As we near the Season 16 finale of So You Think You Can Dance, the contestants who remain continue to inspire us with their unbelievable talent and vulnerability.
Contemporary dancer Madison Jordan captured the nation’s heart with her soulful audition and candidness about the struggles she endured to get to Hollywood, namely going bald at a young age. Here are some things we’ve learned about the 21-year-old, who could very well be the next SYTYCD champion.
Why is Madison Jordan rockin' a beautiful, bald head? She has alopecia.
In her initial intro video, Madison revealed that she is not bald by choice. "I noticed that I started to lose my hair when I was about 7 years old," she told the camera. "My mom took me to the doctor, who then diagnosed me with alopecia."
The Minnesota resident continued, "I have the most severe stage where it came out very quickly, within a couple of weeks. I’m healthy but it has taken a toll."
Madison explained that she was often bullied over her appearance and that people would pull at her wigs. "I didn’t understand it because I was already going through a tough time so, like, why make it worse for me?" she recalled. But dance saved her. "During those times, I could go to the studio and be who I was."
Madison mainly wore wigs up until 2017.
The former college cheerleader’s earliest photos on Instagram show her wearing a variety of blonde wigs, including during dance competitions. But starting in November 2017, Madison ditched the fake hair. She even performed alongside Justin Timberlake at the 2018 Super Bowl with just a beanie.
Her social media followers were all for the new look. "So, SO proud of you!! you look stunning!" one friend wrote, while another added, "You are so fierce, damn." A third user commented, "My mf idol." We call that a strong support system.
Madison is dating an eliminated SYTYCD contestant.
The choreographer and her boyfriend, Jarrod Tyler Paulson, both auditioned for Season 16 but decided to dance separately. When asked if he felt confident before taking the stage, the 26-year-old responded, "I’m excited. I’ve got [Madison] by my side, so I don’t need anything else."
Though both dancers made it to The Academy stage of the competition, Jarrod was cut with 54 contestants remaining. Despite his elimination, he’s proven to be Madison’s No. 1 fan.
"It’s always been her dream to compete on this show and show the world how big her passion and heart truly is," Jarrod wrote in an August 12 Instagram post. "I want all of you to see what I see every day and every night. She shines so bright in so many different ways and I want you all to enjoy that same spark she gives me."
He added, "I love you more than anything, babe and couldn’t be more proud that [you’re] finally living your dream and showing the world how special you are. Like I said 'one day [you’re] gonna be something great.'"
Watch new episodes of So You Think You Can Dance Saturdays on Fox.