In last night’s two-hour finale of So You Think You Can Dance — which featured a ton of self-adulating nonsense, live performances by Ciara and Fergie, and plenty of shots of not-unattractive host Cat Deeley (below) — swing dancer Benji Schwimmer, 22, was finally crowned America’s favorite dancer.
His prize? A cool $100,000 in cash, a hybrid SUV, and a contract to star in Celine Dion’s show in Las Vegas. That’s it? Don’t the winners of American Idol get a million bucks and a record deal? Can’t Nigel Lythgoe (Idol and SYTYCD producer) This kid dances his ass off and gets Celine Dion? Granted he’s got Cat Deeley’s arm around him in this pic, but still!
Dion made an appearance at the end of the show, congratulating the dancer via satellite. But in an interview with Us Magazine last week, Benji said that even if he emerged on top, he’d considering passing on the offer to focus on acting.
US: What would you do with the money?
BENJI: Give some to church, give some to my charity, spend a little bit and invest the rest. I have a charity called DEMAND which stands for Dancers Everywhere Making A Needed Difference. We work with underprivileged kids in Mexico and we also help other dancers out in the community who may have injured themselves and can’t support themselves. We get them back on their feet.
US: So would you take the Celine Dion job?
BENJI: [sings] “My heart will go oooonnnnn…” I think more than anything, if I was to have that offer, I would give it to one of [my cast mates] here and let them take it because they are the dancers fit to do that. We didn’t even know about the Celine Dion contract until we actually made the show so that was never my goal to receive a contract, my goal was to be on the show for the exposure, to be challenged as a dancer.
US: You guys haven’t heard from any celebrities about how they love the show have you?
BENJI: Tyce — that’s my choreographer — he is friends with Tobey Maguire and said that Tobey is a huge fan of the show and wants to do a dance movie. I couldn’t believe it. So I asked Tyce again and once again he’s like no I talked to him he’s dead serious…
US: How would you feel about doing a movie?
BENJI: I definitely want to get into acting. That’s without a doubt. I want to get into television and movies. When I was younger, I was doing a lot of commercials and I was on Full House.
US: You were on Full House?
BENJI: Reluctantly. I was 5 years old.
US: How is a 5-year-old reluctant?
BENJI: I am reluctant now because when I did it they dubbed my voice over, there was bad sound or something and some Chinese lady dubbed over my voice… it was stupid.