'So You Think You Can Dance': Travis Wall predicts the winner and tells us what's next

Think-Dance-Travis-Wall

Image Credit: Adam Rose/Fox

Travis Wall is sad to report that you will not see him in this week’s So You Think You Can Dance two-part finale.  The Emmy-nominated choreographer, and season 2 SYTYCD runner-up, tells EW, “I was supposed to do the finale, but I had to cancel because I got the movie.” Indeed, Wall is currently in Miami creating contemporary pieces for Step Up 4, starring season 6 contestant, and season 7 and 8 All Star, Kathryn McCormick. “It’s my first movie to choreograph,” he says. “I’m really excited.”

But back to SYTYCD: After getting his first shot on the judges’ panel this year, who does he think should take the title of “America’s Favorite Dancer” this season?  “This is by far the strongest top four we’ve ever had,” notes Wall. “I’ve been pulling for Melanie [Moore] from day one. I feel that not only is she the best dancer, but her personality is great.”

Wall would also have wanted Moore as his partner if he had come back as an All-Star this season — a possibility that was in the works until his Step Up 4 schedule became a conflict. “If I hadn’t pulled out of the finale, I was going to choreograph and dance a number,” says Wall. “I really wanted to get Melanie and dance with her and choreograph it. That would have been amazing.” Still, his return as an All-Star-cum-choreographer is not completely off the table. He adds, “Hopefully we can look forward to it for next season!”

Wall hopes Moore can buck a SYTYCD trend of technically sophisticated dancers finishing second to dancers with outsize personalities. He cites his brother Danny Tidwell’s runner-up finish to Sabra Johnson in season 3. (Wall himself fell just short of toothsome West Coast Swing dancer Benji Schwimmer in season 2.) This year, “I just really want the best dancer to win, because she does have the best personality, too.”

Having worked with all four of this season’s finalists, Wall is quick to add, “I love Marko [Germar]. I think he’s amazing. I think he’s grown so much.” As for his favorite male competitor, though, he gives the edge to Tadd Gadduang, the dark horse B-boy with a flair for performing solos to unexpected songs like Gloria Estefan’s “1-2-3″ and Harry Belafonte’s “Jump In The Line (Shake, Senora).” Says Wall, “When I did the ‘Brotsjór’ dance [for Tadd and then partner Jordan Casanova], he totally just pulled me in. I’m so proud of him for making the finale.”

Of his stint as a judge this season, 23-year-old Wall is still amazed. “If Nigel [Lythgoe, the show's producer] looked back on the first time he saw me in my Charleston, S.C., audition, would he have ever thought, ‘This kid is going to be sitting next to me on the judges’ panel one day’? I don’t think so.” If nothing else, Wall landed the gig through sheer tenacity. “I told them when I didn’t win season 2, ‘I will choreograph for this show one day,’ and they gave me the chance to come back season 5, and I just took every opportunity and ran with it.” He says that the Dance team is like a family and jokes that he hopes that he has “made Papa Lythgoe proud.”

Wall’s duties on Step Up 4 conclude Nov. 1. After that, he’s mounting a theater show in Los Angeles and working on a reality show about launching a dance company. He also hopes to return to SYTYCD next season. “I had two more amazing routines in my back pocket. I was saving the best for last,” he teases. For Wall, the sky is the limit. “I didn’t think I’d ever be a judge. I didn’t think Nigel would consider me. But I had to swallow my words,” he says. He’s certainly game for another shot at another Emmy nod: “At this point, I’m like, ‘Now what?’ Maybe I’ll co-host with Cat [Deeley]!”

Read more:
EW’s ‘SYTYCD’ recaps
Melanie LaPatin on ‘SYTYCD': Sasha is ‘a moving work of art’
Mary Murphy on ‘SYTYCD': Sometimes it pays to be daring; sometimes not.

Comments (114 total) Add your comment
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  • Brian

    Co-Host with Cat Deeley? That gurl is amazing; she doesn’t need any help.

    • graeme

      Amen.

    • jen

      ITA! I would not want to see a co-host either. Cat is perfect on her own.

    • Meg

      I am pretty sure he was joking . . .

    • w

      He was joking, guys…

    • wudo yang

      gujrik voi[pop

  • nicole

    I love Travis, but no mention of Sahsa. How dare he?

    • Marko

      Sasha is awful.

      • Winnie50

        I think he didn’t mention Sasha because he didn’t work with her personally. Also, I’m guessing he didn’t get along with her. She stricks me as a pretty self-centered person and probably hasn’t made many friends on the show, regardless of how talented she is. Just sayin’.

      • Eaton

        He did work with her…. before the statue dance there was one he choreographed with Sasha and Alexander to a Sarah Mclachlan song. In a previous article (basically saying the same thing about his hope that the best dancer win) he does mention Sasha somewhat.

      • ger

        Winnie50 “strikes” me as someone who is petty and judgmental and probably hasn’t made any friends in cyber-land nor in real life.

        Oh sorry, I was “just sayin'”.

    • Skye

      She’s not bad, but her dance with Melanie illustrated how much better Melanie is.

  • Mimi

    Love watching him dance, love his choreography, love him as a judge, wish he could have danced with Melanie…that would have been amazing!!

    • s-k-s

      Ugh. The show is not Nigel/Travis private fiefdom. At least Travis is open about how they manipulate for their favorites.

      Melanie is a beautiful dancer, but the favoritism she has been shown all season really bugs.

      • Aprilcot26

        At least the favoritism is warranted…if they’re favoring the dancer with the most talent, that’s fine by me.

      • ab

        Yes Melanie completely deserves the favortism. I knew she’d win when I saw her audition. But some of you are saying they completely ignored Sasha. Yea in this article Travis didn’t mention her but so what? Nigel LOVED Sasha throughout the show.

    • Kev

      Melanie is without question the most talented and beautiful dancer that I have ever seen on SYTYCD. What an actress as well. Remember Lady GaGa’s comments, “You are my favorite and I would hire you tomorrow,,,,,”it doesn’t get any better than that!

  • Anne

    He totally ignores Sasha. She’ll probably win.

    • Just sayin

      Perhaps the fact that he doesn’t mention her is telling.

  • Kel

    Travis Wall is the man! His talent and charm are unending! Can’t wait to see more of his work!

  • Irv

    I don’t know, I’m not a big fan of sasha. I think she’s a good dancer not great.

    • allie

      Sasha is a VERY good dancer, but if she wins, it will be because of her back story… which has happened before. It happened with Joshua winning over Katee and it happened with Travis and Benji (even though I totally voted for Benji!!) Technically, Melanie is the very best of the best on that stage.

      • Ames

        What back story? That she has a sister?

      • Zach

        No, if she wins, it’ll be because people prefer her powerful, expressive dancing.

      • Eaton

        Well now there is a story emerging that she entered the competition to give the cash prize away to charity or something…

  • sms

    Melanie for the win, but think the final four is great this year. I think Sasha is not as strong a dancer as the others – which is why she was not mentioned. She has had some great routines, but some so so ones as well.

  • jen

    I’m pulling for Melanie as well. She’s an amazing dancer – absolutely mesmerizing.

  • Mary Jo

    So glad you appreciate Tadd also. I spotted him on Day 1 with his flashing smile and athletic yet lyrical dancing style. He is able to convey a lot of emotion in his dancing. I knew he would go far. He connects with his partners and shows an amazing grace in his style.

  • Chris

    I fell in love with Melanie the first time I saw her on the show. She is amazing and deserves to win. Travis Wall is awesome and I can’t wait for him to come back next season.

    • Joann

      I am so happy that Travis has grown as a choreographer. I am a bit disappointed that we won’t be seeing him in tonight’s finale, but knowing that he’s doing a movie and so many other things, it’s great! He was my favorite dancer in season 2 and I love watching him dance!!

  • Shelly

    Judges should keep their mouth shut in the press before the finale has even taken place and the voting starts. Inappropritate for a judge to predict/solicit the winner. May the best person win, but when Travis’s status changed to judge, he was put into another league. And… I really like Travis.

    • TayMads

      Travis has only judged ONE time. He is not a permanent judge just like he stated in the article. He is a choreographer. I really don’t think he will judge a second time. If that was the case he would have already. I don’t think what he says will affect the vote and besides I agree with him. Melanie has always been my favorite and I am glad he said the best dancer should win because she IS the best dancer.

      • rentagoodbook

        Agree. If he was going to be a judge again, I’m sure he wouldn’t have gone out and specified Melanie as his favorite in the media. Although I completely agree with him!

      • Eaton

        But honestly he didn’t say anything here that he didn’t say on the judging panel. When on the show he clearly stated that Melanie was by far his favorite… just like other judges.

    • ger

      Yeah, god forbid a judge should actually, well, judge.

    • Sandy

      It makes no difference what the judges say. America votes for who they want. I assume you didn’t watch America Idol this year. Every judge every week were pushing the girls and every week Scotty was safe until he won the competition. America can think for themselves.

  • Ronnie

    I love the Top 4 this season, so no matter who wins I am sure they’ll all go on to great things.

  • Here & There

    I totally agree with Travis. Melanie is by far the best dancer. She is the complete performer. Sasha is a good dancer, but limited. I’ve said this before, but when Sasha had the paso doble, Sasha could not dance as the female. Sasha can’t dance “soft” or complementary to the matador as the paso doble requires. So, the choreographer changed it so there were 2 matadors. That was wrong. If Sasha failed as the “cape” then that shows Sasha’s limitations. We also saw Sasha’s failings in the quick step. But, the judges were raving about everyone’s dances and did not accurately critique anyone. Sasha is a powerful dancer, but can’t perform the tender routines. Melanie can do it all and deserves to win. Travis didn’t want to trash Sasha, so he just did not mention her.

    • Zach

      But Melanie’s dance *personality* isn’t as versatile as Sasha’s. Melanie is great, and I’m not *necessarily* saying she shouldn’t win over Sasha, but since when does the best dancer win?

      • TayMads

        I agree with your statement whole heartedly. The whole reason why people think Sasha is the better dancer is because Sasha’s dances have not been versatile enough. They constantly give her something she can do easily instead of challenging her. I would like to see Sasha do hip hop but not lyrical hip hop, hardcore popping and threading hip hop. She hasn’t done that yet and when she has done something that is a bit of a challenge, she doesn’t do extremely well. She is good but not fantastic and memorable. I agree with what you said about the paso doble. That is completely true. Sasha is a very powerful dancer and talented but she isn’t graceful or gentle like Melanie who can do everything.

      • Eaton

        Well I think that’s what Travis is trying to say… The best dancer has historically not been the winner, but he would like this season to be different.

      • Skye

        Wrong. No other dancer assumes the role she/he is playing in a dance better than Melanie. No one.

    • Justyce

      Sasha has been challenged WAY more than Melanie!! Did melanie do a whacking routine? No, she wouldn’t have done it well. Sasha and Melanie are both amazing but I think Sasha should win because she has the most heart when she dances out of everyone on this season! And to people saying Sasha is self centered and hasn’t made any friends…She has made friends with everyone on the show! You must not see her tweets on twitter.

      • Tara

        Sasha didn’t do the whacking routine well, but I don’t think that was necessarily her fault. Sasha can dance any dance that involves her dominance, but she’s not as versatile as the judges make her out to be. She can’t do sexy, she can’t do vulnerable, she can’t do ballroom, her legs are never straight or together. In every way (technically, personality-wise, emotionally, versatility, humility, passionately) Melanie is better.

      • Nita

        Tara…I disagree Sasha did sexy just last night in the season performace finale and she was lovely! I adore both Marko and Tadd but the final two for me have been Melanie and Sasha for awhile now. Whacking tripped up both Sasha and her male partner and Disco last night tripped up Marko which in turn tripped up Melanie, all four of them have had routines they’ve stumbled on. On that note I have to say my very favorite has been and is Melanie…I think it was Christina Applegate who said to one of them (can’t remember which) “you break my heart”. That’s how I feel about Melanie..she is so moving and her solo last night made me cry.

        The thing about this show…I adore these Kids!! All of them have moved me at one time or another and I always feel sad when one is voted off starting around top 10. I wish them all the best…thank them for a wonderful season and go Melanie!!! :)

    • Mak

      I don’t know what show you’ve been watching but Sasha is far more versatile than Melanie. The Paso Doble was not changed because she couldn’t do soft it was changed to show something different. And Melanie’s hip hop routine, she totally got out danced by Twitch. She was very stiff and lacked rythm. Sasha has proven she can do anything and yet all anyone can see is Melanie and her short stubby legs. Really? Travis didn’t mention Sasha because he would never have the strength to dance with Sasha. She would totally out dance him, but he could dance with Melanie because she never out dances anyone. Not that I’ve seen on that show so far. Our votes went to Sasha and she will win and all of you will be so upset by this. As if any of you will get the money or contracts that the winner gets.

      • Justyce

        @Mark I agree with 100% Sasha is bar far a better dancer than Melanie! Sasha did a sexy routine last night and killed it. Melanie doesn’t show as much amotion when she dances as Sasha. I voted the entire two hours for Sasha! I hope she wins!

      • Jessica

        lmao. Sasha got her ass handed to her, so I guess that shows that your opinion isn’t the same as the majority…time to eat your words.

  • Gregoire

    I’m pulling for Sasha. I feel she is a more passionate and emotional dancer than Melanie.

  • jets

    Really exctied to hear he’s choreographing for Step Up 4. The last two Step Up’s have been ALL hip hop. With him and Kathryn involved, it could become right up there with one of the best dance movies ever!

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