'SYTYCD' favorite Alex Wong talks injury and early exit: 'I just feel like my journey -- I wasn't really finished.'

alex-wongImage Credit: Mathieu Young/Fox There was a reason we called him Alex Freaking Wong. This season, So You Think You Can Dance boasted a dancer who not only wowed us with his skills, but melted our hearts with his lovable personality. Sadly, Wong’s journey came to an end last night, when he revealed a lacerated Achilles tendon would keep him from continuing his journey on the SYTYCD stage. Just hours after his elimination, a sad, but hopeful, Wong rang up EW to chat about the injury, whether he’s coming back next season, and, of course, that nickname.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How’s it going?
ALEX WONG:
I’m okay.

Everyone is really upset. But you seemed zen about it last night. You were sad, but grateful too.
Yea, it’s been an amazing journey, and I’m so grateful to even be here in the first place, when I look at the big picture. It’s very hard, but I believe everything happens for a reason, and so I have to keep my head up high.

Are you feeling pain now?
It’s kind of ache-y. It depends what position I put it in. Right now it’s not ache-y, because I’ve got in a good position. But if I sit funny, it doesn’t feel great.

And you’re off it for three months, right?
I think so. I still need to talk to my surgeon, but yea. It’s going to be really, really tough. Oof. It’s going to be a long recovery.

It seems like this would be harder to swallow because this journey started so long ago for you — way back in season 5.
It’s so hard, just because I’m so close with the other contestants. More than ever, I wanted to be able to continue this journey with them. This experience in itself was just so amazing. I’m going to miss them so much. I have a new family here, and just to leave and leave it all behind — it’s such an awful feeling.

Are you headed back to Miami?
No. I’m going to get my surgery in L.A. And then I think I’m going to head to Vancouver for some rehab, probably. Because my aunt is there.

At least you have a little longer to hang out with everyone in L.A.?
I don’t know. I have to move out to other apartments. And their schedule is crazy. So I don’t know if I will be able to see them.

It was such an emotional week, what with your injury, and all the business between AdéChiké and Mia. Did things feel different for everyone this week, after so many positive weeks?
You know, I think from Tuesday night when I got injured — it was not a good moment. With everything changing, and it’s just — to hear the awful news, and, as I said, all the contestants are so close. So when one of us goes down, we feel it.

Especially since no one saw this coming. You can be humble about it, but you were one of the frontrunners. No one expected you to leave right now.
Things happen for a reason, and, you know, there’s nothing I can do about it. I came here to learn as much as I could in the time I had and was given. I learned so much and I’m so grateful for everything that has happened.

Are you going to go back to the Miami City Ballet after you finish recovery?
Right now, I really have no idea what I’m going to do. I’m confused, because I don’t know when I’m going to be back up and dancing. I don’t know. I would love to do the show again, so if I do the show again, I won’t be able to return to the Ballet, of course. So it’s a lot to think about.

You’re invited to Vegas next year. Is that something you are interested in? You want to come back?
Yea. I just feel like my journey — I wasn’t really finished. There’s still so much more that I could learn. To have it cut short just — it’s not a good feeling.

Was there someone you wanted to work with that you didn’t get the chance to?
I worked with such amazing choroegraphers. I worked with Mia Michaels, Sonya [Tayeh], Tyce [Diorio], and Tabitha and Napoleon [D’umo], and then I got to do Bollywood and Foxtrot this week, which no one got to see. But I just loved working with all the choreographers. And it’s been an absolute dream. It’s been so amazing.

You said you were really close with everyone. Was there someone in particular that you became really close with?
I’m closest with Kent. He’s my best friend. We met day one, and we’ve been supporting each other the whole way. It’s crazy, you know? We were in Vegas together, and it’s funny because we became best friends and were like, “It would be awesome if we both made the show.” And we did. He’s one of my roomates. I also room with Jose and Robert. They’re the best people ever. And I have a new family here. It’s very sad to say goodbye.

And Kent was the one who coined your nickname, Alex Freaking Wong.
[Laughs] Yea, what a geek.

Are people calling you that?
Yea, sometimes. I’ve heard it a lot. Someone said, “Are you going to officially change your name on your documents?”

And the answer is?
YES! [Laughs]

Are people coming up to you when you’re off-set? A lot of fans with kind words?
Honestly, I really haven’t had a chance to really step outside. Last night we did step outside. Some of us went to IHOP. People recognized us. It’s nice to have the support, because i’m going to go through a hard time. It’s going to be rough.

What is the general feeling about the judge’s panel this season? It seems like they’re harsher towards some folks.
I always, always, always appreciate the criticism. Really, I appreciate criticism from anyone. If someone sees it, that means many other people see it too.It doesn’t necessarily mean you need to take it so harsh that you throw yourself on the floor, right? But all criticism is important. Just take what you can from it, and make yourself a better dancer. If you can take it constructively, no matter how it’s said, it’s going to make you a better dancer and a better person.

What was one moment that stuck out for you this season? If you had to pick one?
There were so many. But I guess finishing my hip-hop routine and hearing that reaction [from the audience], which I would have never expected.

You did dance two of the best dances this season: The Hallelujah routine, and the hip-hop number. That’s got to feel good, no matter how rough it might be to have to bow out early.
Like I said, I’m so grateful to have even been given the opportunity to dance. That the judges liked [my dancing] — wow. Even better, you know?

Did all the contestants know last night that you were out for the count during the results show?
Yea, pretty much. [I got injured] Tuesday night, and I was in the emergency room. They had been doing rehearsal, and I called Kent and everyone and I told them that my Achilles was torn in half. They all kind of knew from there that I wasn’t going to continue and everyone started crying. We’re all so close, and when any one of us falls, it affects all of us.

And your fans are broken-up about it too. People commenting on our website say they were bawling watching you leave. People really hope you come back next year!
Thank you, me too. I want to thank all my fans and people that supported me and made this possible and kept me on the show. It’s been the most amazing journey for me. Even though this injury [happened], I’m so grateful to even have this opportunity in the first place.


Comments (174 total) Add your comment
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  • Nee Nee

    Suck suck suck! That’s all I could say after watching the show last night. He was the contestant I was rooting for. I’m not all that interested in any of the others. I think I’m more interested in the all-stars than the contestants left on the show.

    • starbbycat

      kind of agree with you – Alex was a STAR – soooo good and low key about it – love love love Alex!

  • Felicity

    Loved Alex since S5, so sad to see him go but what a really humble and great person he is (on top of his obvious dance skillz). Hope he comes back – and shouldn’t he be able to skip Vegas and make top 10 (or 20 if they go back to that) automatically?

    • Andrea

      I agree!!!!!

      • Alyssa

        I completely agree with you Felicity! He should be able to skip auditions and go straight to Vegas!

    • Stephanie

      As nice as that would be, a lot can happen in a year. For example, as doubtful as this is, there could end up being 10(or 20) people who are actually better than him. Like I said, that’s doubtful, but look what happened to Katee’s roommate. She would have been on the show if Katee hadn’t, and when she came back the next season, she didn’t make it. Alex will have to prove that he still deserves it.

      • mscisluv

        Katee’s roommate (the redhead, can’t remember her name) didn’t make it because she is unattractive. I am not saying that to insult her, but that is the nature of television, and it is clearly why she wasn’t picked to be part of the Top 20.

    • OMGq

      I hope they don’t let him back on – it would be 1,000,000,000,000% unfair to any other contestant in the next season because of A) the judges favortism towards him during this season and B) the fact that he already has an established fan base from being in people’s living rooms for the past 8 or so weeks. I know if I were a new contestant and they plunked Alex down next to me I’d quit. It sucks he had to leave early but guess what – life sucks sometimes. Let him be an All-Star and call it a day.

      • Lexa

        Going by that philosophy, Billy Bell should not have been allowed to come back Season 7. Although his fan base seems to have disappeared…

      • Courtney

        It’s not really the same. Billy never actually competed. He got sick after they did the introductory Top 20 show. Alex has been ON the show for weeks now, with the into packages and dances to grow a fan base.

      • GracieXDoes

        Seriously?!?! It doesn’t matter when he dances, if he is the best he will get votes. If not, he won’t. People are fickle. I think he would have been the winner if allowed to continue, but next year, really, who knows. I hope he will still be as great because that will show true talent, but if he’s not, I won’t automatically vote for him. It doesn’t do a talent justice to receive sympathy votes.

      • Michael

        Life isn’t fair. Get over it.

        And, marry me Alex.

      • OMGq

        EXACTLY Michael – life isn’t fair – Alex got injured and can’t compete so they shouldn’t let him back on next year. He had his chance and it didn’t work out. Get over him being on the show.

      • Saracen Riggins

        I’m in complete agreement with OMGq. And no disrespect toward Alex, he’s great. But it’s just unfair. And it is different from Billy (who I am NOT a fan of). He didn’t get to compete last year, so that was a bit more acceptable. Another point, when Jessica from season 4 had to leave, they didn’t invite her to return to the show again. Didn’t care for her at all, and I do for Alex. So clearly, I just think the principal of it all is very unfair.

      • Jason

        do you really think shows like SYTYCD and American Idol are really fair. Please…they do what they do to get the best possible ratings. If Alex was to come on next season, they will milk that for all it is worth and of course he will be in the top 10 or 20. As you folks said…life isn’t fair but that is what TV is all about.

      • TK

        If you’re gonna quit just because Alex is dancing on the same stage with you then you might as well as don’t dance in your whole life as well. I believe the judges will agree here cause what you’re saying makes me believe that you’re only looking to win a competition without a challenge.

        As you may ask “Will Lauren still be the winner at season7 if Alex’s going all the way without the injury?” The my answer is maybe. There’s no definite answer to this cause it didn’t happened this way, but the thing for sure is Alex’s performance has just push other dancers over their own limits as well. If Alex didn’t get injured, I believe we would have watched some better dancing from the remaining dancers.

    • Alan of Montreal

      I think it really depends on what condition he’s in. 3 months off training is a long time for a dancer, and that’s not even counting the extra re-hab I’m sure he’ll have to do after the three months. His muscles will have atrophied significantly because they’re so built up and used to regular training. I think it would be more realistic for him to return the season after that.

      speaking of Katee’s roommate (Jessica?), I’m surprised she hasn’t returned yet. I know her being booted out early the 2nd season she tried out was a bit of a bummer, but I was hoping she would come back and try out again. She was amazing, and I think the judges were unduly harsh on her for one mediocre dance during the auditions. Also, I wish they would have re-install the rotating judges format. with a set panel of judges, you get the sense that they’ve all made up their minds. I also wish that it was based solely on fan voting since it is just a top 11. And I still miss the old stage.

    • Karen

      I agree, BUT there is camaraderie built during that week of hell that he would miss out on, plus it might make the others as well as future Alexes feel “non-preferred.” Also, everyone needs to see that he is completely rehabbed and still competitive. And, Alex, kiss Ed Villela & Miami goodbye. ABT & the NYC Ballet will be coming after you!

    • starbbycat

      As much as I love Alex – I hope he doesnt come back – it will be anticlimatic — I hope he has many wonderful doors open for him over the next year.

    • Lexie

      Who cares if its fair or not…I just want to see him dance more

      • Mary

        Me too! I watch the show to see great dances. It is also about ratings so they will bring him back.

  • Sarah El

    Ahhh Alex Freaking Wong, you are pure wonder. I hope his recovery goes speedily and well and I also hope he makes it back onto the SYTYCD stage again next season! Third time’s the charm, right? Regardless, he has such grace and poise, both on and off the dance floor. Now I need a new favorite to win!

    • FLGRL

      I shall assign your new favorite: it’s Kent!

  • Julz

    You could definitely tell last night that he and Kent had become good friends. In a way I hope he comes back next year because I just wanted to watch him dance but he could also move on from this and do so many things. I wish him the best.

  • Bobby’s Robot

    He’s an extraordinary dancer and it was a pleasure to watch him each week. He has an amazing career ahead of him – I just hope we get to see some of it.

  • Kate

    NOOOOOOOO! I thought for once the best dancer might actually win SYTYCD. He was superb, and my fave. Well, things just got a lot easier for the other competitors! Fingers crossed he comes back and we get a full other season with him.

    • Maia

      I agree with you Kate; Alex is an amazing dancer and he thrilled me with his hip hop with Twitch – wow! I, too, have my fingers crossed that he comes back; also that his Achilles tendon heals completely – that’s a terrible injury for a dancer!

  • keith

    What a class act, will miss him dearly. I doubt he will come back next season as i think he would go back to the ballet company to start getting some income again.

  • Lidiane

    I’m from Brazil and I really love Alex and SYTYCD. Alex is in my prayers…I’m looking forward to watching him on the show again. He’s the best ever on SYTYCD. I won’t watch the program (this season) anymore.

  • beth

    i love that he and Kent are best friends. I wondered why he said Kent’s name last night as he was talking, but now I know why. I think I love them both that much more because they are best friends.
    Here’s to great and healthy recovery Alex! Stay positive!

    • Sally in Chicago

      They probably play “hide the salami” together. Just sayin…

      • AaronT

        I was thinking it’s more likely that they both WANT to play that game with each other, but haven’t got up the courage to admit it (to themselves or each other).

      • me

        What a gross expression. True or not, it’s none of our business.

      • yawn

        How juvenile of you. Just sayin’…

      • sally-ohio

        do you know kent well enough to say that? i new kent before he was famous. and you got that all wrong

      • godzkid

        I can’t believe that people would make inappropriate comments like this especially if you don’t know them personally or there sexual orientation. It is just wrong for such a gross comment!

      • Me

        Oh Please. Can we get past this stereotype that a male dancer is probably gay?

        As previously mentioned, it is none of our business.

      • daniel

        “Can we get past this stereotype that a male dancer is probably gay?”

        I think he’d need to get past the strong lisp and acting like a girl. What’s the problem with being gay? I am, but I don’t have the nerve to be as obvious as guys like Alex. Good for him!

  • orville

    I’ve been stunned and awed by his talent since the moment I saw him first audition. Whatever he decides to do, he’s going to have a very bright future. He’s truly amazing.

  • Ceballos

    He’s incredible and he made me rewind that NapTab hip-hop routine three times while I was watching the show live, not to mention all the times I’ve watched it online. It’s a damn shame he got hurt, but he’s already left an indelible impact on this show, in my opninion (moreso than some winners, I’d say).

  • CarolH

    Loved watching Alex dance..will pray that the surgery goes well and that Alex will be back dancing whether it be with a dance company or SYTYCD..may your future be whatever it is you want it to be Alex..we will certainly miss you!!!

  • Jenn

    Is there an address where we can send him get well cards during his recovery?

  • ger

    I live in Vancouver, and I’ve got a lot of free time. If you need any help with the rehab … well … call me.

  • steph

    Hope he comes back next year… Third time’s a charm!

    He’s so amazing, the show just won’t be the same without him on there. The excitement is gone for me, tbh.

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