'SYTYCD' winner: I struggled with ballroom, hip-hop
August 12th, 2011
04:05 PM ET

'SYTYCD' winner: I struggled with ballroom, hip-hop

The day after winning "So You Think You Can Dance," Melanie Moore could not believe that she got 47 percent of the vote between the final four dancers.

"Going into the finale I definitely felt I had a chance but standing next to Sasha, Marko and Tadd, I wasn’t able to pick a favorite," she told reporters on Friday. "I felt confident with what I had done in the course of the competition. I didn’t want to put any extra pressure on myself by thinking I was a favorite, but I felt it was worth going for."

Even when it was down to the final two, Melanie felt that Sasha would emerge victorious.

"They’d been calling me a favorite since the beginning. Usually the favorite or frontrunner doesn’t win, so I really didn’t expect it at all," she said. "And Sasha has improved so much, and made so many strides. I have nothing but love and respect for her. I was so ready to be second place and tell her what an amazing job she did. Any of the four of us could have taken it."

Thinking back on the season, Melanie said she was proudest of the work she put into her tango with Marko (the person on the show that she credits the most for her victory).

"It was so hard because you had to keep your connection the whole time," she said. "In rehearsals it didn’t work like that, and we worked every day afterwards. We were pounding it to the ground with that number. So, to get positive comments - and for Mary to say it was not bad - it felt so good just to do well with our first ballroom routine."

In fact, Melanie revealed that early on, the two of them were the only ones to rent extra studio time outside of the planned rehearsal time. "Marko probably hated me because I was so picky [in rehearsal]," she joked.

Melanie also credits all-star tWitch for helping her pull off a very difficult hip-hop routine. "[It] was definitely a struggle for me," she said. "It was so quick, and it was super challenging, but I don’t think I would have been able to do it without tWitch. He was everything for me."

After the upcoming "SYTYCD" tour, Melanie hopes to continue to pursue dance as a career, whether it be with a company, or - as she was offered on the show - performing in the remake of "Dirty Dancing" or dancing backup for Lady Gaga.

"[Gaga] is an amazing artist. My best friend is obsessed with her - I would be more than overjoyed to work with her," she said. "I think ['Dirty Dancing'] would be so much fun, because Kenny Ortega’s choreography is amazing. So I hope it’s a verbal contract!"

As for that $250,000 prize, Melanie isn't thinking too extravagantly about what to spend it on: "I want to get really nice carry-on luggage since I’ll be traveling, or a nice ring or something."

soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. hip hop rap

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    May 11, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
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    August 16, 2011 at 2:55 am | Report abuse |
  3. JanetMary

    P.S. Where was Mia Michaels (correct name?) this year. I really like her.

    August 15, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. JanetMary

    I really wish that the judges would demonstrate or show examples of the dance steps -techniques – whatever they're called – for which they criticize the dancers. It would help us if we knew what to look for – fast though it may be. When they talk about a move or an arm or leg movement, I'd like to see what they're talking about.

    August 15, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Myself


    Quit lying! Who said Sasha was a lesbian? She didn't say it and since she didn't I'll assume she isn't.

    August 15, 2011 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
  6. Myself

    I would have been okay with almost any of this season's contestants winning. But, as much as I loved Melanie, Sasha was my favorite because she had that little extra umph when it was possible. What I can say matter of factly is that unless dancers do identical routines it's not really possible to say who was the best between the best who happened to be Melanie and Sasha. And what I can say is that all choreographers are not created equally. Melanie had excellent choreographers the entire season. The others not so much. Some of those choreographers should not be allowed to return to SYTYCD. For example Mark Ballas. I knew Sasha's goose was cooked when she ended up getting him as her choreographer. He's only good as a choreographer when he is one of the dancers.

    August 15, 2011 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
    • JennyPaquita

      I completely agree about the choreographers. Some should not be allowed to come back. Others were great.

      August 15, 2011 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  7. Lloyd

    The show is not about the best dancer, it is the favorite dancer. The favorite dancer won.

    August 14, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. DrDiomedes

    I think america got it right. But close. ... Melanie's performance with all-star Neil was awesome; over-all best of the season! that pushed her over the edge for me ...

    August 14, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  9. JennyPaquita

    I'm not shocked that Melanie won, but as a dancer myself, it was clear to me that Sasha (as well as many of the other contestants) were much, MUCH stronger dancers. Melanie was personable and seemed easy to like– as a person. However, throughout the show, she lacked a firm grasp of many basic foundational dance techniques. For example, if you take a look at the first two photographs taken of the last episode on the official SYTYCD site, Melanie's supporting leg is weak and bent while Sasha's is straight and strong in their arabesques; in the second photo, Melanie's elbows fall below her hand while Sasha's is at the correct position. These types of skills are generally taught and perfected during one's first year of dance training.

    As a dancer, this show was frustrating to watch. Dancers are often saved or eliminated based on their personality or how they come across to viewers who do not have any basic understanding of dance technique. Dancers with strong skills are often eliminated merely because viewers do not like their costumes or cannot relate to their "personalities" while dancers with weak skills are praised for seeming "graceful" because they appear on stage and stride in some flowy dress that week.

    I'm not shocked that Melanie won, because the winner was ultimately decided by viewers who know little to nothing about the technicalities of dance and lack the understanding to be able judge anything more than smiles and costumes, if that. (For an example, check out the SYTYCD blogger at WSJ who follows the show religiously, critiques each dancer brutally, yet misuses simple dance terms, and refers to turns as "spins." Sigh.)

    If this was a show about judging personalities, Melanie would have been the fair winner. However, as this is a show about dancing, Melanie should not have won. Her lack of simple foundational techniques make me cringe as a dancer, but I suppose as an average American viewer, her smile makes up for it.

    August 14, 2011 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Ron

      Don't know what show you were watching. Melanie is one of the STRONGEST and most technically perfect dancers that has ever been on the show.....America agrees with 47% of the vote.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • JennyPaquita

      @Ron – Your comment is general and conclusory and does nothing to rebut any of the statements or supporting facts that I've stated. In fact, it only further my argument above that despite an obvious lack of technical skills, America still voted for Melanie.

      August 14, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sophie

      I am one of those persons you are referring to. I have no general idea about dance and mostly rely on the judges feedback. I like Melanie but I didn't realize that most of the dances that were given to her were her genre until I real the comments. And looking back on it, I agree, she was given contemporary more than other dances. Her hiphop was not bad but it was not good either. I didn't enjoy watching it and the disco was also bland. Looking back on the ballroom, I thought it was bad but the judges were all praises about it that I thought maybe I was wrong because as I've said, I don't know what makes ballroom good so I relied mostly on their opinions since they know more than me. The only routine I recalled that I like from her is that statue routine with Marko and now I think Sasha has more memorable routines like the hiphop with Alexander and Twitch and the ballroom with Pasha which I enjoyed watching immensely. Even Tadd/Jordan's vulture routine & Tadd/Lauren's were memorable.

      August 14, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Myself

      Thank you! The only thing that you left out is that all choreographers are not created equally. Some of the choreographers that the other dancers had sucked to high heaven. When Sasha got Mark Ballas I knew what her fate was. He is great in his own mind. When Sasha got good choreographers she was the best and I have actually watched her routines over and over again. But, any of the last 10 dancers would have been okay with me if they had won. It's too bad the judges make it known who they want to win. It takes the fairness out of judging.

      August 15, 2011 at 12:27 am | Report abuse |
    • yououghtaknow

      @JennyPaquita - the problem is that you were looking for the most qualified or technical dancer . . . while the premise of the show is to find "America's FAVORITE Dancer" . . . mission accomplished by FOX . . .

      August 15, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. dawn01

    better get this http://www.SUPERSONIC.US.COM

    August 13, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Nadia

    Congrats a million times over to Melanie!

    40lber nicely said ... Sasha did display her "character" that night and she was a boot hog! What a disappointment that night to watch. I also agree with you as well; Marko should have been in the final two! Hands down!!!!

    From a technical stand point; Sasha did not compare to Melanie. She was good but not great. Though she had that androgynous and fierce like feel. She did show great improvement. Where as with Melanie she'd dance so effortlessly-you can feel right from her heart and soul ... her being. In addition, the connection between her partner(s) and to the audience was inviting and mesmerizing; that alone is not taught, you either have it or you don't.

    I also admire her honesty to her struggle to hip hop & ball room. Being told from the start and hearing how great you are or how you are the "favorite" you can easily lose focus and get relaxed. But she never did; she only wanted to be better but more importantly; she was remained true to her. And her wil to want to practice outside of rehearsal times displays the strength within and that speaks volume.

    Christie, I agree: Just like Mark Kanemura (who is phenomenal) as one the principal dancers for Lady GaGa. I can't wait to see how in the months, years to come how she will develop and what we will see her appear in and the growth and development in her ... I can only imagine ... just B-E-A-UTIFUL!!! (I would definitely pay to her perform live)

    All the dancers were wonderful and unique and simply amazing. Would love to see choreographers: Sonya Tayeh, Mia Michales, Travis Wall, Tyce Diorio, Wade Robson, Napoleon & Tabitha, Mandy Moore, Dmitry Chaplin put together another special show. (Hint hint to you producers and executives) Even though it did not receive it's best ratings in Sept 2009; I think if you bring back the best of the best (dancers & choreographers) what a treat and pure joy it would be!

    The truest expression of a people is in its dance and in its music. Bodies never lie. Agnes de Mille

    Nicely done Melanie! Nicely done!!

    August 13, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Myself

      Let the boot go. The boot has nothing to do with the dancing. No one knows if Melanie wouldn't have done the same thing.

      It's hard to say Melanie was the absolute best. She danced in her genre at least 90% of the time. Also, the choreographers make all the difference in the world. One can almost choose from the start who is going to have a great routine or so-so routine based on who the get as choreographer.

      August 15, 2011 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
  12. fitfunfab

    In actuality Sasha and Melanie shared Lady Gaga's shoes. Didn't you see that it was Melanie wearing them when they showed the clip of the top four going to the Glee Premier?! What a reason to not vote for someone. Shouldn't it be about the quality of the dance rather than based on personality. I do agree though that Melanie was much more personable.

    August 13, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. 40lber

    rudi lee... i totally agree with you. sasha was a boot hog. didnt even let melaine touch the thing. glad melaine won, she was my fav right from auditions. i was hoping marko to be with her in the final two though. sasha was good as well, but i felt she wasnt as personal like melaine and marko and tadd as well.

    August 13, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  14. E

    From a technical standpoint, both girls were excellent. They brought their own uniqueness to all choreography that was shown to them. That being said, Melanie connected better with the audience and her partners. Given that people could relate to her, she won people over. She wasn't in the bottom and ultimately came out as the winner. As she rightfully deserved.

    August 13, 2011 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Myself

      Although I was a fan of Melanie also and would have been okay with anyone of this season's contestant winning, it is nearly impossible to say that Melanie was better than Sasha when 8 times out of 10 Melanie was dancing in her genre.

      August 14, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rudi Lee

    I knew Sasha would never win SYTYCD8 the minute she got Lady Gaga's shoe and kept it for herself. TV viewers knew she was greedy and selfish!

    August 13, 2011 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • SometimesElla

      @Joe – considering the number of previous black dancers who were SYTYCD champions, I do not think that was an issue, you idiot.

      August 13, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Myself

      Now, that is just ridiculous. If that is the reason that one votes for a contestant or do not vote for one, then he or she shouldn't even be watching the show. Do you know that if Melanie had caught the shoe she wouldn't have done the same thing?

      August 14, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Dancertoo

    Though Sasha showed great improvement, Melanie was the frontrunner and amassed a good number of fans before Sasha could catch up with her. It really just takes one vote to be ahead and be the winner and that's what I think happened.

    August 13, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Qiox

      1 vote? Did you have volume turned down when they announced the winner? Do the math. 11 million votes, 47% for Melanie, 34% for Sasha, that's 1,430,000 more votes for Melanie.

      August 13, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Karl

    Melanie was fantastic. The final four were great.

    August 13, 2011 at 6:49 am | Report abuse |
  18. BLUKA

    COLEWORLD 9/27/2011. J. COLE is gonna take over the rap game (DONT SLEEP ON THIS KID). THE come up, the warm up, Friday Night Lights mixtape download them now. Jcolemusic.com

    August 13, 2011 at 3:35 am | Report abuse |
  19. keepinitreal

    What's wrong with honesty????? Sasha was the best this season. Just like Brandon from a previous season. Judges you influence loose.....Shame, shame SHAME ON YOU!!!!!! Melanie is good, but she can't hold a candle to Sasha!!!!!!!!

    August 12, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  20. angela

    Sasha should have won. She could out dance melanie any day.

    August 12, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • keepinitreal


      August 12, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • lala

      While Melanie was an overall favorite of mine, I liked Sasha too. The difference between Melanie's and Sasha's dancing was Melanie was more feminine and ethereal while Sasha was more androgynous and fierce. Sasha's a lesbian so that explains the androgynous feel I got from her (sometimes I thought she danced as the male in the choreo) and all of the "struggles" she didn't elaborate about on the show.

      Sasha was good but Melanie has that certain something that makes her a star. I also thought Melanie was the best because she emotes and connects with the choreo given to her and dances from her heart. the best actually won this year! Shocking!

      August 13, 2011 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
    • qiox

      Out dance Melanie any day.. except for every day they competed on the show.

      August 13, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • moon627

      i think the difference was that while Melanie pointed her toes and feet so that her dancing looked very pretty , Sasha splayed her feet and toes out alot – not so pretty but came across more powerful

      August 15, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Gabby C.

    I loved her from the beginning and rooted her through the whole thing so I'm not surprised she won though I got to admit I love all four of them especially when she was paired with Marko ^.^ I love them all so I gunna buy a ticket to see them when they stop by in Toronto for their tour! ^.^

    August 12, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
  22. me

    Even tWitch struggled with that hip hop routine. It really offered no danceable beat to get into and work from.

    August 12, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Christie

    Congrats Melanie! I love that she's candid about her struggles with ballroom and hip-hop – she is human, after all, and only 19 years old. Imagine what a great dancer she will be in a few years – like how Mark Kanemura has grown as a dancer since becoming a backup dancer for Lady Gaga.

    August 12, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • alice

      Uuuhhh...mmm...HMMMmmm...well... ...Lets see...OH!! Here we go. *POOT*

      August 15, 2011 at 7:48 am | Report abuse |

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