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Viewing party cheers on JU dancer Carlos Garland on “So You Think You Can Dance?”

By Chelsea Wiggs

JU Communications Major

Friends and family of Carlos Garland show their support while watching the Top-20 contestant perform on “So You Think You Can Dance?” Photo by Chelsea Wiggs/JU

Cheers and rounds of applause erupted from the Ross Theater Tuesday, June 25, at a viewing party for Jacksonville University’s own Carlos Garland, a Top-20 finalist on FOX’s hit reality competition “So You Think You Can Dance?”

Garland danced during the show’s live broadcast, kicking off the viewer-voting portion of the popular program.

See Garland’s dance routine with contestant Mariah Spears, and judges’ comments, below:

Garland’s Jacksonville friends and family couldn’t be with him in Los Angeles, the amount of support and enthusiasm of those who attended Tuesday’s viewing party was live-TV audience quality, with the excitement increasing each time hometown hero Garland graced the theater’s screen with his lively personality and extraordinary skills.

The viewing party was filled not only with chatter (and shouts) of praise, but also posters and signs that displayed words of encouragement and pictures of Garland, each representing a personal tribute to the local dance sensation.

In addition to Garland’s friends, family members and JU peers, the viewing party was attended by local TV personality Sharon Wilbur of FOX30. Wilbur invited people to attend the party during a broadcast of The Morning Dish, a segment featured on Action News. She brought with her a camera crew that filmed the spirited supporters for a short piece that was shown briefly during the night’s “So You Think You Can Dance?” episode and also on the June 26 edition of The Morning Dish.

A video still from JU dancer Carlos Garland’s performance of the jive on "So You Think You Can Dance?"

Tuesday night’s episode opened with a group performance by the Top 20 that was choreographed by the Emmy Award-winning dance duo of Napoleon and Tabitha D’umo, better known as NappyTabs. Garland was in the first group of four dancers featured in the opening dance, much to the delight of those in the Ross Theater.

Garland was also up first in the lineup of the night’s performances, dancing the jive with fellow contestant Mariah Spears. After receiving some positive feedback from the judges, including guest judge Wayne Brady, the viewing party collectively breathed a sigh of relief followed by cheering and more applause.

“Well, that was fast,” Wilbur said. “Now we can all relax for the next two hours!”

The lights came on briefly during a commercial break as Wilbur thanked everyone in the theater for coming out to support Garland and reminded them to be sure to vote after the show was over.

“So You Think You Can Dance?” determines eliminations by a combination of the vote results from the previous show and the judges’ opinion of the performances of the dancers that week who received the lowest number of votes. The efforts of Garland’s supporters as well as the rest of America’s will be determined July 2 as the Top 20 perform again and face their first live elimination.