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