Jeanine Mason, winner of So You Think You Can Dance Season 5, chatted a bit with Entertainment Weekly about her recent victory on the Fox summer reality show.
Here are some excerpts from the 18-year-old Floridian's interview, in which she shares impressions of the season finale, breaking into the spotlight and more:
EW: When did you get the idea that you could make it to the final four?
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.
EW: After Wednesday, who did the four of you think was going to win?
Jeanine Mason: We 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 is Janette leaving. She’s like my big sister. I thought she was gonna win.
EW: You mentioned to [host Cat Deeley] that you’d had to work through injuries during the season. What happened?
Jeanine Mason: 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.
EW: Were you careful to never mention that you were in pain?
Jeanine Mason: I didn’t really talk about it because I didn’t want it to be what people thought about when they saw me. All of us were feeling pain.EW: Luckily, they don’t seem to zoom in for many toe close-ups during dances.
Jeanine Mason: Definitely. One day, for the Top 6, they took us for a spa day. I got a pedicure, 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!”
EW: What’s going on with Jason? It seems like you two should probably be dating.
Jeanine Mason: I love Jason so much - he’s one of my best friends. We are not together. It looks so real onstage and feels so comfortable to be with him, but most of the time, once you see chemistry on-camera, there’s no chemistry off-camera.
EW: Do you remember the very first dance you did onstage as a little girl in ballet class?
Jeanine Mason: 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!”
EW: Kind of a far cry from a black pleather paso doble, huh?
Jeanine Mason: You never would have thought that little mouse would be in that paso doble outfit, but it’s crazy what can happen on So You Think You Can Dance.