Mitchell Kelly, the ethereal dancer from Atlanta, was one of the two contestants eliminated Thursday night on Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance.”
He gave Atlanta a shout out in his departing words. “I love you guys,” he said to the remaining dancers.
He has had a rough and tumble road to the top 10. During the top 20, he injured his elbow the first week and didn’t even dance. SYTYCD decided not to eliminate anybody that week. Then he messed up his foot a week later but persevered and danced anyway. He landed in the bottom six that week but survived as four dancers were axed. Over the next three weeks, he landed in the danger zone one more time and made it. This week, he fell in the bottom again but couldn’t land on his feet a third time.
Kelly was paired Wednesday night with all star Melody Lacayanga from season one. Tyce Diorio choreographed a plane-themed Fosse-esque Broadway jazz piece that left the judges unimpressed.
“I didn’t get that much at all,” said Neil Patrick Harris, a rare guest judge willing to truly critique. “I didn’t really get the airplane theme at all… It all seemed disjointed and not very thought out as a piece.”
“Overbaked,” Mary Murphy said, especially Mitchell’s facial expressions.
“You have to think more about style and overperforming,” Nigel Lythgoe said. “You over-egged the pudding for me a little bit.” (Not that’s a British-ism if I’ve ever heard one!)
I was unable to talk to Mitchell when he first made the top 20. But publicists managed to carve out a few minutes for me to talk to him today, just five hours before he was eliminated. He didn’t agree with the judges about his Broadway performance Wednesday. “I love my Broadway,” he said. “It was really really good. People have different opinions.”
“I feel I can do more,” he added. “I feel I still haven’t gotten one dance I know that is me.”
After five weeks with Caitlynn Lawson, which he felt was a “great partnership,” he felt it was time to separate. All-star Melody, he said, “was a pleasure. She’s a phenomonal dancer, a great painter. She has great energy.”
Although Mitchell was ousted tonight, the upbeat dancer does make it on tour, along with Clarice Ordaz, the other person who was eliminated. (The tour schedule has not been released yet but Atlanta will be one of the stops.)
A Grady High School graduate, Mitchell has warm memories of his time there, lauding its diversity and its teachers. Inspired after seeing Alvin Ailey’s dance troupe, he joined McClendon School of Dance then AREA. He most recently worked with Gotta Dance Atlanta.
He said he had tried out for season six but didn’t make it. So he kept training and made the cut this season. He made his first TV appearance on “Real Housewives of Atlanta” trying to teach Kim Zolciak to dance before her brief tour with Kandi Burruss season three. She didn’t really do a particular good job but that’s more her ADD than Mitchell’s teaching skills. “She spent a lot of time looking in the mirror,” he recalled.
Atter the upcoming tour, Mitchell hopes to find a company and do more choreography. And down the road, he’d like to open a center for kids to learn dance, music and drama.
Metro Atlanta still has Melanie Moore from Marietta. She has been a favorite since week one and is the only woman left who has not been in the bottom.But early favorites sometimes get punished for being overly praised (it happens all the time on “Idol”) and she could be in trouble on that front sometime in the future.
By Rodney Ho, firstname.lastname@example.org, AJCRadioTV blog