Chehon Wespi-Tschopp talks more about his 'So You Think You Can Dance' victory
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 09/20/2012
Chehon Wespi-Tschopp and Eliana Girard were crowned So You Think You Can Dance's two ninth-season champions during Tuesday night's live finale broadcast of the Fox reality dance competition.
So You Think You Can Dance's ninth season declared male dancer Chehon and female dancer Eliana "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.
As the season's champions, Chehon, a 23-year-old ballet dancer from Zurich, Switzerland, and Eliana, a 21-year-old contemporary ballet dancer from West Palm Beach, FL, will each receive a $125,000 cash prize and a cover appearance on Dance Spirit magazine. Chehon beat out fellow male finalist Cyrus Spencer -- who had never once landed in the bottom group of dancers -- for the So You Think You Can Dance title, while Eliana bested fellow female finalist Tiffany to win the competition.
During a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, Chehon talked to Reality TV World about his So You Think You Can Dance victory and experience. To read what he had to say, click here.
Below are some additional details from the rest of Chehon's call -- including what particular moment of the season changed his whole experience on the show, whether he'd have any interest in becoming a So You Think You Can Dance all-star, and which choreographer was his obvious favorite.
Cyrus had never landed in the bottom group of dancers all season. So what was going through your mind before the results were revealed?
Chehon Wespi-Tschopp: I really anticipated being the runner-up, and being the runner-up on this show is still a special spot as well because some of the best dancers have been runners-up.
So, I was going to be fine with any result. I just didn't think I would win. I didn't have anything prepared to really say or do, and I didn't know how to act. I was hoping [Cat Deeley] didn't by accident say the wrong name or something. (Laughs)
What was your defining moment from the season?
Chehon Wespi-Tschopp: I think my most defining moment was when my mom was able to come out, because for some reason, that week was the week that I really thought I would be going home. It was after the week I did the hip-hop and I was already in the bottom the week before it, so I just thought that would be my last week.
And for some reason, having my mom come out was so special because she hasn't seen me dance since I was a student. I just kind of wanted to make this last show better just by enjoying it. And for some reason, that was like my breakthrough moment. It just came altogether at the perfect time and the perfect moment.
Chehon Wespi-Tschopp: Yeah! I think I would like that too, but even more so, I'd love to pass them -- submit my choreographed reels and then possibly choreograph in the future someday, because that's something I'm really passionate about.
Ballet dancers appear to be under-appreciated on the show even though there have been other ballet dancers in the past. However, within the last few years, it seems like ballet dancers have been making more of an impact. Why do you think that is?
Chehon Wespi-Tschopp: I feel like we put in so much work. I have put in so much work. It takes so much dedication and so much sacrifice, which for viewers who don't really know the ballet, won't really understand.
And that's why it's been hard for ballet dancers in general to succeed on shows or do well, because people are more likely to be impressed by someone who is a street dancer or comes in with no training and does many styles. So I think that's why they don't know the ballet world so well.
What routine or routines are you most looking forward to doing while on the tour? Which one do you hope will be featured?
Chehon Wespi-Tschopp: I'm hoping that Eliana's "Bang Bang." I could do Alex's part! I don't know! (Laughs) [A piece] I did with [Allison Holker] I could do with Eliana, so that'd be cool. And there's been some great group routines that I really enjoyed.
What was the hardest style for you to pick up on during the season?
Chehon Wespi-Tschopp: For some reason, I got stuck with all the ballroom routines this season. I have no idea why, but I've had cha cha, rumba, samba, the tango -- like, I don't know what happened. But yes, it was tough for me, especially because I'm trying to do everything that I'm not.
It's just so uncomfortable for me. I'm not flamboyant and I don't really dance to Rihanna music, so it just made the whole experience really difficult. But again, it just helped us grow... Once I knew that I couldn't be perfect at those styles, I was able to have more fun.
And even with the hip-hop, that was kind of my first week that I was like, "It won't be my strongest routine but I can have fun with it. It's going to help me. It's going to help me along the way." So maybe once we leave the competition, we'll be getting each other into new classes. I just hope to take everything that we've learned on the show and build on it.
Who was your favorite choreographer to work with all season?
Chehon Wespi-Tschopp: [Sonya Tayeh] and [Stacey Tookey]. I respected everyone so much and they're all incredible. And they all brought me through my journey, but I think if I had to choose one person, it would probably be Stacey who turned myself around on this show.
The routine she did for me to Whitney Houston, that was the first kind of step for me to work with someone who really believes in me and truly kind of saw me as the person who I am. She didn't just assume who I would be by my physique or by anything like that.
She's just really such a very special person, and then having her for my final show, I think that was such a perfect ending because I was able to return to her work again. She really gave me that last push of working to my strengths and just believing in us.
I felt like she really believed in both me and Eliana so much, and we also saw all the YouTube videos when the choreographers do their interviews. And hearing her talk about us in such a genuine way is really special.
Any closing remarks?
Chehon Wespi-Tschopp: Thanks to all our fans who supported us. It's so special that people who don't even know you vote for you because they connect to you or they feel they can connect to your journey. So that's just really special. Thank you very much.
Above are some additional details from the rest of Chehon's call. To read what he had to say to Reality TV World, click here.