SYTYCD Season 8: Top 6 Performances

Holy time flying batman! We are ONE WEEK away from the finale week of So You Think You Can Dance season eight, and tonight’s performances and America’s votes will decide which dancers will make it through to dance for one last time, and which performers will be sent home a week before having their possible dreams come true. How’s that for dramatic?! I am SO excited to see who will be crowned this year’s winner! Like DYING. At this point, if it isn’t Melanie, I am going to be making some SERIOUS phone calls to my friends south of the border.

In equally amazing news; Christina Applegate was the guest judge this week! Seriously, if there is one thing Nigel Lythgo got right this year, it was the selection of the weekly guest judges. Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Neil Patrick Harris, Kristin Chenoweth, Lady Gaga and now Christina Applegate?! This has been a year for AMAZING critics and unexpected laughs. Keep it up for next season! Christina is joined this week by Lil’ C, Screamin’ Mary and Skeletor.

What I don’t love is that we have a two-hour episode dedicated to six dancers, but who knows, maybe I’ll be surprised. (Doubtful). Each dancer will be performing two routines in pairs, and their best solo. Sigh. So much dance, and so much to critic.

Melanie Moore (Stephen “Twitch” Boss)

Genre: Hip-hop
Song: “Roman’s Revenge” – Nicki Minaj feat. Eminem
Choreographer: Nappytabs

The performances opened with Melanie tackling a Nappy-Tabs Hip Hop routine, with all-star partner Twitch. The theme of the routine is a Little Red Riding Hood-esque with a twist. Holy shit this routine was radical! I loved the song combined with the incredibly hard-hitting beats and steps. Melanie pulled off the hardcore vibe like no one else could! The costumes and set was spot on, the synchronicity was perfect, and all I want to say to Melanie is keep this up and you’ll sail your way straight into a crowning title. Fast-forward to the judge’s critic and instantly cutie pie Melanie is right back in front of us. I love her ability to flip between hard and soft, and I ABSOLUTELY loved that Christina’s feedback reduced her to tears. I whole-heartedly fell in love with Melanie tonight.

SIDE NOTE: Did anyone else notice Mary’s boobies falling out of her dress?!

Sasha Mallory (Kent Boyd)

Genre: Contemporary
Song: “Fool of Me” – Me’shell Ndegeocello
Choreographer: Tyce Diorio

The second dancer to take to the stage was Sasha, tackling a Tyce Diorio Contemporary routine, performing with one of my favorite all-stars, Kent. I LOVE YOU KENT! Out of nowhere, BAM! Sasha is right back in the race. The lift against the wall is probably one of the most stunning lifts we have seen on this show in ages. On that note, the integration of the wall into this piece was absolutely effing brilliant. Every single move, leap, lift and touch against this wall was executed with stunning precision. Combine the dancers efforts and emotion with the song and that my friends is a recipe for success. Sasha, you are absolutely one of the best dancers and deserve to be in this competition. Additionally, I loved the strip down look of Sasha in her underwear. It was the perfect look to showcase the emotion of the piece without causing any form of distraction with overdone costumes. As for Kent, well the boy can do no wrong in my eyes. As for Christina’s critic, this time she brought tears to my eyes. Mary referred to this piece as a work of art, and I will happily agree with her words.

Marko Germar (Janette Manrara)

Genre: Paso Doble
Song: “Zorongo” (Traditional)—Antonia Gomez, Ely “La Gambita”, Guillermo Basilisco & Paco Peña
Choreographer: Dmitry Chaplin

The third routine of the night showcased Marko’s ability to dance the Paso Doble from SYTYCD alumni, Dmitry Chaplin, with all-star Janette. Eeks, this could be the first time of the season where we see a weakness in Marko! Was this the best we’ve seen from Marko this season? Definitely not. Did the boy hold his own in this style and put on a good show? Absolutely. His partnering appeared to be incredibly strong, especially during the double swinging lift, getting Janette from the ground to above his head twice in a row. There was a bit of a few sloppy steps in the footwork; however, from a passion and emotion standpoint, Marko nailed it. Overall, I am impressed with his ability to adapt to this style at this stage in the competition, knowing he had to learn SEVERAL routines this week. Fantastic job buddy!

Ricky was up next to perform his solo. Again, I won’t critic these moments as I truly believe they will all be absolutely fantastic and I’ll let each dancer shine, if only for thirty seconds, without my unnecessary banter.

Tadd Gadduang (Ellenore Scott)

Genre: Jazz
Song: “The Gulag Orkestar” – Beirut
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh

The next performance was Tadd taking on a Sonya Tayeh Contemporary routine with all-star Ellenore (OH EM GEE I almost forgot about her). Man was this piece eclectic. I’ll be honest (as always) and say I didn’t really like the integrationg of the chandelier. Sure, it added a rad Cirque du Soleil feel to the routine; however, it also prevented the dancers from actually DANCING. Tadd’s constant spinning while dangling from the light piece definitely looked spectacular, but I would hardly call it dancing. Also, I barely even noticed Ellenore in this piece at all. It definitely felt like a solo number with a female spotter, versus two people dancing together, but again that’s a fauly of the choreographer. I have no real critic for Tadd, as he definitely executed what he was asked to do, and brilliantly at that. The press to handstand on the chair was also sick! This was definitely NOT my favorite Sonya piece of the season…

Caitlynn was up next to perform her solo, after her emotional video with her family. Plus she danced to What’s Love Got To Do With It by Katie Thompson. EPIC!

Ricky Jaime (Jaimie Goodwin)

Genre: Contemporary
Song: “Inside These Lines” – Trent Dabbs
Choreographer: Dee Caspary

Ricky was then back on the stage performing a Dee Caspary Contemporary routine with all-star Jaimie. It’s terrible but I definitely did not recognize her…oops! As for the routine, I really wish Ricky wasn’t holding the sticks the entire time. I definitely didn’t understand why that was necessary and it really distracted me, as I was constantly looking at his hands instead of the actual dancers. Also, I felt Jaimie carried this routine, with her amazing technique and abilities. Out of all the contemporary routines so far tonight, I definitely felt this routine was the most forgettable. Sorry folks, but I don’t think it’s looking good for Ricky at this stage in the competition!!

Tadd was next to perform his solo and I definitely loved the music choice for his breaker number as well! Decent work kid! Sasha quickly followed suit with her solo and I was once again reminded why I love this girl (as a dancer especially).

Caitlynn Lawson (Pasha Kovalev)

Genre: Samba
Song: “Drop It Low” – (District 78 remix) Kat DeLuna
Choreographer: Dmitry Chaplin

The next pairing to hit the stage was Caitlynn, dancing the second piece of the night from Dmitry Chaplin, this time a Samba, with all-star Pasha. GIDDY UP! This piece was danced really well, so I want to star there. I was definitely entertained and was extremely impressed with Caitlynn in this style. On the flipside, I didn’t really see anything original in this routine that I felt hasn’t already been seen before, and with only one week left that’s really what I’m looking for now. As for the actual steps, I’m not sure what was happening with the stage but it appeared as if both Pasha and Caitlynn were sliding all over the stage. Again, I don’t think this piece is going to be one of the routines we’re remembering at the end of the night. Prove me wrong America!

Marko was up next to dance his solo, and boy oh boy was the intro clip with his mother adorable. Amazeballs. That’s all.

What could top Marko’s performance really? Melanie’s solo. Naturally. That was absolutely THE BEST FUCKING SOLO EVER. AND SHE PUT IT TOGETHER AT THE LAST MINUTE. I want the night to end here…but alas, we have a few more dances left.

Ricky Jaime & Sasha Mallory

Genre: Waacking
Song: “Schoolin’ Life” – Beyonce
Choreographer: Kumari Sulaj

The first contestant pairing of the night included Sasha and Ricky taking on a Whacking routine from Kumari Suraj. Rich, if you’re reading this, I am dedicating this routine to you. As for everyone else, you’re probably as confused as I am. I have no idea if this was danced well. I assume it was, but that it also could have been hit a little hardly with the arms and fists. But really, what do I know?! I liked the leaps and kicks throughout the routine, and the two were well synced, so in that regard they did well. Okay, I’m just going to end this here as I have no idea what to even say about it. Sorry!

Tadd Gadduang & Melanie Moore

Genre: Broadway
Song: “(Where Do I Begin) Love Story” (Away Team Remix) – Shirley Bassey
Choreographer: Spencer Liff

The next pairing was Melanie and Tadd, taking on a Spencer Liff Jazz routine. Dang this piece was good. The dancing was brilliant (naturally, as Melanie can do no wrong) and Tadd really stepped it up to the next level. I loved the use of the mirror and chair, and the integration of old-school Jazz steps. Each dancer held their own and ultimately danced their hearts out, I have no critics and only praise for both Melanie and Tadd. For once Tadd has proven his abilities, in my opinion, and I will tip my hat to him and say he is worthy of still being in the competition. Job well done kiddies.

Marko Germar & Caitlynn Lawson

Genre: Jazz
Song: “Heavy in Your Arms” – Florence and the Machine
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh

The final performance of the night was performed by Marko and Caitlynn, with them taking on another Sonya Tayeh performance. At this point I was definitely a little exhausted with all the dance, but so happy that this was the final routine. Marko, welcome to the wonderful world of incredible dancers. Caitlynn, thank you for being so incredibly strong and flawless in your technique. I am so impressed with this season’s top six dancers, I truly don’t know who will be heading home this week but I am happy to know that four of these people will be making it through to next week’s finale. Each and every one of you deserve to be here and are absolutely worthy of being here next week.

I refuse to make any predictions this week, as I don’t want to jinx anything. With that said, I’ll simply be grateful for an incredible night of dance and hope for the best for my personal favorite dancers.

MELANIE FOR THE WIN!

  • Robyn

    Loved and hated this episode Dan…
    Loved: Melanie(unstoppable), Melanie’s SOLO(speechless), Twitch(big and strong, kind of scares me), The Wall(wow, Tyce?!), Christina Applegate (adorable), Marko and Caitlyn(beautiful).
    Hated: “whacking”(what the hell?!), Nigel(old), Mary’s boobs (ew), The Sticks(why?), The Chandelier(limiting), The Paso(boring).
    I kind of wish that Melanie and Sasha were switched in their routines. Melanie and Kent and the Wall!? Come on…

  • ger

    My boyfriend has been away for 5 long weeks, and I thought I had become an expert at Whacking. After watching the show I learned I was doing it all wrong …

  • Terry Jaxxon

    Hey Dan!
    Apparently, Mary decided to bring her boobs to the show!! Christina Applegate was great as a judge.
    Melanie: Her solo, amazing. love the red riding hood concept. Melanie for the win.
    Sasha: also amazing. I think the wall was my favorite.
    Ricky: didn’t need to see his va jay jay with split pants in the solo; he’s great as a soloist, but weak at the others. hated the sticks. total distraction, weakened the piece.
    Tadd: totally agree Dan with your recap of their piece.
    As for whacking: it’s an off-shoot of voguing. It’s the snap and speed of the hands/arms. ((yep, it works for that whacking too. ))

  • Dan

    Robyn – love you. The one thing I really didn’t like was the amount of dancing we were forced to watch! I know it’s supposed to help showcase the dancers more, but I was just over it by the end.

    As for switching up Melanie and putting her in the wall routine, I think that might have been too much for my heart! I have now watched her solo six times.

    ger – keep it up!

    Terry – Good call out on Ricky’s jiggly bits being ALL over the place during his solo. I was too grossed out to include it in my recap.

    I think it’s going to be an interesting elimination tonight!

  • Melanie’s solo was the best part of the night… followed closely by the Wall routine. That will go down in history with some of the other really memorable prop numbers like The Bench (Travis and Heidi), The Table (Sabra and Neil) and The Door (Twitch and Katee).

    As for Waacking. That was really boring waacking. It is a really hard thing to do because the whole point is speed. If you want to see good waacking, YouTube Princess Lockeroo.

  • Mason

    Winner will be Melanie or Sasha, and that’s as it should be. Both of them are remarkable dancers in such different ways. When they danced together last week, I would look at one and think “she’s better,” then glance at the other and think exactly the same.

    That said, I am a huge Tadd fan, because he really is what the show was about in the early days: a dancer from nowhere and little if any formal training, with the ability to do a more than credible job with every style thrown at him.

    Anyone else notice that Mandy Moore (including SYTYCD Canada) and Tyce have stepped up their game this year?

  • Erin

    Dan, I love your reviews! I’ve adored Melanie from the very beginning, and definitely see her winning this season. Sasha runs a close second, and I think Marko is the only other one that comes close to their overall talent. I love Ricky and Tadd, but they just can’t match the amazing abilities that especially Melanie and Sasha have to really draw the viewer in and make them believe and feel the emotions. I’ve personally been over Caitlynn for a while now.

    Side note… I think you mean ‘critique’ (not ‘critic’)

  • Dan

    Rich – I definitely agree with you, I wish the whacking was faster and more hard hitting.

    Mason – For a while there Tyce was really stinking up the stage with his terrible choreography. These last two weeks have been his redemption, so I’ll give him a little credit. The wall routine is one I won’t be forgetting any time soon!

    Erin – yes, that is what I mean! I was definitely bit tired while proofing my article last night and I totally missed that one! Thanks for your support!!

  • CT

    Tyce tends to go good as long as he isn’t doing Broadway, which is supposed to be his speciality. I think Spencer Liff should be the new go to Broadway choreographer.
    And loved Mary’s Princess Lockeroo shout-out. They should bring her back!