Interview with Melanie Moore

Melanie Moore is Season 8's winner!

The morning after Melanie Moore was crowned America’s Favorite Dancer, the Contemporary dancer from Marietta, GA hopped on the phone for a press call where she talked about her new title, being a front-runner, her partnership with Marko Germar, and more.

The dancers have undergone a grueling schedule for the past several months. What does Melanie plan to do between now and tour rehearsals? “I have 10 days off and I was planning on being at my studio and taking classes. That’s one thing about me—I can never sit still for that long. My boyfriend Mitchell is moving back up to Athens to go to the University of Georgia. He’s been out here supporting me throughout the competition, so I’m going to help him move in and spend some time with him. I’m ready to step out of the spotlight for just a couple minutes at least.”

Lady Gaga said she’d love to have Melanie dance on her tour, Kenny Ortega and Cat Deeley seemed to work out a part for Melanie in the upcoming remake of Dirty Dancing, and Nigel Lythgoe suggested that Melanie join a Dance Company. So what’s in the cards for Melanie? “My dream has always been to be in a company,” Melanie revealed. “As far as my movement goes, I’d be more suited for a company atmosphere. I’ve always wanted to do tour work, be in a commercial too, or anything—just dancing… I would be interested in going on tour with Lady Gaga. She’s an amazing artist…I would be more than happy and overjoyed to work with her. I will be focusing on the tour now and trying to remember all the dances we have to do. It’s like a throwback to the finale!”

From the very start of the season, Melanie received glowing reviews from the judges and guests who often referred to her as a front-runner. Did those comments make Melanie think she was going to win? She explained, “Going into the finale I definitely thought I had a chance, but sitting on stage next to Sasha, Marko, and Tadd, I really couldn’t pick a favorite. Everyone is so great at what they do. I didn’t know how America was going to pick. I felt confident in what I did on [Wednesday] and just tried to focus. I didn’t want to put any extra pressure on myself, but I always knew I had a shot.”

One of the standout moments of the season (and again at the finale) was Melanie’s giant leap into All-Star Neil Haskell’s arms. Was it difficult trusting a new partner for such a big move? Melanie said, “Neil and I sort of clicked form the beginning. He’s very funny and made me feel comfortable. I wasn’t too nervous when Stacey Tookey told us about the leap. Neil’s got a lot of muscle. We started a few steps away and then kept moving back. It took about three tries before I was across the room. We were daredevils about it. Whoever I’m partnering with I have full trust in because I also want them to have full trust in me as a partner.”

What does Melanie attribute her Season 8 success to? “I feel like the reason why I did so well was probably because of my partnership with Marko,” Melanie admitted. “I had an absolutely amazing partner from the beginning. Marko is so strong and we carried each other from the very beginning. We put so much hard work in the beginning. I don’t want to say we worked harder than anyone else, but we were the only ones that would rent studio space in addition to rehearsals. Half of the time, Marko would want to kill me because I’m so nitpicky and he’s the type that figures it will all come together on stage. But I don’t want to worry about that when I’m on stage. I attribute my success to him and our work ethics because otherwise I don’t think we would’ve made it as far in the competition.”

On the finale show, we got to see the judges’ favorite dances from Season 8 performed again. What dance from the season did Melanie work the hardest on and was the most proud to execute? She laughed and said, “It’s kind of an odd one. The one I’m most proud of is the Tango routine with Marko. It was our first ballroom style and they gave us the standard ballroom kind of Tango, and you have to keep your connection the entire time. Marko and i kept working at it and rented a rehearsal space every day and we were there until 11:45 at night pounding it into the ground. Just hearing it was good and not bad was such a relief. That was the one I was most proud we got through.”

Melanie enjoyed working with all of the choreographers, but she found her time with choreographer Sonya Tayeh to be especially amazing. Melanie told us, “I think the choreographer that challenged me the most and pushed me the most was Sonya Tayeh. When i worked with her and Sasha she pushed me hard. She knew it was going to be a challenge for me because it was totally different from what my body does. She cares about everyone and she’s been life-changing and so inspiring to us. All of the choreographers are super inspiring, but she took it to more of a relationship with us than a choreographer stance and we could tell she cared about us. She’s amazing and her choreography is ridiculous. Sonya is very intimidating and very scary, but you know when you dance she’s really watching and caring and pushing through with you.”

Melanie loved her experience on So You Think You Can Dance so much that she wants to come back next year! “I’ve already told them I don’t care what I have to do; I want to be an All-Star no matter what. I told them that when I got into the Top 10. I don’t care if you put me in Bollywood or Disco, I just want to be there! I will even help assist choreographers.”

You don’t have to wait until Season 9 to see Melanie again. Catch her and the rest of the Top 10 on tour. Click here for dates and details.

>>View photos of Melanie’s winning moment.
>>Vote for Melanie’s G Series FIT ad.


18 comments on “Interview with Melanie Moore“

  1. Ariana - wrote:

    Sincere contrats to Melanie! this was a great season. Very upset that the tour is NOT coming to Las Vegas this year! Why were we slighted when we host “Vegas week?” I’ve seen the tour the last two years here in LV and this year looks the best yet and you’re not coming to Las Vegas. Harumph!

    8/12/2011 1:11 PM UTC

  2. alana - wrote:

    I am happy for Melanie on her win. I thought the top 4 was spot on. I liked seeing the various past dancers performing. I loved Ivans hip hop routine with Caitlynn. I did a lot of fast forwarding this season. I really enjoyed Lil C though. He is so funny to me. The season sucked though for the most part. The guest celebrity judges just ruined it for me. Not sure why Pia was on there performing with her non singing self. I am just glad this season is over.

    8/12/2011 6:16 PM UTC

  3. Jenna - wrote:

    you should make dvds of all the seasons! it would be great to be able to watch them again :)

    8/12/2011 7:59 PM UTC

  4. Mary - wrote:

    I agree about the guest judges. Stick to the dancers/choreographers, some of those people had nothing to say that was relevant. They take up too much of the time. I love Ellen too, but she was the beginning of those who have had nothing to say.

    That said I voted consistently for Melanie and Marco, so I know she is a great dancer. My final votes were for Sasha. I really feel as though Nigel in particular was extremely biased in his comments to the dancers this season. It would be a good idea to look at past seasons to see that in the past these kinds of comments were not spoken. Judges are supposed to critique the dance, not to say, “You are my favorite, you are the top girl/boy”, etc.

    Too much time spent on the judge’s antics is a killer for the reality shows, it is what I hear people say they hate about these shows. I’m not a reality show watcher, but got hooked on SYTYCD watching the 3rd season with my daughter. I hope next season will be more dance, less shenanigans.

    8/13/2011 6:29 AM UTC

  5. Sylvia - wrote:

    Very disappointed this year Nigel very very biased. He might as well picked the final dancer, because he certainly did that 6-8 weeks ago! (melanie). Sasha you were the most amazing dancer and had the most difficult dances to perform. Whacking come on you and pour Ricky had to do that? Why didn’t they pick another couple to do it, like marco and melanie? It hurts me when they have already decided who should win by their biased comments. No one had a chance to win but melanie. I knew it and i’m sure alot of people knew it even melanie herself, even if she doesn’t admit it. Sasha deserved something out of this competion because she was just as good and I think better because her dances were much harder than what melanie was asked to do. You judges are becoming hard to listen to. Especially Nigel! You talked America into voting melanie as their favorite dancer weeks ago!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    8/13/2011 10:57 AM UTC

  6. Tom Cat - wrote:

    I was torn between Sasha & Melanie . Either one of them was great, I agree that the judges need to keep ” favorites ” to themselves. I believe it sways public opinion in a negative way. The talent was outstanding this season , we loved them all .
    We loved Lady Gaga but the rest of the guest judges were non- plus ! Love this show !

    8/13/2011 1:31 PM UTC

  7. Lo Lo - wrote:

    Me myself I thought that Sasha should have won. Is it me or did it look like that Tadd sabotage his dance with Sasha, and when him and Melanie performed he did great. I just couldn’t belive my eyes when this happened. The judges sometimes need to keep their oppinions to theirselves!!!!!!!

    8/15/2011 9:07 AM UTC

  8. Heather - wrote:

    Melanie- SYTYCD is my absolute favorite show because as a former dancer, this is a true showcase for beautiful technique and artistry, rather than just a popularity contest. This year I almost feel that technical dance became popular, because the Top 4 was the cream of the crop. I am so thrilled that you were named America’s favorite dancer because your dedication to the craft shone through in every move you made. You are a beautiful beautiful dancer and so deserving of this honor. Congratulations a thousand times over!!! Now everyone knows what dance can be :) Heather

    8/15/2011 10:57 AM UTC

  9. AB - wrote:

    I live in Sweden, so unfortuantley we can’t vote. But every night i would watch the show, and pray melanie would make it, and she did.. when Cat Deeley announced her name as the winner os SYTYCD i was soo proud and excited for her. she deserved it,
    She is excellent at everything, a tremendous talent, she was my favourite since the day she first auditioned.
    i also loved sacha, But Melanie… your the best, i totally LOVE YOU.

    8/16/2011 3:49 AM UTC

  10. Brtah - wrote:

    No SYTYCD this week–wah!! I thought this season’s competitors were absolutely AMAZING. But, my fav was Sasha. She had such honesty and emotion in her dancing that I cried several times during her routines (the one she did with Kent was a KILLER). Not so with Melanie. I felt her expressions and movements were a result of acting and not having had those emotions. There was a self-consciousness about her, I thought: she knew she was immensely talented and had almost a look-what-I-can-do demeanor. Not to take anything away from her skill and abilities, mind you. I just felt Sasha had experienced the emotions she danced, unlike Melanie who, I felt, maybe just imagined how a particular emotion would feel.

    I think the “final four” should split the $250,000 so each dancer who worked their tails off like these guys did could walk away with more than blistered feet and exhausted bodies. It broke my heart to watch Sasha leave the stage with just a bunch of flowers!

    As far as the guest judges go, I did enjoy Christina Applegate and the guy from “Modern Family”; the others were forgettable. I missed seeing Mia, Tice and Adam on the panel, but absolutely loved Mary, Nigel and L’il C, who slays me with his erudite commentary. Cat Deeley did a tremendous job moving the show along which can’t be easy when some of the judges can’t stop yakkin’.

    I thought this was a great season. I would love to have ALL the seasons on DVD to watch again and again!

    8/16/2011 3:45 PM UTC

  11. Heather - wrote:

    I had one more thought… While I could almost predict who would stay and go this season, based on the judges’ critiques, I was thankful and confident because as the judges got it right every time, so did America…just keep the unecessary negative comments to yourself next time Nigel and let the glowing ones flow!

    8/16/2011 9:30 PM UTC

  12. Kat - wrote:

    I agree, this season was predictable & boring! The judges are there to critique. The constant praise…. your my favorite bleep doesn’t help the dancers any! Nothing against the dancers, they worked their butts off and are extremely talented. However, someone said Melanie was excellent at everything, except… she didn’t do everything! And what she did do (out of her style) disco & hip hop….. not so great, & at that stage of the competition should have been near perfect?!! 2 out of 4 of Sasha’s dances weren’t good enough for finale night. Nigel blamed the boys but Sasha was the common denominator! The boys’ other routines were excellent!
    The judges campaigned all season for mostly Melanie but also Sasha and when they got exactly what they wanted they were surprised by the uneventful, unexciting & BORING finale!!!
    Remember when all the dancers started out on an even playing field & we were constantly surprised with dark horses (like Janeanne) never saw her coming kind of thing?! We held our breath on result show night…. this season we already new who it would be. No surprises, no fun = who cares!!!

    8/18/2011 5:48 PM UTC

  13. snazzyjazzy - wrote:

    I absolutely adored this season, and over all the seasons this was my favourite! i loved the top 10 the most of all the amazing dancers. And im sooo glad Melanie won!! She and all the dancers were just amazing, and breathtaking!! She is one of the most amazing dancers i have ever seen, and i look up to her sooo much!! I can stop watching Melanie and Marko in Travis Wall’s ”statue” piece!
    I was mad at Nigel when he made that comment with Marko and Tadd in front of him, about the girls winning, i think his comment may have swayed the votes a bit. but i am still very happy with who won.
    I will never forget this season!!! BRING ON SEASON 9 BABY!!!!!!!!!!

    8/20/2011 2:42 PM UTC

  14. jade - wrote:

    Melanie was the dancer of the seson i relly wish i could dance like her i think it would be a grate idea to put season 8 on dvd by fare the best seson on so you think you can dance

    8/21/2011 8:54 AM UTC

  15. Rudi Lee - wrote:

    To know who’s better, just watch GAME ON when Sasha danced together, or versus I should say, Melanie.
    Anyone could see that Melanie was indeed a better dancer. Much better. Period!
    Did 47 people out of 100 make a mistake? Come on! That was almost 50%!

    8/21/2011 9:13 AM UTC

  16. Martha - wrote:

    I liked that all 20 were given more opportunities to dance this season, before cuts began. Everyone was so talented – I enjoyed seeing all and getting to know them a bit before we started to say “good bye.”

    A couple of seasons ago, prize money was also given to the top dancer of the opposite sex. Couldn’t that come back? Also, I totally agree that the runner-up be awarded some prize money. Everyone works so hard, inspires us all, and gives us such pleasure through a short summer season – I would like to see financial reward shared more.

    YES YES YES DVD’s PLEASE!!!!! SYTYCD is so successful now – it’s worth the investment to get the music rights, etc. I would CERTAINLY buy a set!

    Also, agree with lackluster guest judges. Lady Gaga was a pleasant surprise, appreciated Kenny Ortega – but Katie, Christina…I’d rather have real dancers, choreographers, etc., who can say something worthwhile be guests on the panel.

    AND, we don’t need to hear who are the judges’ favorites.

    Adore this show!!!

    8/21/2011 6:52 PM UTC

  17. Bernard - wrote:

    I have watched this show for all 8 seasons and for the first time ever I picked someone that I thought would win it and that was Melanie. From her first audition I think it was clear that she had an excellent chance of winning. I think Sasha is a wonderfull dancer but just fell a little short of taking the title.
    I really dont believe that any of the judges comments influenced the voting. I think the American public are quite capable of making up their own minds.

    8/28/2011 7:18 PM UTC

  18. Melette - wrote:

    As a former professional dancer, I can say that the best dancer did win (Melanie). Sasha was indeed very good as were Marko and Tadd, but Melanie was the best technically, expressively, and in every other way. All of her dances were performed “to the “T”. She was proficient in every type of dance style that she received as the luck of the draw would have it, even those styles that were way outside her normal element. While Nigel was correct in that she is one of the best dancers that has ever been on the show, I do believe that the judges should not express “favorites” on the show. They are there to critique the dance, not play favorites. And PLEASE, cut out the guest judges like Christina Applegate and Katie Holmes that have absolutely nothing of value to say and no business commenting on the dances. If I have to hear Katie Holmes say one more time “I think this and I think that” I will mute the TV. Worthless! Please go back to having the experts (dancers and choreographers) critique the dancers like you did in the earlier seasons. That was much much better.

    10/28/2011 4:39 PM UTC

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