Brandon: The routine that sticks in my mind most was my Argentine tango with Janette; I’d never done that style. Leonardo Barrionuevo and Miriam Larici are phenomenal ballroom dancers and working with them was mind-blowing.
Evan: I enjoyed working with Tabitha and Napoleon. They have a cool relationship and fun banter back and forth. They make you want to work the hardest you can.
Kayla: Mia Michaels is really special. She has a way of pushing dancers to a place they’ve never been, and once you hit that place, your dancing is changed forever—not just physically but also emotionally.
Give us the inside scoop on the show. What don’t we see at home?
Evan: You don’t see how beaten up and bruised we are! Part of being a performer is not wanting to show that to your audience; if you wake up groggy and sore, that has to be gone as soon as you hit the stage. You also don’t see our group warm-up before show tapings. We would get our energy up with a lot of ponies, punches and running around onstage. It’s fun and high-energy, not like a traditional barre warm-up.
Kayla: The taping studio is freezing cold! You have to bring 20 million layers to keep your body warm. We’d be snuggling in blankets backstage while we were waiting to dance!
Why do you think Jeanine was named “America’s Favorite Dancer?”
Evan: Besides having amazing dance technique, Jeanine has an awesome personality. She’s very bubbly and fun. What appealed to the audience was that she is very relatable—a normal, everyday girl.
Brandon: Jeanine can bring light to any moment and keep everyone smiling and happy. I love that about her. The show could be stressful and tedious, and having someone communicate humor was a relief. And besides that, she is an incredibly powerful dancer.
Kayla: Jeanine is a beautiful dancer and someone America could relate to; she had such a cute personality and wasn’t afraid to mess up on camera. People were really able to connect with her, which is great because she’s an awesome person.