance judges and audience with her versatile dance technique and her big personality. She chatted with TVGuide.com about the best 45 seconds of her life, her onstage kiss with Dominic and her post-Dance dreams.
TVGuide.com: Were you surprised by your elimination?
Lauren Gottlieb: No, I wasn't surprised because I'd been in the bottom for, like, the past four weeks, and you have to prepare yourself. But there was something in me that really thought I had done enough to be in the finals.
TVGuide.com: Did being in the bottom the last few weeks affect the way you were approaching the show?
Lauren: No, it actually gave me more steam. I think at first, I just couldn't believe [I was in the bottom]. There were a few weeks where I was just like, "Oh no, this is the worst thing!" But after a while it felt more natural and more like home. So no, it wasn't so bad, and it gave me a little more fire.
TVGuide.com: Do you think you deserved to go home, though?
Lauren: No, I really don't. I really wish I was still there. But you look at it and two people had to go home. Everyone's amazing, but it had to be two people, so it was me and Pasha.
TVGuide.com: You showed a lot of versatility in doing different forms of dance. What's your favorite?
Lauren: I don't think I have a favorite. I just grew up with two really great dance teachers who put me in everything. It was kind of the rule with our company — we had to take [classes in] every single style — so I never really specialized in anything. I just loved all different art forms, so I'd say [my specialty is] a kind of a mix between hip-hop, contemporary and jazz.
TVGuide.com: Early on, in the audition rounds, you got a lot of screen time. Do you think that affected how people voted for you later?
Lauren: I loved it when I first saw the L.A. auditions and got a lot of screen time. It's cool; you get a lot of different stories on the show, I think. There are people who are shown and talked about a lot, and then there are a few people who aren't shown at all but are doing amazing in the competition. I don't think it matters, because once the [top 20] starts, it's kind of like a new slate.
TVGuide.com: Did your having been involved with the show last year impact your experience at all?
Lauren: Yeah, definitely. Anything you do to work with choreographers and people who have so much more knowledge is always a blessing and a good thing because it just broadens your knowledge. And yeah, it was cool: I got to help out with the show before I was on it so I kind of got the feeling of it. That was a great experience, and to then turn around and do the show was like two opposite experiences at the same time.
TVGuide.com: You were also a favorite of the judges all along. What was that like?
Lauren: It was a lot of pressure. In the Las Vegas episode [when the top 20 were selected], they actually tricked me and told me, "You're not going to be on the show because you helped out with the choreographers." And then they said they were going to push me harder than anyone else because they knew I could do it, and they wanted to prove to people that there was no favoritism, which obviously there wasn't. So I knew going into it that they were going to push me.
TVGuide.com: Did you ever resent that extra attention, or did you appreciate it?
Lauren: No, I like to be pushed. It's nice when things come easy, but it's a sweeter challenge if you have to fight for it.
TVGuide.com: Do you have a favorite memory from the show?
Lauren: I'd say doing Wade Robson's solo because I got to dedicate it to my brother, who's going to war next year. It's my favorite 45 seconds I've ever had, just being up there. I don't know, there's something about it that was just really truthful, really honest and powerful.
TVGuide.com: Was it weird performing that solo knowing that everyone else was doing the exact same one?
Lauren: No, it didn't matter at all because it was everyone's take on the choreography and their own self put into that. I really enjoyed it. I don't know how America [felt] seeing the same dance 10 times, but I thought it was a cool thing for the show.
TVGuide.com: Did you have a least favorite dance?
Lauren: Probably anything in heels. To be honest, my feet are demolished from that show.
TVGuide.com: You showed off a lot of bruises. How are those injuries doing?
Lauren: They're good — I didn't have any real injuries, nothing badly hurt. I don't know why I bruise! [Maybe] I need vitamins or potassium or something.
TVGuide.com: Did you have any break between the results show and getting ready for the finale?
Lauren: Yeah, that was the hard part, because we found out on Thursday who got kicked off and we had to stay in isolation and not say anything. Even talking to my parents, I made sure I didn't say full out that I got kicked off, although parents are going to know the second you pick up the phone. So that was kind of hard this past weekend, running into all my friends and them asking and me having to brush it off. And then people calling me a million times last night, even though I don't feel like I got kicked off last night, so it kind of brought back the memory of it.
TVGuide.com: What was your chemistry like with your various partners?
Lauren: Different. Me and Neil were together for a while, and towards the end everyone started to get more and more used to the chemistry and that whole thing, so we got really close. And then going from partner to partner was great. It was a new challenge and you had to form a chemistry right away. I think we all had great chemistry.
TVGuide.com: Did you have a favorite partner to work with?
Lauren: Not really. I love them for the dances we were doing. Everyone put the character on — like Dom putting his character on for the rumba that was completely different from his character on the krump. It was fun working with everyone on that side and having them really get into it.
TVGuide.com: What about your relationships with your fellow dancers off stage? What was that like?
Lauren: Great. We're all so super-close. No one fights on the show, no one has big egos and stuff. We haven't had that much time to hang out because everyone's been so focused this whole time. We're super-excited for tour, to finally get to know each other and people's backgrounds.
TVGuide.com: Do you think you'll keep in touch after everything's over?
Lauren: Oh, for sure. I think there will forever be a strong bond between us.
TVGuide.com: I've heard some rumors about your "particular chemistry" backstage with Dominic. Is there any truth to that?
Lauren: What?! No truth. We were told the day of the performance that we had the kiss at the end of the rumba — 'cause it was very much planned — and we both called our boyfriend and our girlfriend and told them about it. It's just something we knew — we had to be into each other at that moment, and then it's done.
TVGuide.com: Who do you think will win?
Lauren: You know, I really think it's going to be one of the four.
TVGuide.com: Awesome answer. What's next for you after tour wraps up?
Lauren: That's the thing! I don't know where I want to go, but I know that this show will help guide me in that direction, and hopefully into something different and another cool experience. I'm just going to keep going and see what happens. I'd love for it to be something in acting or something like that.
Now read our Q&A with dismissed dancer Pasha.
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