Jeanine Mason wins SYTYCD 5

Contemporary dancer Jeanine Mason won the fifth season of So You Think You Can Dance, the title, and the $250,000. Nigel Lythgoe said it was “justly deserved,” although he didn’t say if he thought she was the best dancer overall this year, after insisting earlier today that the best dancer has never won.

Jeanine beat runner-up Brandon Bryant, while finale studio audience favorite Evan Kasprzak was the third runner up, and Kayla Radomski came in fourth after “the biggest vote in So You Think You Can Dance history,” as Cat Deely said, a total of 21.6 million votes.

Jeanine was paired with popper Phillip Chbeeb earlier this season, and he wasn’t the most versatile performer, but she managed to stick around despite that. That’s not to take away anything from Phillip: He and a few other dancers performed in front of TV critics this morning, and his popping is even more amazing in person; he seems like a CGI character who’s not restricted by the laws of physics.

The finale was full of guest performances and encores of favorite dances, but because this is not American Idol, those are actually interesting to watch and not just filler.

So You Think You Can Dance returns in less than a month, on Sept. 2, with a recap of “the best routines” from five seasons, a smart strategy to lure in new viewers who’ve never watched during the summer, while the actual season debuts Sept. 9, airing Tuesdays at 9.

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