After their (some would say surprising) elimination Thursday night, “So You Think You Can Dance” contestants Jason Glover and Janette Manrara chatted Friday with journalists on a conference call about their experiences on the show.
Jason, on how he felt following Melissa Sandvig and Ade Obayomi’s emotional dance, inspired by a woman’s fight with breast cancer:
I was definitely prepared [to go home] because all the performances were really strong and I think that the piece that everybody will remember obviously was Ade and Melissa’s piece. I think that piece definitely stole the night. It overshadowed all of the other pieces and it was absolutely amazing. I think that it kind of threw everyone for a loop because I don’t think people were expecting to see something that amazing. We were standing backstage and we were like, “Oh, crap, we have to follow that up? Awesome. What do we do now? They’re doing a piece about breast cancer and now we’re doing a piece about death.” Not fun. But I think we just went out there and had fun with it. You can’t think about those things before you step onto a stage because if you do, it’s going to mess you up and it’s going to show in your performance. It’s not going to end up well. I’m very happy for Melissa and Ade to get a piece like that and they got to experience something like that on the show. It changed a lot of lives and affected a lot of people, so I’m very proud of them for being able to do that. I think it overshadowed a lot of the other pieces but, like I said, you can’t worry about that stuff. You just have to go out there and do your best.
Janette on her biggest competition:
I think all the girls this season were really good and very talented in different ways. I wouldn’t be able to pick out one. I’ve heard, because we don’t get to read blogs or anything, a lot of people were saying it would be between Jeanine [Mason], Kayla [Radomski] and myself. But Melissa was also a huge competition because she’s just so talented and so genuine and so very real. I think her personality comes off great through the camera because she’s just such a great person. And not having Randi [Evans] around definitely made us sad because she was such a great person to be around, too, and definitely a powerhouse dancer.
Janette on her previous career as a loan officer:
I was a senior loan processor. I assisted in managing the loan processing unit for Northern Trust Bank and it’s nationwide so I dealt with customers all over the nation. I helped a couple of people get houses and businesses. I had a pretty solid position. I actually was doing very well with my job and it was tough to leave it because, you know, it was just very secure. I had a steady salary, steady benefits. I had an apartment. I had everything going for me before I left it for the dancing so it was scary to take that jump and come into this completely different career of dancing and TV and all that. 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. We’d have like little luncheons and little corporate events that we do and 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.” 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. It just feels more like home to be on stage, dancing and getting ready and makeup and hair and all that than sitting behind a desk and filling out paperwork for other people.
On whether it was harder to be eliminated after choreographer Mia Michaels declared Janette her favorite:
Actually, it makes it easier to go home. When Mia said that, 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 [Lythgoe] 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 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.