USMagazine, Wednesday, September 19, 2012, 6:30am (PDT)
Eliana Girard and Chehon Wespi-Tschopp danced off with a cash prize of $125,000 each Tuesday when they were crowned the first-ever co-champions of FOX's So You Think You Can Dance. (Among the many changes to Season 9's format included the decision to name a male and female winner.)
Earning top honors after months of competing as part of season 9's top 20, Girard, 21, and Wespi-Tschopp, 23, who are both ballet dancers, will also appear on the cover of Dance Spirit Magazine.
"What I have imagined winning would feel like was like winning the lottery," West Palm Beach, Fla. performer Girard -- who has also trained as a pole dancer -- said after her win. "I hoped for it every single day and when it actually happened I felt like my life was complete. Whatever happens afterwards doesn't matter because all my dreams have come true!"
Wespi-Tschopp was equally as thrilled with his victory. "It is a truly special ending to my journey, far beyond anything that I thought possible," the Zurich, Switzerland native said. "It gives me a great sense of accomplishment that all the hard work that I've put in since starting ballet at 13 was completely worth it."
Girard and Wespi-Tschopp -- both heavily lauded by judge and executive producer Nigel Lythgoe as his favorite dancers this season -- beat out fellow top 4 finalists jazz dancer Tiffany Maher and Cyrus Spencer (a self-taught hip-hop animator) for this season's titles.
The season 9 champs will join their fellow top 10 contestants -- Maher, Spencer, Cole Horibe, Witney Carson, Will Thomas, Lindsay Arnold, George Lawrence, Jr., and Audrey Case -- for a 30-city So You Think You Can Dance Tour kicking off October 23 in San Diego.