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She has the title, but not the Zah: SYTYCD's Winner Announced!


Authored by super special SYTYCD recapper Megan of An Acorn Dreaming

 Ah, well.  I suppose I can live with Jeanine.  She is, after all, a solid, versatile and talented dancer.  She is a safe, sensible, good choice.

I just don't find her to be special.  I think there are other dancers who can do what Jeanine can do.  She does everything well, but it's missing that special something.  I took a stage combat workshop once with Paddy Crean.  He was a renowned fight choreographer and Erroll Flynn's stunt double. When I met him, he was this ancient Englishman in a purple ascot.  He would watch us sword fight (yes, I can use a rapier. I have many hidden talents.) and then say, "You need more Zah, darlings.  It's nothing without the Zah."  He was talking about that spark, that special indefinable something that sets an artist apart.

Jeanine lacks Zah for me.  I never felt like I was watching something truly special when she danced.  Kayla has Zah.  When she reprized the addiction piece with Kupono  tonight, I felt the tears coming again. She isn't as versatile as Jeanine.  She lacks Jeanine's earthiness and ballroom isn't her strength, but when she dances, she moves me.  Zah.

Brandon is special. I have never seen anyone dance the way Brandon dances.   He grabs his Zah by the neck the flings it around the dance floor with his perfectly controlled, super-human contortions. I think Brandon should have won.


But they do call their title "America's Favorite Dancer" and not "America's Best Dancer".  It is as much about popularity as it is about dance.  Jeanine is a good dancer.  She is a pretty girl.  She is a popular choice.  Will I remember her down the line?  I don't know.

What I do know is I won't forget Brandon and Kayla.  They didn't get the title, but they have the Zah.  I know Paddy Crean would agree.

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I am not sure why I have never seen this show!

Katie Kat

Gotta agree... I was just WAITING for Kat to say "BRANDON!", but when she said said Jeanine, I was like "Well, okay - she's good." Kayla was an amazing talent, and I think she will find a way to do great things in dance. I'm SURE Brandon is already knee-deep in offers and has an incredible career ahead of him. He's just BRILLIANT and a joy to watch. I loved Evan, but he just didn't have the full package. So, yeah, it's okay, but I was really hoping for Brandon!


For the first time in ever I called the winner of a reality show from the first day of competition! EEE! Do I get a prize for that?

For some reason I really liked Jeanine from the beginning. Something about Kayla set my teeth on edge (so to speak) and I found Brandon very frantic in his solos. (Mind you I have NO dance training at all so i know nothing about this).

I did think it would end up being Brandon in the end though.


I totally agree.

Just Shireen

See, and I might get things thrown at me for this but, for me Kayla had no zah. She was a remarkable dancer and the addiction piece with Kupono was my favorite piece of the season, but I never got any spark of personality from her.

But Jeanine? For me had ZAH.


Megan (Acorn Dreaming)

I won't throw anything at you, Just Shireen. The disagreements are what make shows like this fun. (COUGH Brandonshouldhavewon.) Katie Kat, I knew it was going to be Jeanine, as soon as Nigel said he found out earlier in the day and then he switched to his "I'm talking about a pretty girl" tone of voice. I like Nigel, but he really needs to knock that off. Way to call it, Lori. I called for voting Jeanine off before the final 4. Whoops.


I agree with Just Shireen and lori...I really feel that it was Jeanine who had the Zah from day 1; in fact, IMO, it's the Zah that is responsible for her winning over an arguably better technical dancer such as Brandon or Kayla. It was the Zah that allowed her to overcome being paired with a much weaker dancer in Phillip. It's the Zah we saw in the heart piece with Jason and the Paso with Brandon. Is she my favorite dancer of any season of SYTYCD? No. That would be Allison or Travis. But did she turn out to be my favorite from Season 5 (over Kayla actually)? Absolutely. Will I remember her? Definitely.

But I'll also remember Brandon, Kayla and Evan....they were all wonderful. And I still remember Nick, Blake, Melody, Allison, Hok, Danny, Neil, Sabra, Ivan and so many others from past seasons. And that's why I adore this show!! I get to be a fangirl for dancers and choreographers....!

And chat with other folks that love dance as much as me!!! Yay! Thanks for the recaps.


Well put. I've been a uber fan of this show since season 1, and I think the big problem is that almost none of this years top 20 had Zah for me. I think we had a crop of really amazing dancers that were fun to watch but when finale time came I didn't really care one way or the other who won. Again, they were all talented and entertaining but this is the first season I didn't pick up the phone and vote once. And that kind of sucked.
Here's to hoping season 6 brings it and that you keep up the re-caps on Mama Pop.


Seconded! I think Jeanine was more relatable, which is a big thing for folks. She had that "aw, shucks" humility we all like to see in incredibly talented people so we don't hate them, but at the same time danced beautifully and with personality.

Kayla on the other hand had lots going for her but didn't seem to (from my totally sporadic and non-academic study of blogs) have a rapport with the audience that helped them relate to her. So when she danced, it was all tech and precision.


Hrmmm... who will I remember. I will remember Jeanette. I will remember Vitolio. I will remember Evan. Brandon. Actually probably since I recapped a couple of the shows on my blog I will be more likely to remember than Season 4!

Actually a certain male member of my household whom you will recall "hates" the show sat down and watched the finale with me. And during the disco number crowed about how Jeanette should have won. HEE.


I disagree that Jeanne doesn't have Zah. I saw it when she danced that contemporary routine with Jason - they did it a 2nd time last night. It was amazing. She has a lot of personality and it comes through in her dancing. I also agree with something the judges said about her - which is she peaked at just the right time. I think over the course of the show she improved a lot and grew as a dancer.

I agree that Kayla was amazing in the piece with Kapono - but in other areas I don't think she is as strong or as versital. I was surprised though that she didn't beat Evan for the 3rd spot.

As for Brandon - well he is simple awesome. wonderful to watch and clearly very talented.

Megan (Acorn Dreaming)

Kayla didn't have the bubbly personality off the dance floor, granted. But she was far from just tech and precision on the dance floor. She fully embodied every character and mood the choreographers gave her. Watch her face in the addiction piece, for example - but that wasn't the only one. Her problem was she didn't have the translatable personality without the choreographers - so it didn't translate off the dance floor and it didn't translate in her solos either. But she was way more than tech and precision.


Well, I'm no dancer so what do I know. :)

I think my inclusion of the word "all" was hyperbole, if poorly executed. Yes, I liked the addiction piece and as noted, felt she totally took on that character. But from my perspective, she was harder to relate to, and to a lot of people possibly including me, that translates into a lack of Zah!

So when you say that Zah is indefinable - I guess that means we can all tell you who we thought had Zah but not defend it at all. :D


jeanine's zah, for me, was her extension, her angles, her pops, her emotions that she spilled out into her pieces. i was fine with her winning, but think brandon was a worth oppponent in the end. i just wish jason was in the finals. i liked him a lot. BUT since dance is an art form and art is subjective (and i don't vote) not everyone that i like will be there in the end or even win.


Jeanine? Yawn. Zah? Yawn. I honestly couldn't believe she made the top four.


The winner should have been Brandon or Kayla. You're right, Jeanine had no ZAH.

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