Melanie, a 19-year-old contemporary dancer from Marietta, GA who currently resides in New York, NY, won So You Think You Can Dance's eighth-season title based on home viewer votes cast after Wednesday night's final performance show.
As the season's champion, she will receive a $250,000 cash prize, a cover appearance on Dance Spirit magazine, and a role in Gatorade's G Series advertising campaign this fall.
Melanie bested fellow Top 4 finalists Sasha Mallory, Marko Germar and Tadd Gadduang with 47% percent of the 11.5 million home viewer votes cast -- the highest vote total of the season -- to win the competition.
"My first audition was pretty emotional. It was a momentus moment. I just felt like it was the start of something. Vegas was crazy. I looked around at all the amazing dancers that were standing next to me and I just thought, 'How am I here?'" Melanie said in a video before the final results were revealed.
"Every time I step out on the stage, I think I'm probably living for that moment. Getting to have people watch me every single week is like the greatest feeling in the world. To be up on that stage is just an opportunity of a lifetime, and to win it would just be everything."
Each of the four finalists participated in four duet dances during Wednesday night's final performance show -- two routines in which they were paired with one of their fellow finalists and two more routines in which they performed with one of the season's all-star dancers.
Sasha, a 23-year-old contemporary dancer from Bakersfield, CA, finished as So You Think You Can Dance's eighth-season runner-up after she had received over 32% percent of the vote.
"Standing in line with all the dancers, I remember saying to [Sasha's sister] Natalia, 'We're just going to go and have fun and whatever happens happens.' To share that moment with the two of us, it was kind of like a dream come true. Vegas week was such a huge emotional rollercoaster. At the same time, I wouldn't trade that for anything," Sasha said in her own video prior to the announcement of her placing.
"Hearing Cat say my name, there's no words really to describe the feeling. You can only dance it. I've grown into a better dancer, a better performer. To win this would change my life. It would be such a blessing and I would be so honored."
Marko, a 22-year-old jazz dancer from Dededo, Guam who currently resides in Canoga Park, CA, finished third.
"Being on this show has been the most inspirational, emotional and uplifting experience of my life. I put everything I had into this onstage. It was the best time of my life," Marko said in his video.
Cat then asked Marko what he enjoyed most about the competition.
"Just being onstage with these amazing people and being able to tell my story and to show myself to you guys. What we have gained through this experience is far more than anyone could ever imagine. It's something that can never be taken away from us. Money is paper; Contracts are paper. This is our life," he added.
Tadd, a 25-year-old hip-hop dancer from Salt Lake City, UT, came in fourth place.
"This experience has been a blessing. I couldn't be more thankful. No matter how hard anything comes in life, keep on pushing through. For once, I can say that I'm really proud of myself... I've had the time of my life. That's all I can say. I'm more than blessed," Tadd said in his video.
In addition, the finale broadcast also featured "judges' favorites" performances in which the season's finalists and all-star dancers performed encores of some of the season's most memorable routines.
(Photo credit Fox)
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