We are down to six couples, which means this is the final week we will see the dancers with their current partners (bring on the All-Stars!). So to make it extra special, each couple will be performing twice!

Judges: Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, Sonya “I really wish I could swear on live TV” Tayeh and from Modern Family, Jesse Tyler Ferguson. I love that show and I love him. Very excited for him to bring the funny. So, to be clear, after this week the couples are breaking up. They will get new partners every week after this, and these partners are going to be chosen from a pool of All-Stars from past seasons. I am anxiously awaiting the announcement of who will be part of this group tomorrow. (Robert, Kent, Alex, Twitch, Allison, Lauren & Lauren…. I’m looking at all of you! Look for my reactions in tomorrow’s post.) Sasha & Alexander DANCE 1: Choreographers: Tony Meredith and Melanie Lapatin Style: Paso Doble Finally! A Paso! It’s my favorite of the ballroom styles. Although, I kind of wished that someone else was dancing it because character is so important in this dance and Alexander has been lacking in that area. It was a strong routine though. They handled it better than I thought, and did much better than last week. Sasha was still stronger, but Alex held his own better than he has before. The judges seemed to love it, but the first dance is often well loved, and the judges are just excited, so I think as the night goes on this one won’t seem as super exciting. DANCE 2: Choreographer: Tyce DiOrio Style: Jazz I really enjoyed this one. The performance, the song, the choreography, the simple (albeit, shaky) lamp post prop. There was something both very moving and classic to it. And somehow Tyce was able to do something none of the other choreographers have been able to do: show that Alexander is more than just a prop for Sasha to dance around. It was like Alexander finally realized he earned a spot on this show not as someone’s partner but as an individual. And thankfully, the judges made him realize it too. And while most of the routine was near perfect, I really enjoyed that they owned the fact that they totally screwed up the last move. Jordan & Tadd DANCE 1: Choreographer: Travis Wall Style: Contemporary I thought this was a fantastic routine, which isn’t shocking since it is Travis. It was such an aggressive and scary piece. You could tell they both really felt the choreography and the emotion. Travis really brought them both up to another level. Jordan wasn’t just the sexy seductress and Tadd wasn’t just having fun and looking cute. They both took on the roles and were in it together. I was very happy with this one. Not only because it showed their talent but also what power Travis brings as a choreographer. And loved that Jesse said they were “In it to win it” in his best Randy Jackson voice. DANCE 2: Choreographer:  Spencer Liff Style:Broadway In rehearsal footage we learn Jordan isn’t great with the flips. Huh. I guess we will see how this turns out. But I’m happy in the immediate because they are using a song from RENT!! Yay!! After my immediate excitement over song choice, I am realizing this piece is sort of lacking. I’m not sure what is going on with Spencer, but both of his routines seems sort of tame. Very Season 1 SYTYCD. (Go back and watch Season 1 routines in comparison to the past several seasons and you will see what I mean) Like Sonya, I was a bit underwhelmed. For their sakes, I hope people remember that Travis routine over this. Ryan & Ricky DANCE 1: Choreographer:Spencer Liff Style: Broadway I didn’t get a lot out of this routine. I felt that the choreography was a little too subtle for the show and that neither Ryan or Ricky seemed too interested in doing more with it than the minimum. You could tell from the audience reaction it wasn’t a hit because it took them awhile to even start to cheer. Jesse felt the same way and got his first boo. (I love this has become a thing with the new judges) And Sonya put it nicely: no matter what you get, execution is key. It doesn’t matter if Spencer decided to just have them do kicks across the stage – they can give it something more. This time they didn’t. DANCE 2: Choreographer: Louis Van Amstel Style:Cha-Cha Given how off their first performance was, I was shocked at how much they put into this routine. They seemed to be really enjoying the challenge/sexiness of ballroom. They were relatively pretty spot-on with the style, especially Ricky. Nigel pointed out that Ryan overdid it a bit, and I think that is probably true, but overall it was a lot better than the Broadway. But, let’s be honest, it isn’t looking good for these two this week. Caitlynn & Mitchell DANCE 1: Choreographer: Christopher Scott Style: Hip-Hop This dance was dedicated to the Invisible Children. For those of you who were fans of Veronica Mars, you may be familiar with it, as both Kristin Bell and Ryan Hansen are very involved with this organization and it even served as a background for a case of the week in season 3. And because of that I really wanted to love it. But I just thought it was okay. They weren’t really in sync and it made it hard to stick with the emotion of the dance because I kept noticing where they weren’t matching up. It didn’t have as much meaning as I would have liked, but more than that, as the judges also pointed out, it wasn’t in unison, so the lack of story didn’t matter. DANCE 2: Choreographer: Travis Wall Style: Contemporary Another angry routine from Travis tonight. It includes a slap, which Caitlynn had issues with – it was very cute when Travis was yelling at her. (Yes, I have problems) What Caitlynn didn’t have problems with: any of the rest of the routine. Damn, she was on fire with this one. And Mitchell was right there with her. It was so naughty and harsh and sad. Once again – Travis shows what a fearless and powerful piece of choreography can do for the dancers. These two didn’t do much with the first routine, but they made up for it here. Really well done. Melanie & Marko DANCE 1: Choreographer: Louis Van Amstel Style: Tango Melanie tweeted often this week that one of their dances was giving her a real challenge, and this was it. It was their first time taking on ballroom. While I can’t speak of it too much from a technical stand-point, I will say that it smoldered as a tango should. Plus the bit where he hung her off the stage and that last little flip/lift – both so strong and phenomenal. If this is what happens when they are challenged, I don’t even know how they don’t wind up in the top 4. I’m so nervous as to what will happen when they are broken up next week. I hope they get fantastic All-stars! The judges are all praise and excitement. Mary points out some technical issues, but says for 7 hours – it’s amazing. DANCE 2: Choreographer: Dee Caspray Style: Contemporary The last Melanie & Marko routine…. Oh no!! But what a way to end it! Wow. It was another gorgeous routine. Jesse’s said “my mind has been blown” and then just sputtered out some incoherent words. I don’t think I have much to add to it. It was perfection. And Nigel said what I have been thinking – while I’m excited for the all-stars, I’m so sad these two are breaking up. They move together like they were meant to dance as partners always. The dance, which just surrounded a light bulb – such a simple concept – was so deep and moving. It was breathtaking. I will be watching it often. Jess & Clarice DANCE 1: Choreographer: Christopher Scott Style: Lyrical Hip-Hop Here it is. The moment I’ve been waiting for. Jess doing hip-hop. But damn if he didn’t actually do a good job. Seriously – I actually get annoyed with this kid because he is so talented. And unlike like the last hip-hop routine, these two are in sync the whole time. They get the characters and they dance together, not just in the same space. I really loved the sweetness of the routine. Jesse asks Clarice if she has a boyfriend, she says yes and he says, “so do I, but we should get married.” Adorable. I really liked it. Also – I want to know who painted the picture of Clarice, and I hope that they let her keep it. DANCE 2: Choreographer: Tony Meredith and Melanie Lapatin Style: Jive Jess brought a lot of his broadway background to this jive which helped him out. Overall, I thought it was pretty good. They didn’t seem to be connecting as much as they had previously, but their kicks were fantastic. As Nigel points out, his lifts are awkward (the boy is small). Ok…… I have to move away from this because I just got so excited. So, the kids did fine, lets move on. As Jesse was judging the final routine he said that NEIL PATRICK HARRIS was going to be coming on the show!! WHAT?? YES! I started to squeal and jump around on the couch. I apologize in advance for my behavior that week. Also, Jesse said that Cat Deeley should be nominated tomorrow morning for an Emmy and I Could. Not. Agree. More. She is one of my favorite reality hosts ever. (Top 3 with TJ Lavin and Chris Harrison, but that’s another blog post…) Fingers crossed. Tomorrow’s post will also include reaction to whatever noms this show gets. (Between elimination, allstars and this, it will be a packed post!) So Bottom 3: Ryan & Ricky, definitely. As for the other two, honestly, it’s anyone’s guess. My two guesses, and I am saying now, I have no real reasoning behind these choices: Jordan & Tadd and Caitlynn & Mitchell. But seriously. I could have picked names out of a hat. A hat that did not include Melanie & Marko, obviously. What did you think? And did everyone else just love Jesse as a guest judge? He was sassy, funny, not afraid to critique and an obvious fan. They can bring him back anytime. Although he seemed to have so much fun, he may not leave anyway. Also, I liked Sonya. She just really loves dance and it showed in how she critiqued it. I bet her journal entries are madness! Written by Melissa Miller. Find her on Twitter @serrae Read Small Screen Scoop for all your So You Think You Can Dance Season 8 goodies.


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