Viewer votes overwhelmingly awarded the pixie-haired 19-year-old college student from Marietta the title of “America’s Favorite Dancer” and the $250,000 cash prize. Moore bested fierce runner-up Sasha Mallory, 23, of Bakersfield, Calif., and powerful third-place finisher Marko Germar, 22, of Los Angeles.
“Thank you,” Moore told viewers while weeping under a confetti storm during the Fox dancing contest’s finale Thursday.
Moore picked up an impressive 47 percent of viewer votes, according to host Cat Deeley. The spirited contemporary dancer was long considered the eighth season’s front-runner, dominating the competition by mastering artful contemporary routines set to tunes such as Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and Ingrid Michaelson’s “Turn to Stone.”
The show’s judges never put Moore at the bottom of the pack.
For the first half of the final rounds, Moore was teamed with Germar. The duo impressed as dancing statues and grabbed attention with a smooch during a hip-hop routine.
Moore later wowed the panel on her own when she was paired with various veteran dancers during the second part of the finals.
“I would push myself to the front of the line to work with you,” director Kenny Ortega told her Wednesday.
Lassiter High School hosted a viewing party of the event on Thursday night. Rhonda Webb, who taught Melanie Moore history for two years, co-hosted the party with Moore’s dance studio, Rhythm Dance Center, in Lassiter’s gymnasium.
“Melanie is just fantastic,” Webb said.
“She is just an all-around excellent, excellent student. You name it, she can do it,” Webb said in a recent interview with the Journal. Webb also said that Moore was a “favorite to win” the show, which is in its eighth season on Fox. Of Melanie Moore making it to the final four, Becca Moore, co-owner of Rhythm Dance Center in Marietta said, “I am so excited … I can’t even explain how I feel, like I have perpetual butterflies.”
“Obviously, this has been so amazing.” Becca Moore said she had just wanted her student to have a good audition at the Fox Theater in Atlanta in February, not realizing how far she would go.
“It’s so surreal that she’s in the finale,” Becca Moore said. She and her studio partner, Dani Rosenberg, headed to L.A. on Tuesday night to watch their student of more than four years compete.
The Lassister cheerleaders and pep band, along with Rhythm Dance Center company dancers, kicked off the viewing party at 7 p.m. Moore won the dance competition, in addition to the cash prize Melanie Moore will get her photo on the front page of “Dance Spirit” magazine and a print ad as a spokesperson for Gatorade.
Melanie Moore will also travel the nation on tour with the top 10 dancers. The tour would bring Melanie Moore and nine other contestants to the Atlanta area on Sept. 20 at The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth.
The Marietta Daily Journal contributed to this report.