Travis Wall has been a contestant, choreographer and guest judge on So You Think You Can Dance. In this exclusive interview, Wall tells About.com's Diane Anderson-Minshall who should win this season (and who should have won Season Two when Wall came in second) and how it feels to get an Emmy nod for his work with SYTYCD. Wall also offers his advice to the Season Eight finalists--and to dancers who dream of making it on the reality dance competition.
Congratulations on your 2011 Emmy nomination for your work on So You Think You Can Dance! How does it feel to get that kind of recognition?
It's indescribable. I think it's a little crazy, but that's just because I don't ever expect anything out of the show. I've worked for everything I do every day. And in no way can I say I worked for an Emmy nomination. It just came out of nowhere. I can't describe how it feels to not just be in the same class as the other nominees this year; but in the same class as previous nominees: Wade Robson, Rob Marshall, etc. We're talking about geniuses and my inspirations here. It's just crazy. I am so thankful!
What was your favorite routine on SYTYCD Eight?
I would have to say Tyce's recent group routine (I believe it was the circus one). I loved it. To be honest, I haven't really watched recent episodes because I've been crazy busy rehearsing [2012's] Step Up 4. And usually by the time you get to the Top 10, the best routines come out. But I'm a sucker because I'm so proud of this routine. My "Statue" routine will always have such a special place in my heart!
You've said that Melanie Moore should win Season Eight. Is that still your opinion?
Absolutely! Not taking anything away from the other contestants in the Top 4; because cause honestly I would love for any of them to take it and they all deserve it. And you would never hear me say that about any other season--so that's saying a lot. [Melanie]'s just a league above the rest. Haven't seen a weakness in her yet. And she will go down with the greats of the show. The Danny Tidwells, the Allison Holkes, the Jaimie Goodwins. Next season they will say to a new contestant, "you could possibly go down in history with the Melanie Moores."
You've said if Melanie does win it would be the first time the best dancer in the competition won. That must mean you think the past winners weren't actually the best SYTYCD dancers? Why do you think the results turn out that way?
It varies. The best dancer sometimes isn't always so obvious in the beginning of the season. It's usually never revealed until right before the finale. But there is always the underdog that America learns to love and they usually win the show--the dark horse. That's why Cat [Deeley] constantly repeats, "America's Favorite Dancer," because in most situations, it's not! And from the beginning of this season it was pretty obvious; and not only to us on the back end of the show--producers, judges, choreographers etcetera--that Melanie was the best dancer. Just rooting for the best dancer this time, that's all!
This week all eyes will be on the winner of So You Think You Can Dance Season Eight. What words of wisdom do you have for the other finalists?
There is life after SYTYCD--if you have a goal. The show doesn't hand you anything, it's up to you. And you don't have to win. If you would have said to me five years ago this month that, when Cat announced Benji [Schwimmer]'s name as the winner of Season Two, to not worry about not winning 'cause I will be nominated for an Emmy five years from now, I would have thought you needed to be put on medication. There are more important things than just being named America's Favorite Dancer. I am living proof!