It was the very special 100th episode of So You Think You Can Dance on Thursday night, but two people still had to go home. So mixed with the celebration was a tinge of sadness as contemporary dancer Jason Glover and salsa dancer (and frontrunner) Janette Manrara got eliminated. The duo talked to reporters on a conference call about their stints on the show, and the highlights are below.
First up, Jason
You've said Michael Jackson was an inspiration to you. How did you react to his death?
Jason Glover: Michael Jackson, for me, was probably the biggest inspiration in for me dancing. My mom used to play tapes and videos and I just used to stand in front of the TV and mimic his movement. For me, [his death] was a big blow. Phillip Chbeeb actually came up and told me that he passed and that was really hard. I think I kind of shut down the rest of the day because for me, that was my idol, that was my inspiration, he was the reason why I started dancing. So it was very personal for me and I think not only me, but the rest of the dancers there took it hard as well because he was such an influence on the entertainment world, especially dance. We wouldn't have half the dances we have now if it wasn't for his influence.
Was there anything you thought you could have done differently to stay in the competition or are you satisfied?
Jason: I don't think that I could have done anything better. I think that certain things could have been done differently, definitely performance-wise with certain dance routines but I think I was pleased with the whole process. It did stink staying in the bottom as many times as I was, but I think that just proves how much I wanted to stay, fighting every week to stay in the competition. Overall, it's been a great experience and I couldn't have asked for more. I didn't even think that I would get to this point so I'm just really happy right now.
Did your elimination come as a big shock?
Do you think you could go toward a career like as a Jackson impersonator ever or anything like that?
Jason: Oh gosh, no. As far as the impersonation thing goes, I would never want to. There was only one Michael. There will only ever be one Michael so I don't think that would be very wise because that wouldn't be a very successful career.
You had to do a lot of solos on this show, and Nigel told you that you had performed the best solo they had ever seen in five years of the show. I was wondering if you could just talk a little bit about what went into the preparation of the solos?
Jason: Well first of all, the comment that Nigel made about me having the best solo that he's ever seen in five seasons on the show, well that was wow. I didn't expect to hear that at all. The viewers are very wishy-washy so you just have to be prepared to dance for your life every week. I'm a bit of a worry-worm so I thought every week that I was going home and because of that I was always prepared with a solo.
Next up, Janette
Could you tell us a little bit about the corporate world versus dancing? Were you always busting a move in your cubicle?
Janette Manrara: You should have seen me at the office, all my friends laughed at me. I played music all day and I was in my desk, moving around at all times. I couldn't sit still. I really got into dancing a little too late, unfortunately. I realized how much I loved it when I was 19 so I had already started working at the bank. I already had a full-time job and it was very difficult to make that transition. I had to actually quit my job and leave everything that I had and everything that I had known to come and be on this show. It was a major risk that I took but I think it was a risk worth taking.
Did any of your colleagues ever ask you to teach them dance moves?
Janette: Oh my gosh, all the time. We had like little luncheons and little corporate events for Christmas and the different holidays throughout the year and they would always be like, "Oh Janette, can you dance for us? Please? I really want to see you do a little something. Do a little something for us." I was like, "I can't do that in a suit." You know?
You always received such high praise from the judges for being able to pick up any style of dance but I'm wondering if there was a particular style that gave you trouble in rehearsals.
Janette: There were a few, believe it or not. I know it comes off like everything was easy-peasy for me but there was definitely a few that were difficult. Sonya's piece was jazz and it was a stamina-builder. The disco was definitely a stamina-builder. I just lift and jump and dancing one right after another. And tango. Tango was a mind game trying to figure out where to stick my feet and where my ankle and knee should be and when to bend and not to bend. Yes, there were a lot of moments that I struggled but we just practiced, practiced, practiced as much as we could and Brandon was an amazing partner. He definitely helped me along the way and it worked out well for the two of us.
You had been basically declared a flat-out favorite to win from the judges if it was up to them. Does that make elimination harder to hear?
Janette: Actually, it makes it easier. It makes it easier to go home. I think that knowing that when Mia said that [Wednesday night], I was completely shocked and I couldn't believe that she felt that way about me. Me not being a contemporary dancer and her being a contemporary choreographer, just made me feel very accomplished. It sucks that I couldn't achieve what Nigel and I guess Mia wanted me to achieve but at the same time, I do go home with a sense of still winning. I still accomplished something great and I still reached a goal that I think a lot of other dancers would love to and might still reach. It's bittersweet. It's very bittersweet to know that they feel that way. It definitely did make it easier to go home when Nigel said that he felt that he wanted me to win this year. Hard and easy, yes. Both at the same time.
Did you get to interact with Ellen DeGeneres or Katie Holmes during this week on the show?
Janette: Well I am a huge, huge Ellen DeGeneres fan. I've liked her for a really long time so when we found out that she was going to come and be one of the guest judges, I jumped for joy. We actually did get to meet her a little bit and talk to her after the show. She said she had loved watching me dance and she had seen my other performances throughout the season. It was very surreal to know that Ellen, this woman that I just adored as a comedian and as a talk show host, had actually been watching me on television and knew who I was. It was amazing. And then we didn't get to meet Katie Holmes. We saw her around a couple times but I was very, very, very impressed with her performance and with her singing and dancing capabilities.
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