After a season that was equal parts tedium and rapture, So You Think You Can Dance crowned it's newest winner last night: Jeanine Mason.
It was an unexpected win to be sure, but delighted me to no end. I think America got the top two right; it came to Brandon and Jeanine, but honestly I would have been happy if Jeanine, Brandon, or Kayla had won. But having Jeanine take the big prize just made me really happy. It's not like I know her or anything, but I always really liked her and loved watching her dance. Plus, she's funny in interviews.
Jeanine has been a strong performer this entire season; she was paired with Phillip at the beginning, which made me feel a little sorry for her. While a great street dancer, Phillip was, let's face it, a terrible partner, and his popularity was basically the only thing that kept them from being booted those first few weeks. Still, Jeanine seemed to impress everyone by keeping up with Phillip during their hip-hop routines and and basically out shining him in everything else.
But when Phillip left the competition and Jeanine got paired with Jason, then we really got a chance to see her bring it. She could handle any style the judges threw at her, and her contemporary number with Jason (with the heart locket) pushed her into the forefront. At that point, you knew she was a contender.
By the time the top 8 rolled around, Jeanine had a chance to dance with Brandon, and in my opinion, finally got a chance to partner with a dancer as strong as she was. After a lackluster night, she and Brandon came out and performed a pop-jazz number that was pretty awesome. After watching it in the clip below, it doesn't have quite the same impact, but trust me, after an hour and a half of meh, it felt like an adrenaline jolt.
But I think what really clinched the win was Jeanine's solo in the performance finale. Which is amazing, since to me the solos always feel like an after thought. We have seen some great solos this season, but the dancers are only given 45 seconds or so to perform and sometimes it's not long enough to make an impression. Also, a lot of them seem very frantic; trying to cram as much as they can into that time (I'm looking at you Brandon and Kayla), but Jeanine always took the time and made her solo a full performance. And her tango solo at the finale was just woah. I couldn't find it on you tube, but you can see it here beginning at 3:50. And I really suggest you check it out. It's gorgeous.
So congrats, Jeanine! Hopefully you'll get a chance to enjoy being this season's winner, because it won't last long. Season 6 starts in less than a month on September 2. So smoke em if you got em!