'SYTYCD': An interview with winner Jeanine!


Jeanine Mason, winner of So You Think You Can Dance season 5, called in to P-Dubs HQ in between TV appearances and photo shoots. My all-too-brief chat with the delightful former “chubby mouse” is below. Get excited for a new home-shopping series called Jeanine and Jason’s Jewels, Ameriker!

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When did you first get the idea that you could make it to the final four and were so popular?
JEANINE MASON: I didn’t think I was popular for a long time. I was always hoping for top 10, to be able to go on tour with my friends. After that first time Phillip and I were in the bottom three, I felt like I needed it more desperately — I needed to show America why I was there, and that I could dance, in my own genre. That was the week I did my “Moonlight Sonata” solo. The following week, when I came out for the show date, people were screaming “Jeanine! Jeanine!” That was a really emotional exercise for me, realizing that I had fans.

Your solos just got better and better — I loved the one you did on Wednesday. Those pirouettes were unbelievable, but I was also fascinated that you kept that rose in your mouth. What if you accidentally smiled or something?
It’s funny also because I had so much lipstick on. In rehearsals, I’d try to remove the rose sometimes and it just stuck to my lipstick. I thought, if this happens onstage, I’ll die. That was the best performance of my life. To finish that turn sequence with the pirouettes and ending on those beats…it just gives me goosebumps going back to it.

Yeah, the moment when you slowed down and faced the audience and you were still so balanced, it must have been like, “Hell, yeah!”
Risking everything, hoping I could stick it. It was absolutely amazing.

After Wednesday’s performance show, who did the four of you think was going to win?
We really had no idea. Towards the beginning we tried to play that guessing game but you can honestly never guess what America wants. The perfect example of that is Janette leaving. She’s like my big sister — I love her to death, she’s from Miami, I’ve known her for awhile. I thought she was gonna win the season.

You mentioned to Cat that you’d had to work through injuries during the season. What happened?
About a year ago, I had surgery to remove a tumor from my left elbow. I went through radiation treatment — the summer before my senior year, I spent every morning in the hospital. My elbow is much better now, and finally bending like it should, but it still gets locked up now and then. So when you’re training 12 hours a day, it definitely acts up.

Were you careful to never mention that you were in pain during the rehearsal packages?
I didn’t really talk about it during the season because I didn’t want it to be what people thought about when they saw me. All of us were feeling pain. Ade’s ankle was messed up, Caitlin’s calf was tearing, Janette has a messed-up knee, all of us have cut-up toes and bleeding callouses. We just passed around the Neosporin. You have to look at dancers’ feet. Our callouses are so sick. They’re perfect for turning on and balancing on, because they’re so disgusting and spread out and gross.

Luckily, they don’t seem to zoom in for many toe close-ups during dances.
Definitely. One day, for the Top 6, they took us for a spa day. I got a massage and a pedicure and manicure, and when I showed the pedicurist my feet she nearly had a heart attack. I was like, “I’m so sorry, this may be the longest pedicure of all time.” But it did help out a lot.

What’s going on with Jason? It seems like you two should probably be dating. [Watch: Jeanine & Jason’s contemporary routine, choreographed by season 2’s Travis Wall]
I love Jason so much — he’s one of my best friends. We are not together. It’s funny though, it looks so real onstage and feels so comfortable to be with him in that position. But it’s true what they say: Most of the time, once you see chemistry on-camera, there’s no chemistry off-camera. I’m like his little sister.

Fine, then you and he should co-host a QVC show about jewelry. You can just rip heart necklaces off each other’s chests, and the on-screen chemistry will never have to die.
Can you imagine? That’d be perfect. We’ll be fighting on a pile of necklaces and just tear each other’s clothes off…and then we’ll be kissing, it’ll be fine.

Travis could pop in for little guest segments….
Travis would come visit with his nice, bedazzled self, and rings or something, and we can sell all this stuff!

I also want you to follow the Kherington route and do a remake like ‘Fame.’ There’s a rumored ‘Girls Just Want To Have Fun’ remake — maybe you can be Sarah-Jessica Parker’s character.
I would love to do that. Acting is my life now. I can’t wait to move out here and start dancing and acting and auditioning — anything I can do, as long as I’m performing, I’ll be happy. A movie would be my dream.

Do you remember the very first dance you did onstage as a little girl in ballet class?
I do! I was a mouse, and I had on a carpet-material gray unitard, but it was huge and stuffed up with newspaper so we were like chubby mice. All I did was just run around the stage. It was pretty tragic, but of course my mom was like, “It was beautiful!”

Kind of a far cry from a black pleather paso doble, huh?
You never would have thought that little mouse would be in that paso doble outfit, but you know, it’s crazy what can happen on So You Think You Can Dance.

For more “So You Think You Can Dance,” read EW’s episode recaps, and check out our 15 Favorite Dances from the enitre series.

Comments (48 total) Add your comment
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  • mscisluv

    “Acting is my life now” – huh?

    • Greg

      Acting is a more realistic career, albeit still a long shot. You can act when you’re 70, but unless you’re choreographing, it’s pretty hard to stay in dance past 35.

  • davidsask

    Did you have to spoil it for all others by putting it in headline the winner! You SUCK ANNIE!

    • Eu

      If at this time of the day you still don’t know who won, you are the one that suck!

      • Seriously?

        agreed, if you dont know by now, you should probably avoid the internet in general, it is you who sucks sir

    • allie

      It’s almost 24 hours later dude. if you don’t know the winner by now you have no business being on an entertainment site. Get a grip.

    • mscisluv

      Okay, if you don’t want this type of stuff spoiled – DON’T GO TO EW.COM. Duh.

    • em

      Dude probably wanted to watch the episode himself. And if you get the rss feed on your webpage, it says the main headlines w/o going to ew.com.

      • Q97

        Seriously. I didn’t get to watch until last night, but I knew I’d have to put myself in media blackout to keep it a secret. I was actually impressed at the few headline-mentions on Friday AM.

  • Lauren

    I love her! This interview only shows what a funny, charming person she is. I only wish that she and Jason really were an item though!

  • Jessie

    Davidsask, it’s not spoiling if it has already aired. If you haven’t watched it, it’s your own fault for visiting entertainment websites.

    • davidsask

      It’s on the main page and in the headline and sorry that is irresponsible, the name didn’t have to be in it!

  • chicadarina

    Can you or Slezak please become the official SYTYCD columnist? :-)

  • M

    She sounds like a wonderful young lady. Humorous, intelligent and a great dancer. What’s not to like?

  • Laura

    Yeah, seriously, what’s up with the “acting is my life now” comment?? She just won a huge dancing competition! Shouldn’t dancing be her life now, especially with the tour and all the doors in the dancing world that her win just opened up to her??

  • T.T

    she meant she loves acting and wants to do acting she said that in her top 16 rehearsal piece too during the broadway routine that she wanted to do broadway and act as well as dancing.
    love jeanine she’s my favorite winner of sytycd ever
    its funny this is the first time that i’ve had my favorite win both american Idol AND sytycd in one season! great year for my faves :D although would’ve liked to see jason make it further!
    anyway i second the notion to have slezeak do the recaps from now on i mean even KARA dioguardi mentioned his writing and how she thinks its excellent and that he probably graduated from harvard :P so can we get more sleazak please?

  • T.T

    maybe have him host a so you think you can dance-olatry

    • chicadarina

      love it!

      • Javabooknut

        Would seriously love a dancolotry!!!

  • renee

    i can tolerate jeanine winning (since jeanette was gone), but found i really was sad it wasn’t brandon. pirouettes or no pirouettes, he was the best and i’m tired of this favorite dancer crap when the judges give critiques.

    • Javabooknut

      Being a dancer is more than technical perfection. Brandon is fantastic and flawless but Jeanine was a technically great dance (arguably not quite as perfect as Brandon or Kayla) but she brought a passion, performance and that it factor the others didn’t have. That’s why she was able to overcome not being known to become the winner. If you watched her Mia routine with Kayla her lines weren’t as flawless but she had something Kayla didn’t

      • Trish

        Yeah what she had that Kayla didn’t have was a fan base. Everyone is just jealous of Kayla and Brandon because they are fantastic dancers. So she had one good performance at the end. The whole season should be in account and she wasn’t that great then.

  • Xena-Dancer

    Annie! Now I remember…I was grousing about getting a re-capper that “knows” dance and technique on another thread and talked about the one substitute this year that actually was dance-intelligent. I couldn’t remember her name..til now. It was YOU! Please tell me you’re the one replacing adam?

  • karen

    Kayla should have won -much better dancer. But I liked Jeanine and Brandon. I believe that Kayla and Brandon should have placed higher but it is another show where teeny boppers rule the result. waiting to see a blind win…lol and I am a redhead!

  • luv2travel

    I found myself sad that Brandon didn’t win because he really was a more skilled dancer. However, he lacked personality. Jeanine was a fabulous dancer and had a great personality. Even though Brandon “claimed” not to know how good he was – I didn’t believe it. The way he carries himself – arrogance. Same with Kayla – carries herself with arrogance and she didn’t seem like she wanted it bad enough so blah. Jeanine has a fantastic personality and if we are talking improvment – she made it. Secretly I wanted some umpf in this show and hoped that maybe just maybe they would have 2 winners – Brandon and Jeanine. You know like getting the same number of votes exactly. Ha! What are the odds.
    Just to vent, Evan should have been kicked out much earlier and Melissa should have to (the cancer dance saved her).

  • GoMe!

    Honestly, besides Jason and Kupono, everyone in the top 10 was great and I would’ve been fine with any of them winning. Jeanine’s awesome though. I never thought she’d win, but she really captured us once she left Phillip in the dust. Her solos were so perfect, esp. the “let the drummer kick” one and the last one she did.
    Also,luv2travel, Melissa rocked ur socks so step, OK!?

    • chicadarina

      Disagree about Jason- I think he really had talent and sparkle. I enjoyed watching him dance, and he was the only boy other than Philip to nail hiphop this season with that AWESOME zombie piece. He just got stuck with some meh routines early on.

  • dancerindc

    Congratulations, Jeanine! So well-deserved, and this interview makes me love her all the more. (Although please don’t pursue acting too heavily at the expense of your dance career.)
    And I agree – Annie, I hope you become the new regular SYTYCD recapper!

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