We knew he could. Miami dancer Ricky Ubeda is the grand winner of So You Think You Can Dance. The Coral Reef High School graduate, 18, was awarded the top prize of $250,000 on the finale of Fox’s reality TV competition on Wednesday night.
"It’s all just so shocking,” Ubeda, who has wanted to be on the show since he watched its first season at age 8, told the Herald Wednesday. “I’ve been thinking about it for so long that for it to be actually happening is absolutely surreal,"
Ubeda, who grew up in Southwest Miami-Dade and credited his single Cuban mother for inspiring him, trained ten hours a day throughout high school. He was a favorite of the show’s judges and fans. "Ricky had won the American audience vote since day one, so it’s no real surprise for me," executive producer and judge Nigel Lythgoe told Entertainment Weekly.
Ubeda got support from Stars Dance Studio Miami, where he also trained – the studio held weekly watch parties to raise money to send Ubeda’s mother and family to L.A. to see him perform.
"To every dancer all I can say is to work your very hardest and do it because you absolutely love it," Ubeda said.
In addition to the cash prize, Ubeda has been offered a part in the Broadway musical On the Town. He and the other top nine SYTYCD contestants will perform at the Adrienne Arsht Center on Nov. 18 as part of the show’s 70-city tour.