After escaping elimination during last week’s shocking results show, Jose Ruiz, 21, joined Billy Bell as the newly voted off SYTYCD contestants. Jose called EW this morning to talk about his elimination, the judges’ critiques, and why he didn’t perform in those group numbers.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How are you feeling about last night?
JOSE RUIZ: I feel great. I have no regrets. It’s just been an awesome journey and an awesome experience.
Why do you think the judges chose not eliminate anyone last week?
I just really thought that they saw that I was really elevating in my own style of dance. Every time I would have to do a solo, I would always come out with something different and just always try to push myself to come out with something new and more dynamic. I think that the judges really saw that, and I think that’s why. It’s almost like everyone did so good that they couldn’t send anyone home.
And what about the judges’ critiques? Do you think they were too easy on you at times?
At the end of the day, it’s a TV show. Sometimes it’s almost like you’re picked to be criticized more than other people. And sometimes it’s a week where you do really good, and you get praised. It happens. Some weeks I know maybe they may have gone easy on me, and other weeks I think their critiques were good, and I think they were right in what they said. Of course, I don’t think all the critiques and everything they said was good, but at the same time you can’t really think about things like that. For me, it’s just that I love to dance. It’s not really about the critiques.
After you injured your groin you didn’t perform in the group pieces, but still did the individual routines. How come?
Well, it wasn’t my decision. I originally wanted to do the group pieces, but they thought if you do the group piece and then you hurt yourself in the group piece, you won’t be able to do the duets for the actual competition. Which means I’d be in the bottom three automatically. But we’re not being judged on group pieces, so they decided to take me out for those two weeks of the group piece to try to heal my groin as much as possible and really focus on the duets.
Speaking of injuries, why has this season been plagued with so many?
I just think it’s because we just push ourselves so much. I really think it’s just like this season, every contestant has such a strong spirit and such a passion in dance that it’s almost like we push ourselves to the point where even when we’re hurting we keep pushing. And even sometimes when we know we should relax, we still keep pushing. It’s just because we all love it so much, you know? Accidents happen and injuries happen, especially when you’re really pushing yourself. You’re rehearsing 14 hours a day, six days a week. It’s hard.
Do you have a favorite routine?
I really enjoyed my b-boy routine with Dominic. That was a good one. It was in my own style, and it’s the first time that they’ve ever had breaking as a genre on this show.
Who was your favorite person to work with on the show?
That’s so hard to say, just because everyone was so amazing to work with, you know? The contestants and the all-stars. I just couldn’t even pinpoint anyone. Everyone was just so awesome to work with. It was just the best experience. Everyone was awesome.
Not even Lauren [Froderman] and Lauren [Gottlieb]? They played up your crushes this season.
[Laughs] Yes! Lauren [Gottlieb] is cool. She’s a good soul. She really helped me out. That week that I danced with her really opened me up. It just really showed what I could do. That was the first time that I got contemporary. I definitely am grateful for that.
Are you excited about going on tour?
Oh man, it’s a dream come true. I talked to a lot of people, and a lot of people originally audition and they try to make it as far as they can just to make it on tour, you know? A lot of people come on the show not even caring about winning. They just want to make the tour, so just to be on the tour is amazing. They say tours are an amazing experience, and I just can’t wait to just travel across the USA and meet all the fans and perform for everyone.
What did you learn from this experience?
Just how to push myself. I just really learned how far I could push my body and my mind. Just because of all the strenuous activity. I’ve never danced so much in my life. And for people out there that are less fortunate and may not have the money to take class and train, just dance. Just dance, just research, just move. It’s not about taking classes, it’s about loving what you do. If you love to dance, that’s all you need to do, and you never know how far that will take you.