List of So You Think You Can Dance finalists (U.S. season 5)
This is a list of finalists from the fifth season of So You Think You Can Dance (US), a television program. Finalists are listed in alphabetical order.
- 1 Ade Obayomi
- 2 Ashley Valerio
- 3 Asuka Kondoh
- 4 Brandon Bryant
- 5 Caitlin Kinney
- 6 Evan Kasprzak
- 7 Janette Manrara
- 8 Jason Glover
- 9 Jeanine Mason
- 10 Jonathan Platero
- 11 Karla Garcia
- 12 Kayla Radomski
- 13 Kūponohi'ipoi Aweau
- 14 Max Kapitannikov
- 15 Melissa Sandvig
- 16 Paris Torres
- 17 Phillip Chbeeb
- 18 Randi Evans
- 19 Tony Bellissimo
- 20 Vitolio Jeune
- 21 References
Born on December 6, 1988, Ade Obayomi is a contemporary dancer from Orange County, California. Ade started dancing at the age of 6. A graduate of Corona Primary School, he currently attends Hillcrest School, where Season 4's Katee Shean (3rd place) and Stephen "Twitch" Boss (2nd place) also studied. A dance highlight for Ade was performing at Radio City Music Hall. Ade had also previously auditioned for Season 4 of SYTYCD, but was cut after the ballroom round.
During Season 5, Ade was paired with ballerina Melissa Sandvig, with whom he danced each week until only ten dancers remained in the competition. One week prior to his elimination, once again paired with Sandvig, he performed a breast cancer-themed contemporary dance. This piece, entitled "This Woman's Work" and choreographed by Tyce Diorio, brought the judges to tears and was subsequently showcased on a future episode showing favorite dances from the season.
Ade was eliminated during the semi-final week, along with former partner Sandvig. He eventually returned to the show as an All-Star on Season 7.
In Ade's spare time he likes to read draw or play soccer. He is also a part-time musician and has signed in with the Record Label Okada Music Group more commonly known as O.M.G.
Born on November 1, 1986, Ashley is a contemporary dancer from Los Angeles who was originally raised in Arizona. She had previously auditioned for seasons two, three, and four. She was partnered with contemporary dancer Kūpono Aweau until she was eliminated in week two.
Born on January 26, 1984, Asuka is a Latin ballroom dancer from San Francisco, CA. At the time of her first audition, she lived in Irvine, CA. Asuka originally auditioned for the show during Season 4, but was cut during Top 20 selection at the very end of Vegas Week. Her hobbies include swimming, golf, and tennis. Additionally, she started playing the piano at the age of twelve. Asuka graduated from the University of California, Irvine, and had worked as a Latin Ballroom instructor for the last two years at the time of Season 5's airing. She auditioned for Season 5 with her friend Ricky Sun, also a ballroom dancer, who was eliminated at the end of Vegas Week.
At the beginning of the Top 20 portion of the show, Asuka was partnered with contemporary dancer Vitolio Jeune. Asuka was eliminated in the third week of the competition.
Since her time on the show, Asuka has been partnered by Oleg Astakhov, competing in the professional Latin division, representing USA. They've won many Professional Rising Star titles. Together with Oleg Astakhov they successfully run dance company in Los Angeles - "Ballroom-Dancing-LA". For more information about Asuka visit: http://www.BallroomDancingLA.com 
Born on July 26, 1989, Brandon is a contemporary dancer from Miami, FL. He began dancing ballet at age 10. Brandon is a graduate of Coral Reef Senior High School and now attends Miami Dade College. Brandon Bryant's most memorable dance experience prior to being on SYTYCD was performing for Madonna at her daughter's birthday party.
Brandon's audition brought Mary Murphy to tears. However, Lil' C was not overly impressed with him, and Mia Michaels went so far as to say that she didn't like his attitude. The tension between Michaels and Bryant, which continued well into the Top 20 portion of Season 5, was a topic which received much attention on blogs and fan sites dedicated to the show. Later in the season, however, both Michaels and Lil' C appeared to change their opinions of him for the better (much to the relief of both Brandon and his fans).
At the beginning of the Top 20 portion of Season 5, Brandon was partnered with salsa dancer Janette Manrara. He danced in the finale, eventually finishing the competition as first runner-up to winner Jeanine Mason.
Brandon also subsequently appeared in the Glee episode of "Bad Reputation" as one of the dancers in the "Physical" number with Olivia Newton-John and Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch), as well as in the "Total Eclipse of the Heart" number from the same episode.
Born on August 30, 1987, Caitlin is a Contemporary dancer from Annapolis, Maryland. Caitlin graduated from the Baltimore School for the Arts in 2005. She also danced at the North Carolina Dance Theatre as an apprentice for two years, and is an experienced gymnast as well. She auditioned for So You Think You Can Dance with her sister Megan, and they both advanced to Vegas. They both remained in the competition until the very end of Vegas week, when Megan was eliminated and Caitlin was selected to be in the Top 20.
At the beginning of the Top 20 portion of the competition, Caitlin was paired with contemporary dancer Jason Glover. She was eliminated in week five, which ordinarily would mean that she would not be part of the SYTYCD live tour at the end of the season (since traditionally only the top ten contestants were selected to be on the tour)--but in a surprise move by the producers of the show, it was announced on-air immediately following her elimination that she (as well as fellow contestant Phillip Chbeeb, who was eliminated on the same night) would still be included on the Season 5 tour.
Born on June 15, 1987, Kasprzak is a "Broadway" style dancer from West Bloomfield, Michigan and graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University. He is one of only two "Broadway" style dancer thus far ever to make it into the Top 20 on the show (the other being Season 8's Jess). Kasprzak was also the only dancer in Season 5 who never landed in the Bottom Three or Bottom Two. He ended up in third place overall.
Manrara began performing in musical theater at age 12, and started her formal dance training at 19, studying ballroom, ballet, pointe, jazz and hip-hop. Janette currently attends Florida International University.
For the Top 20 portion of the show, Janette was originally paired with contemporary dancer Brandon Bryant. Like Janette, Brandon had made it through Las Vegas week during Season 4, only to be cut during the Top 20 selection. During her time in the Top 20, Janette received much praise from the judges; both Mia Michaels and Nigel Lythgoe said that Janette was their favorite female dancer that season, and Lythgoe went on to say he hoped she would win the entire competition. A tango she performed with Brandon was the first dance on Season 5 to receive a standing ovation from the judges.
Manrara was eliminated during week 7, along with contemporary dancer Jason Glover. Glover and Manrara reportedly went to Disney World together shortly after their elimination and subsequently became involved in a romantic relationship.
Post-SYTYCD, Janette was part of the "Bohemian Rhapsody" number performed by rival glee club Vocal Adrenaline during the "Journey" episode of Glee. She also made her "Burn the Floor - West End" debut at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London, England on July 21, 2010. Additionally, she is part of the current Burn the Floor cast, which is touring the United States from late 2010 through May 2011.
Born on March 16, 1988, Jason is a contemporary dancer from Fresno, California. He began dancing at age 12, studying Tap and Hip Hop, and is a graduate of Bullard High School. His favorite dancer is Michael Jackson. Jason was featured prominently in the Season 4's Las Vegas Week episode, successfully dancing for his life after the group round, before being cut following Mia Michaels' contemporary routine. After making it into the Top 20 in Season 5, he was partnered with contemporary ballet dancer Caitlin until she was eliminated in week five. In week six he danced a Travis Wall contemporary piece with Jeanine Mason, which received standing ovations. He was eliminated in the top 8 week of season 5, with fellow contestant Janette Manrara.
Jeanine was the overall winner of season 5.
Born May 24, 1988, is a salsa dancer from New York City. Platero was a gymnast before he began dancing at age 16. He is a graduate of Seminole High School, was a World Salsa finalist in 2006-2007 and performed as a dancer and acrobat in “High School Musical.” He was paired up with Contemporary jazz dancer Karla Garcia but was eliminated in the third week. Jonathan can be seen as one of the dancer in the "Physical" number in Glee (Bad Reputation). He can also be seen as one of the principal dancers of the "Cinderela Christmas" Panto production at The El Portal Theatre for their 2011-2012 shows.
Born on June 30, 1985, Karla is a Filipino-American contemporary jazz dancer from Oxon Hill, MD. Karla is a graduate of New York University. Karla's early dance experience included learning traditional Filipino folk dancing. She performed on Broadway in "Hot Feet," danced in the ensemble of the "Radio City Christmas Spectacular" and went on tour with "Wicked." She was originally partnered with Jonathan, but following his elimination in week three her new partner was Vitolio. She and Vitolio were both eliminated in week 4.
Karla is also an experienced hip-hop dancer and is a member of the Boogie Bots, who came in fourth place of the second season of America's Best Dance Crew. However, she did not compete with them during the show.
Born on January 19, 1991, Kayla is a Contemporary/Jazz dancer from Aurora, Colorado, who started dancing when she was two years old. She was first partnered with Latin/ballroom dancer Max Kapitannikov, until he was eliminated in week 2, after which she was paired with contemporary dancer Kūpono. She received constant praise from the judges - Mia Michaels claimed she is "the perfect girl," Debbie Allen gave her the moniker 'White Lightning' (which would stick with her for the duration of the competition), and Adam Shankman compared her to dancers from previous seasons such as Will Wingfield, Travis Wall and Danny Tidwell, due to her technical skill. Despite this, she ended up in the bottom three four times. Kayla is possibly best remembered for her dancing in a Mia Michaels contemporary piece titled 'Addiction,' which she performed in week five with partner Kūpono. It was performed again at the live finale after a request from Nigel Lythgoe. She made it to the finale, finishing in fourth place.
Born on March 23, 1986, is a contemporary dancer from Kailua, Hawaii. Kuponohi'ipoi (nicknamed "Kupono") Aweau graduated from the Kamehameha Schools and has been dancing since he was 16 years old. Kupono Aweau loves his home state of Hawaii and is an avid collector of home furnishings. He was originally partnered with Ashley, but following her elimination in week two his new partner became contemporary dancer Kayla. He is often compared to Season 4 finalist Mark Kanemura. Kūpono made it to the top ten but was eliminated in week 6 of the competition along with Randi Evans.
Born on April 4, 1983, Max is a ballroom dancer from Brooklyn, New York but was raised in Moscow, Russia. Max Kapitannikov has been dancing for as long as he can remember. Max Kapitannikov comes from a dancing family, and his mother is a ballet teacher. Max Kapitannikov also enjoys sculpting and playing the guitar. Max Kapitannikov attended the Manhattan Comprehensive High School. He was partnered up with Jazz/contemporary dancer Kayla before his elimination in week 2. His elimination was widely condemned. The judges praised Max for being the hardest working dancer of the season.
Born on April 30, 1980, Melissa is a ballerina from Los Alamitos, California. Melissa Sandvig has been dancing for most of her life. Melissa Sandvig has danced with the Milwaukee Ballet Company, LA Opera, Long Beach Ballet and Helios Dance Theater. A highlight for Melissa Sandvig was performing "Le Coeur Illumine" at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. She is the oldest finalist at the age of twenty-nine. Her partner is contemporary dancer Ade. She has gained the nicknames the "Naughty Ballerina" and the "Buff Ballerina". She is the first ballerina to make the Top 10 and to go as far as the Top 6. She currently teaches pilates, as stated in one of her videos on the show. She was eliminated on July 30 along with her former partner Ade Obayomi. One week prior to her elimination she danced a contemporary piece with partner Ade. The piece was choreographed Tyce Diorio and its theme was breast cancer. The piece moved the judges to tears. Possibly her most memorable piece on the show, it was repeated by judges' request during the finale. Later, in a special episode presented by Nigel Lythgoe, this routine was named Lythgoe's favorite routine ever danced on So You Think You Can Dance. Melissa can be seen dancing in the "Total Eclipse of the Heart" number in Glee.
Born on January 30, 1990, Paris is a contemporary dancer from Issaquah, Washington. She was involved in a car crash that left her left leg numb, but still dances despite the injury. Paris is a graduate of Skyline High School. She began dancing when she was 6 years old and now teaches at a studio near her home. Paris was also a Miss Washington Teen pageant winner, and was a Seattle Storm and Seattle Sonic Jr. dancer from 2000-2003. She was eliminated in week one along with her partner Tony.
Born on November 30, 1988, Phillip Chbeeb (nicknamed PacMan) is a popper from Indianapolis, Indiana, but was originally from Houston, Texas. Phillip, who has had no formal dance training and learned "from the streets", began dancing when he was 15 years old. He is currently an engineering physics major at Loyola Marymount University. He was previously partnered with contemporary dancer Jeanine (the ultimate winner), until week 5, when Chbeeb was eliminated. An announcement by executive producer Nigel Lythgoe said that Chbeeb and the female dancer also eliminated in week 5, Caitlin Kinney, would be going on tour with the rest of the crew.
Phillip had previously auditioned for the show during season three, but was cut in Vegas Week. He returned in season four and once again made it to Vegas, but contracted pneumonia and was unable to compete. He later danced on the season finale against Robert Muraine.
Phillip's quote on dancing: "I started dancing around 15 years old, actually, pretty late. Instantly fell in love with hip hop dance and popping, mostly just 'cause it seemed like almost unreal what some of the people could do. It seemed almost unnatural, and I really kind of enjoyed the creativity that was in the art form, so, I jumped into that, and I've just been trying to progress and get better ever since then. For me there wasn't necessarily a performance that stood out as my first performance, 'cause I was just one of those kids that danced at the school dance and just tried to break it down in circles. I think my first battle as a popper, I think was one of the biggest experiences for me, because it was just a funny experience for me. I wore clothes that were way too big for me the entire time, and it was just the first confrontation with the one-on-one battle kind of mentality, trying to out-do the other person, and, I don't know, it was just a crazy experience for me."
He made an appearance in Step Up 4.
Born on August 12, 1985, Randi Evans is a Contemporary dancer from Orem, Utah, partnered with Evan Kasprzak. Randi began dancing at an early age and performed in the closing ceremonies at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games. She currently attends Utah Valley University where she is majoring in elementary education. Randi and her partner, Evan Kasprzak, did a number of their routines that were sensual in nature, such as one where Evan was centered around her behind . In Vegas she was noted for always wearing unitards, but has not been seen wearing them since she got into the top 20—despite wearing a shirt to a rehearsal that said "Unitard Girl". Randi was eliminated in week 6 of the competition along with Kūpono Aweau.
Born on April 17, 1989, Tony is a hip-hop dancer from Buffalo, New York. Tony has been dancing for most of his life. He is a graduate of Frontier High School, playing on the school's soccer, football and lacrosse teams. Tony likes to write short stories and poems, and his favorite professional dancer is Barry Lather. His comedic solo in Vegas earned him a following, but the judges put him through into the top 20. During the Top 20 competition, he and his partner Paris were eliminated following a hip-hop routine. The judges agreed that in the performance Tony's personality wasn't aggressive, a quality they said was needed for the dance. He is dating Tiffany Maher, who was the female runner-up on So You Think You Can Dance Season 9.
Born on November 1, 1982, Vitolio is a contemporary dancer from Miami, Florida. Vitolio began dancing at age 18 and is a graduate of Florida's New World School of the Arts. Vitolio loves motorcycles, and his favorite dancer is Desmond Richardson. Vitolio grew up in poverty with his grandmother in Haiti after his mother died following the birth of his sister. His grandmother eventually had to put him in an orphanage. This story was so moving that choreographer Louis van Amstel decided to choreograph a waltz based on his story. His partner was originally Latin ballroom dancer Asuka, but after her elimination in week three, his new partner was contemporary dancer Karla. He was eliminated in week 4. Vitolio reached the top 14, despite the judges' declaration that he didn't always deliver in his solos.