Melissa Sandvig & Ade Obayomi Talk About Their SYTYCD Journey

Melissa & Ade

Melissa & Ade

Melissa Sandvig and Ade Obayomi were partnered up for the first five weeks of So You Think You Can Dance’s fifth season. After a week with new partners when they reached the Top 10, Melissa and Ade were reunited again during the Top 8 week and performed one of the most memorable dances in So You Think You Can Dance history. Coincidentally, Melissa and Ade were eliminated at the same time. The morning after leaving the show, they each opened up about their experience on the show during a press call.

At 29 years old, Melissa Sandvig was the oldest contestant on So You Think You Can Dance, and she was also the first classical ballerina on the show. As a ballerina who hadn’t trained in other styles of dance, almost every style was out of Melissa’s comfort zone. She found the ballroom choreography to be particularly challenging, since that area of dance requires completely different technique than ballet. In regards to tackling the heart-wrenching cancer themed contemporary routine by Tyce Diorio, Melissa said, “With Tyce’s piece, ‘This Woman’s Work,’ that was so much more of an acting piece, an emotional piece, and I really connected with that, and the response that Ade and I got was amazing. So that was one of the high points of this whole process.”

With little airtime during the audition rounds, Melissa was first introduced to the audience as the “Naughty Ballerina” as she made her way into the Top 20 dancers. On breaking the ballerina mold, Melissa said, “I’ve been in this ballet world for so long and we always just kind of do what we’re told and put on a smile and make everything look easy. So it was really fun to kind of throw that away a little bit and put a little bit more personality into it all, and just not be scared of trying new things. That’s how I’ve been for a long time, and it’s pretty amazing to see what you can do when you step out of your comfort zone.”

Often times, football players and basketball stars will enroll in ballet to learn about movement. Melissa further discussed the benefits of ballet, “It requires the most discipline, every movement is so precise, and there’s not a lot of interpretation…having that discipline can take you into other styles of dance, because you know what you’re doing with your body.  So working on posture, flexibility and technique in general can help with all the other styles of dance.”

Melissa and Ade made a great pair, with Melissa’s grace and lines and Ade’s strength. Since both Melissa and Ade didn’t receive much airtime during auditions, they didn’t get to know each other well until they were matched together. “He’s a really funny, laid back guy and I’m really laid back too. So our chemistry kind of worked right away. We are both technical dancers and strong dancers, so that allowed us to do a lot of the crazy lifts that we did in some of those numbers…I was very lucky to have him as a partner and I think we complemented each other very well,” Melissa said.

When Melissa isn’t dancing she enjoys spending time with her family, doing stuff outside, going to the beach, doing Pilates, and exercising. In the past, she has danced in a ballet company, so now she’s looking forward to pursuing other styles of dance, doing some work in TV and film, Broadway, and pursuing any other opportunities that arise.

Finally, Melissa would like to say that “making it to the final six has been amazing. I surprised myself and hopefully have inspired other ballet dancers to step out of their comfort zone and see what they can accomplish.”

Ade Obayomi, a 20 year old “contemporary with a hint of hip hop” dancer from Orange County, CA, showed great strength while dancing, and it was something the judges always admired. As the other half of the “This Woman’s Work” breast cancer inspired dance, Ade said, “Seeing the responses from the judges and the audience members and the people at home and all the responses we’ve gotten through e-mails and messages has been incredible and I don’t think we could ask for anything better. We are privileged to have done this piece and share it with the world and bring it to the stage…so it was great to be a part of it, and I’m happy.”

Besides dance, Ade has a passion for sound engineering and DJing. He said that dance and making music “goes hand-in-hand.” His music inspires his dance, and his dance inspires his music. They work together to create art.

Ade has no regrets about his experience on So You Think You Can Dance and wouldn’t do anything differently. “I did my best… I danced from the heart and kind of just left it on the stage that night… I’m just happy I made it this far; top six, that’s pretty good, considering all the dancers that tried out,” Ade commented.

Ade’s dance inspirations are Desmond Richardson, who performed on the show this season,  and So You Think You Can Dance Season 2 runner-up Travis Wall. He considers Desmond Richardson as “probably the most incredible male dancer out there right now.  His presence and technique, his execution and everything is on fire.” Meanwhile, Ade is inspired by Travis’ return as a breakthrough choreographer on this season of Dance. “He’s so young and he’s already killing [it] and he came from the show, so it’s just anything is possible and he’s one of them that kind of inspires me to dance a little harder and a little more.” Ade wouldn’t mind following in Travis’ footsteps by being a finalist-turned-choreographer for the show. “I love creating and choreographing, and Travis is definitely a prime example of that. He danced on the show and then he went on to choreography and he’s successful and everyone is loving him right now. I would definitely love to follow that path and get into that, because it’s something I like to do.”

The week before Ade was eliminated from the competition was the 100th episode, during which dancers from the first four seasons returned to the show to celebrate. Ade said, “It’s always great to see them come back, because it’s like a huge family. We saw everyone from the first season all the way up to the fourth. So when they come back and showed that they’re still dancing and they’re still killing it, we kind of look up to them, because we’ve seen the show in the past…they tell us about their experience and that they would do it again. And even though it’s hard when we’re in it, when you leave it, you miss it. So it’s nice to hear that, because we kind of get so tired and wrapped up that we forget that we had this amazing opportunity.”

Ade has advice for dancers everywhere- “When you get tired, just keep pushing through, because you might feel tired, but the reward at the end is definitely greater than anything else in the world.”


42 comments on “Melissa Sandvig & Ade Obayomi Talk About Their SYTYCD Journey“

  1. jimmie - wrote:

    Ade’, I think you are incredible am slightly disappointed that you’re not in the finale’, *SIGH*!! However, I enjoyed your time on the show and I’m glad you enjoyed it, too. Once again, you’re incredible!

    Melissa, love you. You’re such an elegant lady and that’s what I love in a woman. Keep on dancing and showin’ ‘em you’re never too old to try and conquer anything.

    8/5/2009 6:04 PM UTC

  2. Anthony Brennan - wrote:

    Kayla did a nice job so far tommrow is the crown .She ha made Hightower Level . it’ll be on .So You Think You can Dance.

    8/5/2009 7:17 PM UTC

  3. Liz - wrote:

    Phone lines are not working. Please fix

    8/5/2009 8:30 PM UTC

  4. Ulrike - wrote:

    Melissa and Ade I wish you the best in your future journey, in my opinion you were # 1 you both complimented each other so wonderfully, the grace, strength and discipline from you both was amazing to watch for me, excuse my english but I hope to see more of you two in the future, together or alone.

    8/5/2009 9:15 PM UTC

  5. danelady - wrote:

    My Favorites this season were Brandon and Melissa… but I want to wish all of the contestants well in the future…

    8/5/2009 9:41 PM UTC

  6. Bonnie - wrote:

    I thought Melissa and Ade should have been in the finals…Keep up the great dancing and positive personalities! I know you’ll both go far in your dream to dance! Tonight’s final competition was awesome. Once again, I believe Brandon takes the overall talent and charisma. Good luck in tonight’s voting, Brandon!

    8/5/2009 10:45 PM UTC

  7. Lloyd Kinlaw - wrote:

    Certain couples leave an impression on you and make your heart smile. Melissa and Ade is one of those couples. It has a lot to do with a fundamentally wonderful they are as humans and how gifted they are. They danced with grace and consciousness of one another that helped the audience connect well with their routines. Melissa and Ade are in my SYTYCD Couples’ Hall of Fame.

    8/5/2009 11:49 PM UTC

  8. Kira - wrote:

    just to let you all know , but i have watched every season and this is the last for me. i think that the final 4 are totally WRONG and BS i have totally BANNED the show and asked all of my friends to also on FACEBOOK , i am so bummed, i am only one person , but this is one less to watch this.

    8/6/2009 5:52 AM UTC

  9. Yokovich - wrote:

    Melissa and Ade – I did not know you much before the week 1, but when I saw your first dance as a pair, I fell in love. Ade, you are my man! Last year I loved Josh very much, and I did not expect to find someone this year. But then you showed up from nowhere – I am a fan. I hope you will pursue your dream, and someday I will have a chance to see your own show (perhaps choreographed by yourself.) I believe in you and you gave me so much fun and dream. Thank you so very much!

    8/6/2009 1:42 PM UTC

  10. Lily - wrote:

    I am a ballerina, and I thought you were the best! I for sure knew you were gonna be in the finale, and you would have won.

    I thought you were the best boy, and you also should have been in the finale.

    8/6/2009 2:58 PM UTC

  11. shelley - wrote:

    This show is really awesome in the fact that it exposes everyone to so many unbelievable dancers and choreographers whom other wise we wouldn’t know. That beings said…The results suck. It’s like they vote out the OBVIOUSLY top dancers like (WILL, Melissa, ADE, Travis for example) in order to keep people guessing so they’ll stay tuned. It seems rigged.

    8/6/2009 4:19 PM UTC

  12. JaZmYnE GiLlMoRe - wrote:

    Ade shouldn’t went home u kno he did
    if he didn’t do that eavn would not be there and Ade would.

    8/6/2009 5:24 PM UTC

  13. breanna - wrote:

    i ♥ you show it is the best show iv’e ever liked in my whole life and i ♥ jeanine and phillip

    8/6/2009 6:36 PM UTC

  14. anita - wrote:


    8/6/2009 6:40 PM UTC

  15. breanna - wrote:

    mary i love you and your scream it is so loud and i like how you really tell the contestents how you fell when they dance their dance

    8/6/2009 6:43 PM UTC

  16. A. Duffy - wrote:

    Just saw the finale results. Interesting, BUT , again proof that in America results can be manipulated so the minorities cannot win. This even though they have proven they are the superior canidate.

    8/6/2009 7:02 PM UTC

  17. Devon George - wrote:

    America got it wrong again or was this a case of voting along racial lines. Clearly Brandon was the better dancer. I am very upset and will not be watching this show or AI because the results stinks.

    8/6/2009 7:18 PM UTC

  18. She Dances - wrote:

    Melissa, you should have won. Jeanine was not even in time, the night they voted you off. She moves heavy. I stopped watching after that. It was fixed. Melissa, you have so much light in you. You are beautiful to watch and your smile makes us all happy. Your breast cancer dance touched me personally and allowed me to feel again the grief in my heart after my own relationship to cancer. Thank you for your beauty. You are a star beyond SYTYCD.

    Much love.

    8/6/2009 7:37 PM UTC

  19. Fabio - wrote:

    I love you!
    Thanks for give your spirit for dance
    I whant to see you dance again

    8/6/2009 8:49 PM UTC

  20. Janis - wrote:


    8/6/2009 9:29 PM UTC

  21. Heidi - wrote:

    I do not know where else to put this.

    The amount of flashing lights makes it hard to focus on the dancers.
    And there is too much camera movement. I understand that they are both for dramatic effect, but it makes it so I can not see the actual dancing.
    It would be nice if there was less switching and swerling of the camera and the background lights were less intense.
    Thank you for reading my feedback!

    8/6/2009 9:35 PM UTC

  22. Curtis - wrote:

    Ade was the very best dancer this year and should have at the very least made it to the final four.
    Shame on SYTYCD for not giving Ade a fair chance. They never even showed any of his audition, and he was never profiled and hardley seen, other than in the group dances where he was highlighted because he is such an awesome dancer.
    I hate to say it, but what a setup. Once again the very best dancer does not win. What a shame!!!!

    8/6/2009 9:40 PM UTC

  23. Yokovich - wrote:

    I agree, Curtis! I don’t remember if they ever showed about Ade at all during audition part, and it kept frustrated me for a while. However, Brandon or Philip who got tons of air time at audition did not win after all, and I don’t remember Jeanine at audition (and she won.)
    People started really noticing Ade when he did his first solo – he proved to many people how good he is by himself! Yes, it was annoying Ade, who totally deserved to top 4, did not make it and someone else got his spot, but I was glad to read his comment on this website that he is happy for what he did and he is already looking up to the future. As I wrote in my previous comment, he is marvelous and he gave me wonderful time every time I saw him on TV screen. Neither Ade nor Brandon won, but now I know whose wonderful dancers are out there, giving their best every day. I am not a dancer, but they surely enriched my life. Ade, you are the best. We know that!

    8/7/2009 5:00 AM UTC

  24. Come On - wrote:

    I love watching this show, and am glad it is coming back in September. For those of you who made the comment about minorities not being able to win, did you forget about Sabra & Joshua? And Brandon came in 2nd out of the 4……I really don’t know what you’re talking about!

    8/7/2009 9:48 AM UTC

  25. Liz - wrote:

    I was disappointed first with the final 4 and the final winner. Ade, Melissa, Brandon and Kayla or Jeanette were the best dancers. It seems the dancers that received the most cudos from the judges were shuned by the public. Maybe the judges should limit their remarks and show less enthusiasum so the public makes an unbias vote. I also wish SYTYCN would honor the best male and best female as they did last season with Joshua and Katie.

    8/7/2009 9:52 AM UTC

  26. Maggie H. - wrote:

    Was delighted with the entire season and look forward to seeing more from Melissa and Evan in particular. The poster who tried to make this a racial thing was nuts. Did you miss Joshua, Twitch, Sabra ???? All excellent dancers . . . and MINORITIES !

    8/7/2009 10:22 AM UTC

  27. Sharon - wrote:

    I was sad to see Melissa go – until I heard her speech. She didn’t thank the choreographers, judges, fellow dancers, or fans. It was all about “look at me; I’m so proud of myself”. You couldn’t have done it alone. Glad you’re gone.

    8/7/2009 11:21 AM UTC

  28. lynda - wrote:

    thought that the finale was awesome. Loved the judges choices. All the favorites. Great to see them again.
    I did however think that some of the comments from the judges were uncalled for. I thought that Evan probably got sympathy votes due to the harsh critique from them. Making a big deal about him being not naughty but nice…saying that he hadn’t lived up to what Nigel was expecting…I thought it was “too late” at that point in the finale to comment like that. He made it to top four….his nice, cute face was part of it but it really is about the dancing!

    8/7/2009 1:26 PM UTC

  29. Charlotte Jiritano - wrote:

    This was a fabulous season, but no more than last season.
    My favorite dancer was Kayla. My favorite dance was Addiction, I also
    loved Kapono in it. Melissa and Ade were great in every dance but mostly
    “womans work”. I’m a sculptor and designer so my eyes feast on works of art in dance. I DVR every show and keep my favorites. Please put out DVD’s of just the dances of each season, no comments.

    8/7/2009 2:57 PM UTC

  30. Patricia - wrote:

    The season was the best ever, and I’ve watched from the start and never missed a show. Personally, I think the professional judges should make the decisions all the way through – and not make it a popularity contest. But I know it’s all about ‘marketing’ and keeping the audience feeling like they are involved.

    But all that being said, I felt that Jeanine did deserve to win and suspected that it was ultimately between Brandon on her. Kayla was phenomenal, but seemed to kind of ‘fade’ in the last two shows. Evan was wonderful, but not as versatile in the styles other than his own genre – but hopefully he will have a great career on Broadway coming out of this, with all the exposure he’s gotten!

    The choreographers are awesome… especially love Mia’s work!

    8/8/2009 10:43 AM UTC

  31. d - wrote:

    i don’t think we can judge someone on 15 seconds of speech at a very specifically emotional moment with a lot going. some people choose to say certain things or can think of certain things – and some are genuine and some may not be. to me i found melissa and ade to be very gracious and generous right through the end and even after. their dancing was tremendously memorable and i wish i could see more!

    8/8/2009 8:28 PM UTC

  32. Jeannie - wrote:

    What a close contest! I was rooting for Brandon every step of the way. He has such great technique and strength. And I do believe that Evan was unfairly critisized. Any of the last 8 left standing could have won. I was very disappointed with Janette leaving; I thought she was a strong contender. Perhaps they should limit the voting to one call per household, and it might change the outcome. If you know more people or have more friends you are more likely to win. Overall, I love the show and will keep watching. I can only hope that all will make out with tremendous opportunities, and I look forward to seeing them in the future.

    8/9/2009 7:41 AM UTC

  33. Linda - wrote:

    Hey guys. You do realize that the show is called Americas FAVORITE (not BEST) Dancer don’t you. I think that should have been emphasized more during the 2 Finale Shows. America votes on their FAVORITE who may or may not be the BEST.

    8/9/2009 12:09 PM UTC

  34. Doris - wrote:

    Who is dressing cat , she looks like she is wearing a towel I cant believe the producers let her get away with her wardrobe she is so good looking and her outfits make her look so unprofessional .

    8/10/2009 7:57 PM UTC

  35. Carol - wrote:

    Melissa you were great! my 7 year old daughter attends the ballet studio where you teach and she adores you! You were the best she says!!! You have inspired her so much!!

    8/11/2009 1:34 AM UTC

  36. purplephlo - wrote:

    Melissa and Ade were a couple of the best dancers on the show this season. Every dance they did was beautiful – begining with the first Mandy Moore piece – i was disappointed that this piece was not in the finale – I loved the Romeo and Juliet number as well. I wish them blessings in their careers – it seems not to matter anymore about when your eliminated look at Kerrington – I wish the same for Melade. Cheers!

    8/11/2009 4:23 PM UTC

  37. curious george - wrote:

    Melissa and Ade are such strong dancers and deserved to be in the final 4. And I truly believe that Melissa was the most versatile and strong dancers of all of the girls!!!

    What most disappoints me this season is that the judges were so biased from the very beginning. Brandon may have been a good dancer, but he had an awful ego…what a turn off. BTW, Brandon did his AUDITION solo in the show before the finale and the judges praised him (even gave him a standing ovation), which is extremely wrong since others this season put ELEMENTS of their audition pieces and the judges ripped them to bits for it. Ridiculous!!! The judges just wanted him to win… and I for one am glad he did not. Also, if the male ballet dancer from MIAMI had not been under contract, he would have totally given Brandon a run for his money, and he was humble.

    8/12/2009 7:28 AM UTC

  38. Kim - wrote:

    DYTYCD is a fabulous show. The point is – it is a reality show that starts with a top 20 and then eliminates people. By the time you get to to 20 you have the BEST dancers of that audition season – based on personality and dance genre – which is manipulated to make the show interesting. Until the judges stop making the choices, you will get selections based on technique, diversity and their professional judgements on who can grow over the course of the show. I am sure they are also well aware of ratings and who is popular.
    After that, it is a popularity contest and who ever can dia
    l fastest to get their multiple votes in. Some viewers take the contest part much too seriously. Sit back guys, enjoy all the fabulous dancers and dance routines.
    Jeanine won this year. There are 4 other winners from previous years and more to come. The point is, every dancer that ends up on the show benefits. Note, the tour with the top 12 dancers!
    Personally, Melissa and Ade were my favourite COUPLE of the season but that does not mean they should have won.
    I am ready for the new season in September and all the fabulous dancing that will be in it.
    Please have Mia on the judges panel more often. She is my favourite judge.

    8/14/2009 11:09 AM UTC

  39. Lucy - wrote:

    Why is everyone forgetting about Melissa and Ade’s Rumba dance? It was the once dance where they shined extra especially

    8/15/2009 3:57 PM UTC

  40. Amelia - wrote:

    i love malissa and i have a little sister that is % and she wants to be a ballarina because of it. and when the show is about to come on she gets so excited to see malissa.hahaha

    9/1/2009 11:58 AM UTC

  41. TARA GEE - wrote:


    9/11/2009 7:30 AM UTC

  42. optimizacija internet strani - wrote:

    Im going nuts this evening.

    12/4/2011 10:28 AM UTC

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