PopGoesTheNews.com • Travis Wall, a frequent choreographer on So You Think You Can Dance and season two runner-up, admits the show's gay competitors often feel pressure to flirt with host Cat Deeley or their female dance partners in order to earn votes from the largely teen-girl audience.
Wall, who had a boyfriend while he was on the show in 2006, says he was able to have chemistry with his dance partners but found it "stressful" talking about himself on the show. "I never had to put on a front ... but it's true that I wanted to be in the top 10, and I wanted to go all the way closer to the top, and maybe it's not necessary to come out and talk about that stuff when it's a dance competition," he told AfterElton.com. "It was me dancing, and maybe that's all you needed to know."
The winners of the first two seasons of SYTYCD — Nick Lazzarini and Benji Schwimmer — are gay but never talked about their sexuality on the show. Other male contestants, like last season's runner-up Kent Boyd, were portrayed as straight and single. (Asked by Deeley to describe his ideal woman, the 18-year-old replied: "Ummm someone that… like my mom… (or) Beyonce!")
Wall defends the dancers who appear to be playing coy. "Some of those contestants you think, 'Oh come on...' about — they actually don't know themselves until halfway through the show! And then they're like, 'I'm gay, oh shit!' There's a lot of people that have gone on that show that don't even know yet."
Wall famously choreographed an emotional same-sex dance for Boyd and Neil Haskell that was downplayed on air as being about best friends. Asked if the piece was inspired by he and an ex-lover, Wall told AfterElton.com: "I'm not going to go into it too deeply because ... I respect the person that I went through this with. And it was just the worst... you know, we had to part ways, and there was a lot of twisted things about it."
SYTYCD judge and executive producer Nigel Lythgoe has been accused of homophobia for allegedly discouraging gay contestants from being open on the show (and on his other competition show, American Idol). Lythgoe has denied the accusation, saying: "I’m never worried if anybody’s gay. What I don’t like on the dance show, to be frank, is effeminate boys that mince around the stage. I don’t care if they’re gay or straight. That’s got nothing to do with it for me."
Wall, 23, who has been dating champion gymnast Dom Palange for three months, is working on a reality show with Lazzarini. Wall can be seen next on the July 13th episode of SYTYCD.