'So You Think You Can Dance' crowns Eliana Girard and Chehon Wespi-Tschopp winners
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 09/19/2012
So You Think You Can Dance crowned female dancer Eliana Girard and male dancer Chehon Wespi-Tschopp its two ninth-season champions during Tuesday night's live finale broadcast of the Fox reality dance competition.
"The line [to audition] went around the block like five times and I didn't even know if I was going to get seen that day. Arriving in Vegas was the most intimidating part. No one realizes how hard it is until you do it. Coming into the show, I didn't want to prove anything. I just wanted to give ballet a good reputation. I wanted them to enjoy it the way I enjoy it. It would mean everything to win the show -- every bit of self-doubt, every bit of pain, every bit of worry -- all of that was so worth it," Eliana, a 21-year-old contemporary ballet dancer from West Palm Beach, FL, said in a video montage before So You Think You Can Dance host Cat Deeley announced her victory.
"I had no idea how far this journey would take me and I just thought I would give it a shot. I put a lot of pressure on myself. I realized I didn't really need to. As soon as I walked in that big room with all those dancers, my confidence just dropped. I really felt like I kept growing from week to week. I came into this competition not believing in myself, and I can leave this competition relieved, feeling I've accomplished something," Chehon, a 23-year-old ballet dancer from Zurich, Switzerland, explained.
So You Think You Can Dance's ninth season declared Eliana and Chehon "America's favorite dancers" based upon home viewer votes cast following last Tuesday night's final performance show, which had featured the Top 4 dancers each performing five times for So You Think You Can Dance judges Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy and guest judge Rob Marshall.
The Top 4 contestants -- Eliana, Chehon, Cyrus Spencer, and Tiffany Maher -- each danced with an all-star partner and both of his or her fellow finalists of the opposite sex. In addition, they danced a routine altogether and performed individual solos.
As the season's champions, Eliana and Chehon -- who are coincidentally both ballet dancers -- will each receive a $125,000 cash prize and a cover appearance on Dance Spirit magazine.
Eliana bested fellow female finalist Tiffany, a 19-year-old jazz dancer from Plantation, FL, to win the competition, while Chehon beat out fellow male finalist Cyrus -- a 22-year-old animation/robotics dancer from Duluth, GA, who had never once landed in the bottom group of dancers during the results portion of an episode this season -- for theSo You Think You Can Dance title.
"Standing in that line, I was so nervous because I just looked around and saw how many people were there. I said, 'Let's just go for it. What do you have to lose?' I just told myself, 'Just go out there and dance!' Vegas week was the hardest week of my life. It's every dancer's dream to step foot on that stage. I've never been so stressed out in my life, but I've never been so happy in my life. Just to know that I've made it to this point, I already feel like I've won," Tiffany said in her video.
"When I was standing in line in Atlanta, I was so nervous because there were so many people. As soon as that music started, it was like something took over me. I was so pumped because my roommates made it. When I went to Vegas, I thought people were going to look at me and be like, 'Pshh, you're an amateur.' Vegas week definitely broke me down as a person. I feel like I have superpowers when I dance on that stage. Each week I made it past, I was more surprised. If I win this show, it would literally seal the deal to a perfect story," added Cyrus.
Tuesday night's finale broadcast featured a performance by Carly Rae Jepsen, a Top 20 group number, a Top 10 performance with the season's all-stars, and the Top 4 finalists each selecting their own favorite dance of the season to perform again for viewers.
In addition, So You Think You Can Dance judges Lil' C, Adam Shankman, Debbie Allen, Tyce Diorio, Mary Murphy, and Nigel Lythgoe nominated six memorable routines from the season for specific dancers to re-visit.