Melanie Moore: I was expecting to finish 'Dance' second, not first
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 08/12/2011
Melanie Moore was crowned So You Think You Can Dance's eighth-season winner, beating out runner-up Sasha Mallory, third-place finisher Marko Germar and fourth-place finisher Tadd Gadduang based on home viewer votes during Thursday night's live finale broadcast of the Fox reality dance competition.
During a Friday conference call with reporters, Melanie, a 19-year-old contemporary dancer from Marietta, GA who currently resides in New York, NY, talked to Reality TV World about her So You Think You Can Dance experience including -- why she was convinced she wasn't going to win the competition, how she felt about all of her fan support after she had received 47% percent of the vote total, what struggles she faced during the season, and what she plans to do after the So You Think You Can Dance tour ends.
Reality TV World: You said in an interview last night that you thought Sasha was going to win once it got down to just the two of you. Why was that? Why were you so convinced you were going to take the runner-up spot?
Melanie Moore: I don't know. I just did really think that Sasha was going to win. Well first off, she's an absolutely amazing dancer and literally, I'm so inspired by her. But secondly, they've been calling me a favorite since the beginning and usually the person who's like the favorite or the frontrunner doesn't win because, for some reason or another, it usually doesn't happen in that favor.
So, I really didn't expect it at all. Sasha has really improved so much over so many strides and she's really grown on people, because we weren't that good of friends in the beginning either, and as she opened up in the competition she was opening up to us. I have nothing but absolute love and so much respect for her.
Honestly, I was so ready to be in second place and really just tell her how much of an amazing job she did. Because any of the four of us that were on that stage though, I feel like could have taken it.
Reality TV World: You won with 47% percent of the 11.5 million home viewer votes. That's a huge margin given it was a four-way vote, so what are your thoughts about that? Do you have any theories about why you had so much fan support or ideas about why viewers were so drawn to you? Do you think they could relate to you or just loved your personality or something?
Melanie Moore: I really had no idea. I was just surprised. (Laughs) Literally, I was just like, "Oh my gosh! 47! Wow!" (Laughs) Yeah, I don't know. I tried to make sure that my personality really came through in everything that I was saying and I always laugh.
I always laugh at myself. I can never take myself too seriously, and I definitely think that came through. But I hope that I'm relatable to people. I would hope that they would see something in me and inspire them to get up and do something, you know? Maybe that's why! I don't know.
Reality TV World: Nigel Lythgoe said you had everything he wanted in a female dancer, while the judges also commented how you mastered every style or genre of dance that you attempted to learn and perform. It seemed like the judges were suggesting you danced so effortlessly, so was there actually a style of dance you found very difficult and struggled to learn, and did you face any major struggles during the season as a whole?
Melanie Moore: Well I definitely hadn't been trained in ballroom and that was basically the only style besides disco that I hadn't ever taken a class in, so those were definitely struggles. But the hardcore hip-hop was definitely a struggle for me. You guys have seen how I move. I don't move so like hard and quick.
It was so fast and they knew that I could do it so they gave me a really hard piece, but it was super super challenging and I don't think that I would have gotten through it without [Stephen "tWitch" Boss]. He was everything for me. He just got me through that.
Reality TV World: What is going to be on your to-do list after the So You Think You Can Dance tour ends? What are your plans and what do you hope to accomplish?
Melanie Moore: I don't know. Right now, I'm really thinking that I want to go back to school but major in dance rather than art just because I'm so inspired and people have asked me about choreography and things like that. I don't consider myself a choreographer.
I don't consider myself a choreographer at all. I can improve my solos and I can do that kind of stuff, but I'm definitely a dancer right now and not a choreographer. I look up to people like [Stacey Tookey] and [Sonya Tayeh] so much.
I would not classify myself with them in any way, so maybe after some schooling and learning how to choreograph and maybe just a little bit of growing up, then I'll really be able to choreograph. I don't know. I'm definitely going to be auditioning though.
Also in the call, Melanie told reporters whether she'd like to go on tour with Lady Gaga, who she attributed her dancing success to, and whether she would be interested in becoming a So You Think You Can Dance all-star next season.
You've made the point that you're a lot more outgoing than the show seemed to portray. How so?
Melanie Moore: I was homecoming queen in high school. It was really exciting for me. Yeah, I don't know. I feel like on TV, I'm definitely that bubbly person that you see but I am a lot more talkative and chatty.
I feel like throughout the competition, I've been just so focused that you haven't completely gotten to see how outgoing I am. But I mean, as the competition progressed, I definitely think that people got to know me more.
You had offers from Lady Gaga to go on tour, Kenny Ortega to join the cast of the Dirty Dancing movie re-make, and Nigel told you that you could probably join any dance company you wanted. Which of the three options appeals to you most?
Melanie Moore: I don't know. I feel like my dream was always to be in a company and I feel like as far as my movement, I would be more suited for a company atmosphere. I don't even know though because I would love to do tour work. I've always said that I want to do dancing and I didn't care what I was doing.
Whether I was in the back of a commercial or whether I was [unintelligible], I didn't really care. I want to be able to sustain a living dancing and that's really what I'm hoping to do. So, I don't know! If any of those offers come true, I will let you guys know! (Laughs)
Many people told you from the beginning of the season that you had a great shot to win the competition. Going into the finale, did you believe you had a real chance of winning or were you unsure?
Melanie Moore: Well going into the finale, I definitely thought I had a chance. I mean, but sitting there onstage next to Sasha, Marko and Tadd, really, I couldn't pick a favorite because all of us are so great at the things that we do. I don't know how America picked.
I was like, "This is going to be such a hard decision." I definitely felt confident with what I did on Thursday and what I had done in the course of the competition, because I just tried to do what I could every week and really focus on the dances that were given to me -- not look backwards, not look forward, but really focus on what was going on and keep my head in the game sort of.
So, I don't know. I didn't want to put any extra pressure on myself by thinking that I was like a favorite or I really had this amazing shot at it, but I always kept in my head that there was definitely a shot and it was worth going for.
Would you be interested in going on tour with Lady Gaga and what other offers have you received?
Melanie Moore: Well, I would definitely be interested in going on tour with Lady Gaga. I think she's an amazing artist and I've seen a lot of her stuff. I never got to go to her tour, but my best friend is like really obsessed with her. She loves her so much, so I've seen it and I've seen the HBO specials.
Everything she does is so amazing, so I would be more than happy -- overjoyed -- to work with her. But I don't know. As far as offers go, I haven't really been scouted or anything like that besides what Kenny Ortega said about Dirty Dancing, and I'm just really excited about the tour.
That's what I'm looking forward to right now, and I'm trying to keep my head in that -- trying to remember all those routines they're going to make us do. It was kind of like a throw back to the finale.
What or who would you attribute your success to?
Melanie Moore: I don't know. I feel like the reason why I did so well was probably because first off, my partnership. I had an absolutely amazing partner in the beginning. Marko was so strong and I really feel like we carried each other and fed off each other in the very beginning. I don't know.
Marko and I put so much hard work in in the beginning and I don't want to say that it was more than anybody else, because I knew that everyone was working really hard, but we were the only couple who rented studio space outside of the rehearsal time that we had. So, we would be in rehearsals all day and we would go to rehearse at night.
Marko half the time wanted to kill me because I was just so nit-picky and I wasn't one of those people who's like, "Okay, no it will come together when we get onstage and I know how you perform." I was like, "No, it needs to come together before we get onstage because I know how we perform. It will be even better."
I just need to have things like in line before we go onstage, because then when you go onstage, you don't need to be thinking about stuff that you're worried about like coming together. You can really just live in that moment.
So, in that way, Marko wanted to kick me half the time, but our partnership really worked out well. I can definitely attribute my success to both him and our work ethic, because without those, I don't think that we would have made it as far at all in the competition.
You went to Fordham but you were an art major. Why did you major in art instead of dance?
Melanie Moore: Well, I knew that I wanted to go to New York because I have always loved it. We always took family vacations there and I knew that if I wanted to pursue dancing, it was the best place. And then when I decided that I wasn't going to do dancing in college, it was sort of my mom and my decision.
We just thought that dancing is such a hard industry to break into and it's smarter to have a backup plan and something that you can really go off of, because you could get hurt and I could break my leg and I would never really be able to dance again. It's always good to have something you can fall back on.
That was my decision because art is definitely my second love and that's why I went to school for that. It was my final decision to go to New York City when I knew that I would be pursuing art, not dance, because I knew that I could take amazing classes in the city. So, I sort of got the best of both worlds. It was a nice compromise between my mom and me.
What is your specialty in the art field?
Melanie Moore: My specialty is oil painting, and I've done a lot of everything, but oil painting is definitely my favorite. I like to do portraits -- more expressionistic -- because those are just my favorite.
What do you plan to do with the prize money you won?
Melanie Moore: I don't know. Everyone has said to sort of indulge myself on one thing and just go crazy and then put the rest of it away. I don't know. Maybe this is so stupid and crazy, but I sort of want to get a really nice carry-on luggage so I can feel really cool when I travel, (laughs) or maybe like a nice ring or something. I don't even know, (laughs) but I'm going to put the rest away.
Would you like to be an all-star next season if given the opportunity?
Melanie Moore: Oh my gosh, I had already told them I don't care what I have to do, I will be an all-star next season without a doubt. I knew that from the minute I got into the Top 10. I said, "Okay, so here's the thing. I got into the Top 10. That means I have to be an all-star next year." (Laughs)
Put me in Bollywood or disco, I don't care. I will be here! (Laughs) I really want to be an all-star, and I'm hoping that I could maybe be an assistant [for the choreographers] for some people next year too.