Iowan Essence Wilmington eliminated from 'So You Think You Can Dance' semifinals

Essence Wilmington, 21 of Davenport, competes in the top 12 in Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance" season 17
Essence Wilmington, 21 of Davenport, competes in the top 12 in Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance" season 17

After soaring to the top three, Davenport-based hip-hop dancer Essence Wilmington was eliminated Wednesday night from the Season 17 semifinals of Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance."

Each contestant performed three routines on Wednesday's Episode 11: The Final Cut. Wilmington performed a jazz and contemporary routine with each of her opponents, Keaton Kermode and Alexis Warr, respectively, and a hip-hop routine with returning all star Robert Green.

Judges Leah Remini, JoJo Siwa and Stephen "tWitch" Boss highlighted a few of Wilmington's shining moments during her dances, praising her confidence and her perseverance, despite her wearing a knee brace and limping after her final performance. Wilmington and Kermode sported loud prints and colorful hats for their jazz rendition of District 78 and Leah Levi's "Vibe Check."

"I see you with a knee brace on and I see you standing on one foot right now, which I'm assuming means you went really, really hard," Siwa told Wilmington. "But if you had to do it again, you probably could pull it off and that is what being an entertainer is. That's what being a star is."

The audience voted for Kermode, 20 of Indiana, and Warr, 22, of Utah, as the two favorites, leaving Wilmington on stage at the end of the episode.

"I just feel so blessed to be here," Wilmington said to a cheering audience following the elimination. "Shout out to my parents. Y'all sacrificed so much for me. I just feel so good."

"Alexis and Keaton, you guys deserve everything that comes to you guys. Wow. I told them, I said, 'Y'all, I don't care what happens. I'm a winner.' "

More: Iowan Essence Wilmington stars as one of top 12 competitors in 'So You Think You Can Dance'

Wilmington found herself dancing at the age of 9 with her aunt in Davenport. Soon, her mother enrolled her in once-a-week classes at Imani Dance Studios in Davenport. At 12, Wilmington started a dance team and went on to teach her own weekly classes.

She continued to take classes at studios until she was 14 and started going to dance conventions.

Wilmington progressively leveled up her dancing through competitions and auditioned for “So You Think You Can Dance” after her mother, Ebonie Wilmington, who serves as Essence Wilmington’s manager, submitted a video of her daughter dancing to an online audition.

"I feel like the message I've conveyed is just to be yourself, be proud of where you were brought up and whatever happens, you have to keep going because you're going to miss 100% of the shots you don't take," Wilmington said on Wednesday's show.

Kermode and Warr will go head-to-head in the finale next week.

“So You Think You Can Dance” airs at 8 p.m. CDT on Wednesdays on Fox.

Former Des Moines Register intern Omar Waheed contributed to this story. 

Virginia Barreda is a trending and general assignment reporter for the Des Moines Register. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @vbarreda2

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Iowa hip-hop dancer eliminated from 'So You Think You Can Dance'