Last Monday’s So You Think You Can Dance season finale saw stage dancer Gaby Diaz crowned as America’s Favorite Dancer over street dancer Jaja Vankova.
The reality series underwent a dramatic overhaul in its 12th season as the traditional format was changed to pit classically trained dancers against performers with street dancing experience. The show also introduced pop article Jason Derulo as a formal member of the judging panel and brought in former SYTYCD competitors Travis Wall and tWitch as coaches for the stage and street teams.
At the finale, I had the opportunity to catch up with the winner herself, Gaby Diaz.
We chatted about a variety of subjects including whether she thought she was going to win. We also chatted about how the unstated theme of this season was one of resilience. Gaby shared what Nigel Lythgoe said to her after the show (as the show’s executive producer has always said that he wanted to see a tap dancer earn the title of America’s Favorite Dancer). I asked her if she felt like tappers are stereotyped with some fans of the show believing that they might not be able to pick-up the choreography as quickly as the others. She also admitted that she hadn’t really referred to herself as ‘America’s Favorite Dancer’ yet but was humbled by the title. Finally, in carrying the tradition of previous So You Think You Can Dance winners teaching me a dance move, Gaby shows me how to whip. Hilarity ensues.
Murtz Jaffer is the world's foremost reality television expert and was the host of Reality Obsessed which aired on the TVTropolis and Global Reality Channels in Canada. He has professional writing experience at the Toronto Sun, National Post, TV Guide Canada, TOROMagazine.com and was a former producer at Entertainment Tonight Canada. He was also the editor at Weekendtrips.com.