Allison Holker Talks Her ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Finale ‘Chandelier Dress’ and Grocery Shopping in a Ballgown

Allison Holker has spent much of her adult life on the set of Fox’s hit reality competition series, “So You Think You Can Dance.” The former contestant and all-star now sits on the show’s judging panel alongside newcomers Maksim Chmerkovskiy and JoJo Siwa.

For the 18th season finale of “SYTYCD,” Holker selected a rhinestoned Mew Mews halter gown, metallic Christian Louboutin pumps and Melinda Maria jewelry. Speaking to WWD, the Emmy-nominated dancer and choreographer reveals the inspiration behind her finale look, her thoughts on the show’s updated format and why costumes are “an integral part” of any performance.

More from WWD

WWD: What do you think sets this season of “SYTYCD” apart?

Allison Holker: For me, what was so incredible about “So You Think You Can Dance” this season is we really changed the format, and we went a completely different course. I know that can be alarming to people, but sometimes things need to evolve and change with the times.

I think what the show has done is brought such an appreciation to dancers, and the work that’s done that people might have not understood when you see people in television and film and music videos, a lot of the time all people see is the finished product, but they don’t see all the work put in and the show really did a great job of showing that and also allowing you to really get to know the contestants on a more intimate level.

Maksim Chmerkovskiy, host Cat Deeley, Allison Holker and JoJo Siwa, Fox, So You Think You Can Dance
Maksim Chmerkovskiy, host Cat Deeley, Allison Holker and JoJo Siwa.

WWD: Describe what the energy is like going into the finale, and how the experience differs from when you were a contestant on the show.

A.H.: Going to the finale was wild, it just brought me back to all these incredible memories that I had. Most of all, I just remember feeling so proud of myself for putting myself out there when I was first a contestant. I didn’t know what the show was going into everything. When I was in the finale for the first time, I remember being like, “Wow. I really took a chance on myself and went with it and rolled with it and had this incredible experience, and I learned so much.” Now sitting on the judges’ panel, watching these contestants, it brought me back to that moment of like, I hope they had that same feeling of success for themselves. I hope that they see their work was seen by so many people and they can be proud of it. It kind of made me feel like a mama bird almost. I hope they had that same feeling I had, where it was just such a magical experience and something that changed the entire trajectory of my life that I was so grateful for.

WWD: Tell us about your look for the finale and what inspired it.

A.H.: I loved my dress. We’re gonna call it the chandelier dress. I’m a dancer — put me in rhinestones and simmer and gleam. I wanted to just shine because, for me, I’m a judge up there and so my role has changed. But in my heart, I’m still a performer. I just wanted to make sure when I was sitting up there that it almost brought me back to all the different performances I’ve had where I just loved the glitz and glamour.

Allison Holker on the season 18 finale of "So You Think You Can Dance," Mew Mews, rhinestoned dress, Christian Louboutin
Allison Holker on the season 18 finale of “So You Think You Can Dance.”

WWD: Do you take what contestants wear into account while judging?

A.H.: I believe the costume is as important as the performance. Your performance can change everything, but the costume can also change everything, and people don’t always think that. People are like, “Oh, I want to see the good dancing or I want to see the performance, the storytelling, the emotion.” But if you have a bad costume, it’s an eyesore.

I don’t think people realize as performers, when you’re looking at musical arts, when you’re watching people on tour, when you’re watching award shows, when you’re watching a music video, when you’re watching dancers on a dance show, the costumes are so well thought out. People are sewn into their costumes, people are taped into their costumes, because you don’t want stuff to fall out. You don’t want things flying at the cameras. If you’re rolling on the floor, you don’t want something to get you stuck to the floor. So it’s really, really crucial to think of the little details of what you’re wearing.

WWD: You’ve said you love glitz and glamour — do you remember the first time you wore something that made you feel truly glamorous on stage?

A.H.: When I was a contestant on “SYTYCD,” I was like freshly 18. I was so innocent. I was the youngest on the show. I think it was week four, I got an Argentine tango, which by the way, is one of the sexiest dances that there is. They put me in this fire red costume and it had rhinestones on it. I performed so differently than I’ve ever performed before. When I put that costume on, I just never felt that way before. It almost made me have like an alter ego. It transformed me. It was an experience that I’ll never forget. I didn’t think I’d have a moment like that in front of millions of people, but here we are.

Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Allison Holker and JoJo Siwa on the season 18 finale of "So You Think You Can Dance," Fox, Christian Louboutin, rhinestoned dress, Mew Mews
Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Allison Holker and JoJo Siwa on the season 18 finale of “So You Think You Can Dance.”

WWD: How has being a dancer impacted your personal style?

A.H.: I’m not scared of taking risks with outfits. My daughter always brings up this specific day to her friends that was really, really funny. She was in fifth grade and it was just a regular day. I wasn’t even working this day or coming from set or anything like that. But I picked her up, and she was traumatized. She was like, “You looked like Cinderella picking me up. What were you even doing today?” And I was like, “Just grocery shopping, running some errands.” I was in a full ballgown and I wasn’t even fazed by it. But she was like, “Mom, people don’t look like this on a regular day.” As a performer or a dancer, I love being in this stuff. So it just felt like another outfit to me.

The season finale of “SYTYCD” premieres Monday on Fox at 9 p.m. ET.

Best of WWD