In the most shocking elimination of the Season, spicy Salsa dancer Janette Manrara was the latest girl to be eliminated from So You Think You Can Dance last night. Janette impressed and endeared America and the judges with her ability to tackle any genre given to her, her infectious personality, and the passion and commitment she brought every time she stepped on stage.

So You Think You Can Dance: Chatting with Janette Manrara

Janette was doubtlessly something special, as head judge Nigel Lythgoe and guest judge Mia Michaels both declared her their favorite dancer of the season. With Nigel going so far as to say he was hoping Janette would be Season 5’s winner and her elimination ruined his big 100th Episode celebration.

Today we chatted with Janette about her elimination, what it felt like to have Mia Michaels and Nigel say she was their favorite, going from bank worker to ballroom star and what routines she hopes to be dancing on tour.

On the most Inspiring Person She Got To Work with on So You Think You Can Dance:

Oh, that’s a tough one. I really really enjoyed working with so manypeople. I really enjoyed working with Sonya, she has a lot of positive energy. She pushes you to your limits, but in a positive way.And she’s always by your side, always trying to get the best out ofyou. Then of course, Wade Robson, he was amazing to work with as well.He’s such a creative genius, he has such quirky, cool different ideas. Hechoreographs and works the same way, but the ending product alwaysworks out really well. And Mia Michaels is awe inspiring to even standnext to, because she’s done so much for the dance community. She wasjust phenomenal. She was very very tough, but extremely extremelytalented with her creativity and her ideas. Just amazing.Awe-inspiring. It was very surreal to be their with so many people.

On The Girl She Though Was Her Biggest Competition:

I think all the girls were really, really good. They were all verytalented in different ways. I wouldn’t be able to pick out one. Iwouldn’t be able to say there was one particular girl that was likeokay, she’s the one I need too look out for.

On Janette The Unlikely Loan Officer:

You should’ve seen me at the office, all my friends laughed at me. I’d playmusic all day and I’d be at my desk moving around at all times. Icouldn’t sit still.

I really got into dancing a little too late,unfortunately. I realized how much I loved it when I was 19. I hadalready started working at the bank and I already had a full time job. It was very difficult to make that transition. I had to quit my joband leave everything I had and I had known to come on this show. It wasa major risk that I took, but I think that it was worth taking. I mean,it’s just such a different life. But it just feels more like home to beon stage dancing, than sitting behind a desk and filling out paperworkfor other people.

Did Your Bank Co-Workers Ask You to Teach Them Moves?

Oh my gosh, all the time. All the time. And they’d always be like ohJanette can you dance for us, can you do a little something for us. AndI’d be like, I can’t do that in a suit, you know?

On Doubts, Banking, and Taking the Leap to be a Dancer:

I started (at the bank) when I was 18 and I hadn’t stopped. So I’ve been in bankingfor seven years almost. I was a senior loan processor. I was actuallydoing very very well with my job and it was tough to leave it, becauseit was very secure. I had a steady salary, steady benefits, an apartment–I hadeverything going for me before I left for the dancing., So it was scaryto leave it all and make this jump into a completely different careerof dancing and TV. But it was worth it I think. It was an amazingexperience.  I always kind of doubted myself, because I had started solate that I maybe wasn’t going to make it that far was afraid Iwouldn’t make it so far. But I guess the show made me realize, I can. Ican do this even at 25 still make a career in this artistic career ofdancing and TV and stuff.

On Whether She’ll Be Returning to the Bank:

No I am not. If I have to I will. It is a good paycheck.And it’s notlike I hate it either.  I hope I don’t have to and that good thingscome my way — dance and do movies do whatever I can do to be aperformer and not have to go and sit behind a desk. By all means if Ihave to go back, I will. But my heart is in this and in performing.

On Her Elimination and Her Father’s Pride:

I’m 25,  but I’m still daddy’s little girl. My dad wasvery proud that I spoke the way that I did and he was proud that Ididn’t cry. I really wanted to, really bad. But I was strong, because Ididn’t think what was happening was sad. It felt more like anaccomplishment. It’s the end of my accomplishments on the show, buthopefully only the beginning of other amazing things to come. 

On the Genres She Struggled Most With:

Ooooh. There was a few, believe it or not. I know it comes off likeeverything was easy-peasy for me, but there were definitely some thatwere difficult. Sonya’s piece was a stamina builder, the disco wasdefinitely a stamina builder, just the lifting, jumping, and dancingone right after the other. And tango. Tango was a mind game. Trying tofigure out where to stick my feet and where my ankle and knee shouldbe. So there were a lot of moments I struggled, but we just practiced,practiced, practiced. And Brandon was an amazing partner.

On What Dances She Hopes You’ll Be Seeing Her Perform on Tour:

We both really want the tango and the cha cha to make tour. The cha chabecause it was just so much fun. And the tango because we were bothjust so proud for getting that standing ovation. Nigel said that nightthat it was the closest thing he’s seen to perfection on that stage.With comments like that how can you not want to dance that again?

On Mia Michaels and Nigel Saying She Was Their Favorite Dancer Just Before Being Eliminated:

Actually it makes it easier to go home. I think that in knowing that…when Mia said that to me, I was completely shocked. I couldn’t believethat she felt that way about me. Me not being a contemporary dancer andher being a contemporary choreographer, it made me feel veryaccomplished. It sucks that I couldn’t achieve what Nigel and Miawanted me to achieve, but at the same time, I still go home with asense of winning and accomplishing something. It’s bittersweet, verybittersweet that they felt that way. It definitely made it easier to gohome when Nigel said he wanted me to win this year. Hard and easy.

–Abbey Simmons, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image Courtesy of FOX)

Abbey Simmons

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV