So You Think You Can Dance just lost "one of the greatest dancers—if not the greatest dancer—to ever come through our stage."
That's what judge Mia Michaels told us last night about the exit of Alex Wong, this season's virtual winner (c'mon, everyone knows it) before he lacerated his Achilles tendon during rehearsals this week.
Read on to hear what else Mia (who also had some 'splainin' to do about AdéChiké), the other judges—and Alex himself—said after leaving the emotional gathering onstage.
Judge Adam Shankman (who should've been celebrating his dozen Emmy nominations) said everyone was "all so totally devastated"—partly because "Alex had just made a total breakthrough...Alex had set the bar so high on the show, it made everybody dance better. And now that Alex is gone, it is incredibly sad for him, but I also think it is incredibly sad for the other kids because he made them all better."
Even though Alex's injury could prove career ending, Nigel Lythgoe is hopeful he will return to SYTCD. Like Billy Bell, if Alex recovers, he'll be invited back to the Vegas auditions. "He's not completed a series, so he's not an All-Star yet. He's a star, [but] not an All-Star."
Despite his injury, Alex said he'd still "love to come back...I feel like I haven't finished my journey. I have so much more to learn."
Regarding Billy Bell, we've got a question for you, America: How did he end up in the bottom two last night—especially after his brilliant Cats Broadway number? (We're not buying Adam's theory that "a lot of cat allergies" are swaying the voting.) According to Nigel, "Billy Bell is a soloist, and he's asked to dance with a partner." "He's got to warm up and connect," added Adam.
As we suspected, however, the bottom two competition last night was nothing more than dramatic effect. "Once we knew that Alex wasn't able to compete," Adam said, the judges didn't even debate the dance for your life performances of Ashley and Billy—who, by the way, "just schooled us all," added Adam. "I had chills for both of them."
Not dancing for his life last night was AdéChiké, whose safety was a surprise after Mia virtually ripped him to shreds Wednesday. Mama Mia (who also received an Emmy nod yesterday) discussed her on-air apology—"I was harsh and sensitive"—with us backstage. "I saw in his energy that it broke him a little bit, and it was really important to me to rectify that because he's a good boy—he has a lot of potential. I think my frustration is because he has not yet stepped into his greatness [while] everybody else is growing, really rapidly."
Sadly, no matter how much the remaining dancers grow and improve, "the shadow of Alex Wong is always going to be hanging over every one of them," said Nigel.
"Whoever wins this year," he added, "people always say, 'Would they have won if Alex Wong was still in the competition?'"
Believe it or not, the show must go on. Rate the remaining dancers in our So You Think You Can Dance 7 gallery.