Today, I had the opportunity to participate in a media call with eliminated contestants Jamie Bayard and Rayven Armijo. I wish both of them the best of luck in their future goals.
I first want to know a little bit about how hard the hip-hop dancing was for you since that isnít exactly your area of expertise or anything, and what did you learn from doing that?
J. Bayard: I learned a lot. It was really, really difficult, especially coming from ballroom. Thatís definitely not anything close to what hip-hop is, and we had a really, really fun routine, which I think played into both of our abilities too of our personality, and we had so much fun with it. We learned a lot of new technique, and myself, I built a really great relationship with Napoleon and Tabitha. And I think thatís really, really important too, and thatís one of the biggest things that Iíve gotten out of it. I think it was a really, really challenging experience, but we both worked really, really hard on it, and we spent a lot of extra time in the gym in the evening through the night, working on it. And we went out there and we did our best, and I think we both did really, really well for a ballet dancer and a ballroom dancer doing hip-hop.
I know, during the routine, the most entertaining part, obviously, was when Rayven dropped your pants.
J. Bayard: Yes.
How did you decide you were going to do that? Were you nervous at all?
J. Bayard: No. You know what, the choreographers, obviously, they came up with the idea, and we just do what the choreographers tell us to do, so pretty much, in the dance world, thatís the whole business there. You canít really tell them, ďNo,Ē and so I have no shame, obviously. So I thought it wasó
Were you picturing the audience naked or anything like that, just to make it easier?
J. Bayard: Oh, yes, yes. Thatís exactly what I was doing.
So what did you think about Nigelís comment last night that going first, performing first on Wednesday night mightíve had an effect on the way viewers voted?
J. Bayard: I think it has a lot of truth to it. If you look at past seasons, the first people to go, they always have a hard time with America. We didnít have much airtime at the beginning, so when we went out, that was the first time America had ever seen us. We both went out there out of our elements and did a completely different style, and at the end of the show, thatís when everyone votes, so Nigel obviously knows how the show works. Heís the creator of it, so he has a lot of validity when heís talking about how first people have the hardest time, so I think that played a lot into both of us obviously being in the bottom three.
Okay, so based on that, do you think that played a role? I mean, were you surprised that you got eliminated, the first ones to go?
J. Bayard: I think, yes, I was a little surprised. I know that somebody has to go, thatís the reality of the competition and the judges did definitely tell us that afterwards, so they said that someone had to go and it just turns out that it was us.
Iíd like to know, your girlfriend and you kind of went in this together. How did she console you? Because I know she went home during Vegas week. Did she, because I was there last night, you looked a little bit upset, not like so much more upset than, you know, you just looked like the experience kind of shook you. How did she help console you after the elimination last night?
J. Bayard: She was actually at her sisterís high school graduation, and she told her parents they were going to Starbucks and they left the graduation and drove all the way up to the apartments where we were staying and surprised me there, just with tons of hugs and compassion.
And you canít go into the rest. Iím just kidding. Now, are you guys going to both continue moving forward together as dancers and everything like that? Are you going to continue just plugging ahead?
J. Bayard: Yes, definitely. This isnít going to stop anything. If anything, 20 million people saw me dance, so itís only a good thing.
J. Bayard: Yes, so weíre definitely going to push forward, both of us, and we have each other. And thatís the cool thing in our relationship is that we both do the same thing, and so weíre both going to support each other all the way and continue going. Weíre both really young and we both have a lot of time and weíre both going to succeed even farther than this.
Jamie, do you have any closing remark?
J. Bayard: Iím just so happy that I had to have this opportunity and I was one of the chosen top 20, and itís been one of the greatest, most fun, hardworking experiences Iíve had and Iíve learned so much from it. And Iím so happy that I actually had a chance to show everyone what I can do.
So now, when I talked to some of the judges last night, they mentioned the whole full point thing. I just want to ask you; what was your reasoning for not doing it?
R. Armijo: Oh, I just felt that it was a better decision. I wanted to accentuate my jumps and my heights and my strength instead of the gracefulness of the point. Itís like ballroom when you do a jive or you do samba. It was just different, but the same thing.
Okay, and then, so were you proud of your solo routine?
R. Armijo: Oh, definitely. I thought I executed everything really well. I danced with all my heart, and I really had a connection with the audience, Iím sure. I felt it, and so I thought I did an excellent performance.
So Iím going to ask you the same question I asked Jamie. What was your take on Nigelís comment last night about you guys going first on Wednesday night? Do you think that played a role in the way viewers voted?
R. Armijo: Itís possible. Timing is everything, right? Itís possible that the timing just wasnít there for us. I definitely know that we did an excellent job. We obviously were well-rehearsed. We worked all night to get that to perfection, and I thought we did really well as a ballroom dancer and a ballerina. I think we hit those like hip-hop dancers would.
What was going through your head when Nigel said you were going to be going home? What were your emotions?
R. Armijo: I was definitely, first, I was proud of myself and everything. I thank myself for actually pushing forward to keep moving and doing this, but after that thought went through, youíre disappointed because I wanted to work with all the choreographers. I wanted to keep the experience going. I wanted to show America my potential, and I know they would have fallen in love with me.
I know you own a dance studio with your mom. What are your plans for going back to that? How are you going to spend the rest of your summer?
R. Armijo: I donít own it with my mom. I just, and I offer my help with her because I think itís important for my community to do that and help people there in my community to move forward in their dreams and their careers that maybe otherwise they wouldnít. But I want to be successful in dance, and I was almost going to leave it for a moment and move on to another career, and I just thought Iíd try it one more time, and I think I was completely successful. And I want to move forward with it, so Iím going to keep doing other things and pursue this career for awhile.
I was curious as to if there are any particular choreographers you were really looking forward to working with or a particular style that you really wanted to try out.
R. Armijo: Yes, definitely I wanted to work with Tyce. I think his energy is so amazing, and I wanted to do that choreography. I think I would have done well with it, and definitely Mia Michaels. I know that whatever she would have put on me, I wouldíve been able to execute that piece extraordinarily.
I just wanted to know, were you nervous at all out there on the stage in front of millions and millions of people dancing, and if you were nervous, did you have any rituals or anything that you did to calm yourself?
R. Armijo: No, I felt completely at home. It was amazing that I felt so comfortable. I was just completely excited. I didnít mix the feeling of excitement with the feeling of fear, you know? I was completely happy, and I know that I practice and I know that I did well, and so the audience was really feeding off of me. I mean, they made me feel good, screaming out my name the whole time and yelling for me. I felt the connection with their eyes, so I knew that I had it, so thatís no problem for me.
And as far as hip-hop dancing goes, I know itís not necessarily what youíre into most of the time with dancing, but is it something that youíre going to continue to work on or take up more classes in?
R. Armijo: I think that I am a well-rounded dancer, and I want to. I just left a message with Tabitha and Napoleon, hoping that I can get my whole body in. I got a foot into the door, so Iím hoping I can get my whole body in there and maybe work with them a little bit more. I know that I can, so Iím going to push forward.
One thing that I heard was that you had trained with the Alvin Ailey Company at one point?
R. Armijo: I just went to the school for a little while. It kind of got cut short because I had to, actually my semester got cut short because I had to leave, but yes. I wanted to pursue, to get into the company. Thatís what I was mainly trying to do at 19.
And is that something that you would try to pursue again, in terms of that similar avenue?
R. Armijo: Yes. All these things cross your mind after you finish this, and itís that point where you say, ďIs this it? Should I just stop? Are my dreams crushed? No way.Ē I think itís the beginning of my dream, and Iím going to go next summer and audition for more things out there. I think I have it, I really do.
I just want to know about the physical shape that this has helped you get in. Have you seen your body transform or are you in the best shape of your life right now because of this?
R. Armijo: Yes. Iím definitely in the best shape. Youíre constantly cautious of everything. You want to be the best that you can be, and the only way to do that is to take care of yourself. And so, yesó
What changes have you noticed since youíve been dancing nonstopó?
R. Armijo: Oh yes, my strength in my performance is beyond what I was a few months ago, and I see the muscle tone change in my body as well.
Perfect time for bikini season there, yes?
R. Armijo: Definitely.
Rayven, do you have any closing remark?
R. Armijo: Yes. I want to thank everybody for being interested in me and giving me a chance to speak because Iím not going to get a chance for America to see everything that I have to offer, and I really appreciate you asking me these questions so that I can give myself off and show the world what kind of person I am in the short amount of time that I had. So I really appreciate it. Thank you.