Sheinelle Jones' childhood bedroom was covered with pictures of her idol, Janet Jackson — and now she just might be dancing alongside her on stage.
Sheinelle shared a special moment with the five-time Grammy award-winning artist on Dec. 16 when Jackson, 56, visited TODAY.
Sheinelle, 44, is such a superfan, she even dressed as Jackson for TODAY’s 2019 Halloween Celebration and performed “Rhythm Nation" with back-up dancers. At the time, Jackson thanked Jones for the tribute through a recorded video message.
This week, they bonded over it for the first time in person.
"I love it," Jackson said in response to watching Sheinelle's performance, which showed off her dancing chops and inadvertently became an audition tape to perform with the pop superstar, who goes on tour next year.
"I would love for you to join me (on stage)," Jackson said to Sheinelle. "You should."
Sheinelle beamed from ear-to-ear. Her co-anchors vocalized their shock at the invitation.
"Wait, what did she just say?!" co-anchor Hoda Kotb said.
"Sheinelle, receive that for a second," co-host Dylan Dreyer encouraged.
Sheinelle chimed in on that point: "I’m trying to stay in my body, Janet."
Jackson confirmed how serious she was: "Yes, because I’m looking for somebody to come on stage and dance with me on a song or two."
Sheinelle had to pause to fully take it in: "Wait, wait, wait," she said while walking over to stand next to her idol.
Sheinelle took a moment to tell Jackson just how influential she was to her personal development.
"Why you’re so important to me is because if you can see it, you can be it," Sheinelle explained, adding how she saw few Black women on TV growing up and, when she did, they were actors playing characters on shows, such as "The Cosby Show" or its spinoff, "A Different World." But Jackson was on TV as herself, and it inspired her.
"So I saw Rudy Huxtable, and I wanted to be Rudy. I saw Denise, and I wanted to be on 'A Different World.' And I saw Phylicia Rashad, and then I saw you," Sheinelle shared.
"Fierce. Vulnerable. Funky. Beautiful. You could dance — like all the things. You would be shy and then you would get on that stage and you would just slay before they even used that word," Sheinelle said with admiration.
Sheinelle said Jackson is a generational talent.
"You did that for so many of us, before the Beyonces of the world, before all of the folks that we see now," she said.
Sheinelle explained that Jackson represents a certain type of Black female excellence that wasn't always commonly seen in pop culture.
"My daughter, who’s 10, can scroll down Instagram and see all of these faces. I couldn’t scroll. I just saw you," she told Jackson.
Her heartfelt words led to a warm hug between the two.
Jackson said hearing testimonials like that is why she works so hard.
"You never get tired of it. It’s why you do what you do, hoping that you can touch someone in a positive way, make a difference even in just one person’s life. You’ve accomplished. You’ve succeeded. That makes me feel so good to hear you say that," Jackson said.
Sheinelle then slipped in an important reminder.
"You’re still doing it, and by the way I will be there," she said, referring to Jackson's latest tour.
Jackson responded matter of factly: "I was serious about you coming on stage."
Jackson then invited the rest of the TODAY family sitting there to join the audience of her tour: Hoda, Dylan, Craig Melvin, Savannah Guthrie and Carson Daly.
"We'll be there," co-host Melvin said.