Exclusive Interview: Jessi Peralta, Top 16 Finalist on So You Think You Can Dance
Exclusive Interview: Jessi Peralta, Top 16 Finalist on So You Think You Can Dance
Jessi Peralta hasn't had the best week.  The day of So You Think You Can Dance's top 16 performance episode, Jessi was rushed to the hospital after feeling weak and unable to breathe properly.  She was unable to perform that night and her future in the competition hung in the balance.  Miraculously, she appeared on last night's results show, seemingly at full strength.  She wowed the audience with a Cha Cha performed with partner Pasha, but (apparently) failed to connect with judges on her solo routine and was eliminated from the competition.  Jessi stopped by earlier today to discuss her time on the show.

Below you will find both the written transcript and the full mp3 audio of the interview.
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Hey this Oscar Dahl from BuddyTV and I'm here with Jessi Peralta from So You Think You Can Dance. Jessi, how are you doing?


What’s up, what’s up?!


You said you had an office job and you weren't really thinking about dancing, what made you make that leap and made you try out for the show?

Not to correct you, but for me it was actually opposite of that.  I have always thought of dancing since I was two years old.  There hasn't been another thing that I wanted to do.  I was financially kind of forced into getting a day job because I couldn't pay my bills dancing, as much as I tried, and as cool as I think I am I just haven’t been able to book enough dance jobs to pay my bills, so I had to resort to a day job, which was a blessing because it kept me living out here, whatever.  But you know, dancing has always been in the forefront of my mind as far as how I’d love to make my income, so yea, the day job, waa waa waa.


From that first audition through Vegas, what was your confidence level going in, did you think you had a good chance of making that top 20?


I would say, just to back it up even a step, I didn't know… I've never seen the show, I don’t have TV, because up until now I couldn’t afford it, so I had never seen the show and I had no idea if I was good enough.  I was kind of just taking the risk, putting myself out there to see what happened, and as I was getting through I was surprised every time because I looked at all the other talent and I’m like "God these kids are good, these are some good dancers".  So I was just really trying to keep up which I feel like what I’ve been doing since I started is just trying to keep up, trying to hang in there, and I’ve felt like the underdog.  And yeah, going into the top 20, I didn't know either way, I was like "I think I’m good enough", because, woo hoo! Somebody's got to toot my horn, if I don’t do it, whose going to do it?  But I had no idea.


Moving to this past week, it's been kind of a rough one.

That's an understatement.


Can you tell us about going to the hospital, how bad actually was it and was there any chance of you performing on Tuesday's show?


Absolutely, yes, there was a chance for me performing on Tuesday’s show.  Something that the audience didn't see was that was actually the second time I had to go to the hospital because last week, I also got really dehydrated again like, "Girl, get some Gatorade."  But that was the second time I had to go, I did not want to go, I didn’t feel like I needed to go, but the show has our best interests in mind and they just felt like if you’re feeling these pains you should go to the hospital and get it checked it out.  I’m sitting there going, "Give me some Gatorade, give me a second to breathe and I'll be fine".  I actually checked myself out of the hospital to come back because there was no way I was letting Pasha down or letting him dance by himself.  And, at that point it was taken out of my hands and put into some lawyer's hands, and so they were like, "No, no, you will not be dancing tonight, you’re a liability, what if you croak on stage?"  And I’m going, "I’m not going to croak, everything’s going to be fine, please let me dance, please, please, please".  And they were like, "No, no, no".


So, it's safe to say that Fox kind of over-dramatized that situation?

I don't think they over dramatized my condition because I was having some physical issues, like there’s no getting around that or making fun of that, like my blood pressure dropped to 70 over 30, that’s totally not good.  I was struggling, but I don't think it was something that I couldn’t have gotten over had I been given a little bit more time.  But I understand where they are coming from and I’m grateful for them looking out for my health.  I just wish it wouldn't have turned out the way it did, I wish I wouldn’t be talking to you here as an eliminatee, but you know I’m here so I have to move forward and what happened, happened. And for some reason I don’t know the reason yet, but hopefully God's got my back, I know God's got my back.


How excited were you, then, to get to perform with pasha last night?

I was so stoked, the Cha-Cha with Pasha was one of the hottest moments of my life.  Like you know boyfriends aside or whatever. Pasha, he's just my Prince charming.  I’ll always think of him as this complete Prince Charming and being onstage with him is, this is going to sound totally cheesy, it's like being in the middle of a fairy tale.  Even though we're doing a cha-cha, something hot, I feel like we're in a movie, just I’m dancing with this hot guy, I’ve got a cute outfit on, hell yeah.


The whole elimination from last night, it seemed pretty weird to the viewer, there was no explanation from the judges.  Were you penalized for your health issues, was that the sole reason that they let you go?


I mean, who knows?  I guess we'll never know, I was disappointed as well that I didn’t get more of an explanation.  I didn't really get any explanation which would lead one to think that maybe it was something other than my dancing, wink wink.  I hope it wasn't, I hope that they don't hold something against me that wasn't really in my control.  The only think that I had control over was my dancing. I feel like I did a good job, if they disagree, which they did, then there’s nothing to do but just try to move on and trust God.


Did the judges, after the show ended, did they say anything to you?

No, actually the only person that came up to me, which was disappointing because I would have loved to have spoken one on one with Mary and Nigel and gotten more from them as far as their reasoning for their decision, but Debbie Allen she stepped right up to the plate and said, "Girl, I had your back, I had your back."  I was like, "Debbie, Yay, thank you".


(Interview Conducted by Oscar Dahl)
(Image Courtesy of FOX)

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