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.