I have to say, I'm enjoying the "Team Stage vs. Team Street" aspects of So You Think You Can Dance a lot more than I expected to this season. It's creating a sense of community and urgency as super talented but highly specialized dancers learn other styles. One of my favorites, JJ from Team Street, looks totally different now than when we first saw her — remember Jessica Rabone's So You Think You Can Dance Season 12 audition?
Each week, Rabone has melted into the different styles and aesthetics that have been thrown at her in competition. She's only been in danger once and made it to the Top 10. Her modernized pin-up girl dance last week with Kate Harpootlian wasn't her best (it had so much potential, too) but she's easily one of the favorites in this competition. In her audition, you can see that J.J. is insecure about the shadow that having a famous sister in Japan has placed her in, but this is no longer the case. Both in dancing and in her success on So You Think You Can Dance she has blossomed with confidence.
Jessica Rabone has talked about her nerves in interviews, but if she's scared in performance we certainly can't tell. Let's look back at how her So You Think You Can Dance journey began.
How cute is she? Her costumes have been more stylzed and feminine on the show, but I love the cute, sporty Beetlejuice look she put together for the audition. JJ's waacking routine at the audition brought down the house, and Nigel compared her to performer and choreographer Toni Basil, who Rabone had actually trained with before. It's telling that JJ is such a favorite, considering the fact that the way this season is structured — she's only gotten to stand out in duets recently. The trio numbers are fun, but it's difficult to focus on individual dancers and not just let the performance soak in your brain.
This audition really gives you a good look at Jessica Rabone's energy and quirky personality that she brings to the show. It's also fascinating to hear Paula Abdul and Nigel Lythgoe ask that she acquire a larger dance vocabulary. Since joining So You Think You Can Dance, the Top 10 dancer has nailed both ballroom and jazz. It seems that either JJ is a super fast learner, she she maybe had some secrets up her sleeve.
The one thing that hasn't changed since JJ's audition? Her signature topknots — which have even been styled into some of their costumes. Which is fitting, because on So You Think You Can Dance she's also on top!
Image: Adam Rose/Fox