Neil Haskell was undoubtedly this season’s heartthrob on So You Think You Can Dance, but he takes it all in stride. He grew up doing musical theater, which explains why he shined in performance like the angel/devil piece and the dueling princes. While the fans speculated over whether Lacey Schwimmer and Kameron Bink or Jessi Peralta and Pasha Kovalev were dating, Haskell’s name never came up and he lets us know why. He made it to the final four but was eliminated, ending up in third place. With no regrets, he looks to the future and the upcoming nationwide tour. Today, Neil takes a quick break from his rehearsal to talk to BuddyTV.
Below, you will find the mp3 and complete transcript of the interview
Hey everybody, this is Gina from BuddyTV and I’m talking to Neil Haskell from So You Think You Can Dance. I think there’s a lot of girls out there that are jealous that I’m getting to talk to you today. What’s it been like for you, because every time you stepped onto the stage, the girls went ballistic. I can’t imagine that it had to be like that every day of your life.
No, that was definitely a new experience, but it was cool, it was exciting. Every time I got out there I got more excited to be dancing and I got a lot more adrenaline.
You had a rough time in the beginning with Lauren [Gottlieb], you guys kept ending up in the bottom and I could never understand why. What do you think was happening in the beginning?
We had a salsa and a tango and all that, and I don’t think either of us was really sure how to sell a ballroom dance to the audience in the beginning of the show. So we really had to pick it up or else we were gonna be going home.
I think your turning point was when you guys did the angel and devil piece. Do you prefer pieces like that when you really get to act and dance?
Oh yeah, of course. A piece like that, I feel that definitely broke me out of a little slump that I was in. So a piece like that, it’s just amazing because you can throw everything you want into that piece. You can dance it as hard as you can, you can act it as much as you want. You can throw whatever you feel into that piece. So that was a really fun piece of perform and I was really thankful that Wade [Robson] gave us a piece like that.
Had you ever acted or done musical theater before doing the show?
Yeah, absolutely. Actually, last summer I did my first professional musical theater job in Pittsburgh, I ended up doing four shows and was one of the leads in one of the shows, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, where I played one of the brothers. And last fall I actually performed on Broadway in a Twyla Tharp show.
Oh, that’s awesome.
Yeah, it was called The Times, They Are A-Changing, and that was definitely an amazing experience because the dancers I was dancing with were some of the best dancers in the world, really, they are amazing,
Since you’re turning point on the show from midseason on, I thought you played it so well. You’re a great dancer, you’ve got a great personality, and you’re a good looking guy too. But was that you the whole time, or was there a part of you thinking, ‘Oh gosh, I hope I’m funny enough so the audience votes for me’ or things like that?
No, that was all me right there. I wasn’t putting up any sort of front or anything. I got calls during the show from all my friends. And they were like, “You are ridiculous. You weren’t acting any different than you would in the normal would.” And they just thought it was awesome that I didn’t really change during the show and I just kept it the way I am. Because I feel like that’s what you have to do, you don’t want to be that fake on TV and afterwards have people realize how fake you were being.
When you were in the final four with Lacey [Schwimmer] and Danny [Tidwell] and Sabra [Johnson], how did you think the outcome was gonna come for you? Did you think you were gonna win it, or did you think somebody else was going to?
I had no idea. I was hoping I would, but when it came down to it, I kind of figured it was gonna come down to either Danny or Sabra. I was really happy for Sabra when she won. She put everything into this competition, and she kicked butt, really.
Was there something in the season that really stood out for you as a favorite moment or a highlight for you?
I really liked dancing the disco. It ended up being one of my favorites, along with the angel/devil dance.
I think you guys had a week off since the finale or a little more, what did you do and how did you just relax before coming back for rehearsals?
I actually went to Pittsburgh and hung out with my girlfriend for the week and we ended up driving up to Buffalo where my hometown is and seeing all my friends. Then we drove back to Pittsburgh and just really relaxed bcause I was so exhausted.
I can imagine. And the girlfriend, that explains why nobody was talking about you having s ‘showmance’ all season. Everybody else had a little bit of talk about who they were dating and your name never came up.
Yeah, I stayed away from all that because I have a girlfriend.
You’re a smart guy. What can we look forward to on the tour from you. Is there anything you can tell us, something that we can get excited about?
They haven’t told us what dances we’re doing yet. Definitely I’ll come out with my best stuff every single night. Most people are only gonna see the tour once, so I want to make it the best possible for everybody.
Yeah, it’s a pretty grueling pace, so much in such a short amount of time. Is everybody prepared for getting back on that grueling schedule?
Yeah, well, we started yesterday, I think we went from 10-6:30ish yesterday. The schedule’s about to get almost as grueling as the show except for we’ll actually have a day off now. I think everybody’s definitely ready to be back in this, ready to start working hard again.
I just wanted to thank you so much for your time.
Thank you very much.
– Gina Scarpa, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image courtesy of FOX)