SYTYCD Season 8: Top 8 Performances

Dear Skeletor, why on earth do we still need to have a two-hour performance episode when we’re down to the top eight dancers?! I understand that each performer is dancing with an all star, but seriously, cut out the nonsense filler and give us the content we REALLY want to see – DANCING!

Holy SHIT I forgot LADY GAGA was a guest judge this week! YES! YES! YES!!! I will actually be listening to the commentary this week, just to see what she has to say about the different dancers and routines. That is, unless it ends up being incoherent nonsense and then I’ll just start fast-forwarding again! Did you see Gaga’s outfit?! It was AMAZEBALLS to the MAX! OH MY GOD I LOVE HER SO MUCH!! Mary Murphy, Skeletor and the second guest judge joined her for the week, the pumpkin, Rob Marshall. Did you see his spray tan?! Tonight is going to be amazing.

Sasha Mallory (& Pasha Kovalev)

Genre: Quickstep
Song: “Puttin’ On the Ritz” – Terry Snyder
Choreographer: Jonathan Roberts

We immediately jumped into the dancing with Sasha up first, partnered with all star Pasha to tackle a Jonathan Roberts Quickstep. Oh no, I really hope this isn’t the kiss of death for her this week, as it has been for so many contestants in past seasons. This style is just dreadful! And sadly, Sasha looked incredibly clumsy in this piece. Pasha definitely helped to carry her along in this piece, and for the first time this season I was let down with her performance. The music definitely didn’t help the number either! Did anyone watching truly enjoy this piece? If so, I want to hear from you! What did Lady Gaga have to say? She thought Sasha was as shiny on the inside as she is on the outside and really enjoyed her interpretation and strangeness, but wanted her to be a little looser.

Caitlynn Lawson (& Ivan Kouamev)

Genre: Hip-hop
Song: “Let Me Love You” – Mario
Choreographer: Marty Kudelka

The second couple to hit the stage was Caitlynn, partnered with all star Ivan (OH EM GEE I LOVE HIM), dancing a Hip Hop routine. OH SNAP, Ivan’s got tattoos now too! The song choice was brilliant; Let Me Love You by Mario. I had a feeling right from the start that this routine was going to be sick, and while I was biased due to the sexiness on the stage, I really enjoyed this lyrical Hip Hop choreography. The mild references to Michael Jackson were subtle, yet beautifully added in. Man oh man, I could definitely handle seeing more of Ivan back in this competition! Caitlynn was fantastic in this number as well, and I’m really proud of both of these kids! Great job!! What did Lady Gaga have to say? SHE SLAMMED NIGEL for his comment about telling Caitlynn to ‘open her legs a little bit more’. AMAZING! Gaga called Caitlynn out for being extremely sexy, the connection with Ivan was magical, thought she brought the routine to life, but didn’t like how Caitlynn would stop in the movement instead being more fluid. Dang, she had a lot to say!

Jordan Casanova & (Ade Obayomi)

Genre: Jazz
Song: “Nutbush City Limits” – Tina Turner
Choreographer: Tyce Diorio

Up next to perform was Jordan performing with all star Ade (another person favorite), tackling a Tyce Diorio routine. Seriously, Tyce is back again for another week, with Jazz this time? The only thing noteworthy about this piece was Jordan’s assisted sideways split (which totally looked like she popped her cooch something fierce) and Ade’s split leap and aerial. To be honest, I truly feel this will be the first forgotten routine of the night. I sadly think that Tyce’s routines are now becoming the new kiss of death. What did Lady Gaga have to say? Gaga thanked Jordan for giving her hope, as she flashed her INCREDIBLE red boots that added at least an additional foot of height to Gaga’s length. Even better, she referred to the boot as a ‘fashion catheter’ so she won’t have to leave to go to the washroom throughout the show. Love it! At this point, I really hope that Gaga is allowed to have a drink during the commercial break to keep the brilliant comments coming all night long!

Melanie Moore (& Neil Haskell)

Genre: Contemporary
Song: “Total Eclipse of the Heart” – Bonnie Tyler
Choreographer: Mandy Moore

Up next was my girl Melanie, paired with my boy, Neil, dancing a Mandy Moore Contemporary routine! FUCK YEAH! I am SO SO SO excited for this routine! The number was performed to Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler, and from the first look on Melanie’s face, I was swept up in the moment of the dance. Neil being shirtless didn’t hurt either! Wow. I don’t even know where to begin. The highlight of the routine was Melanie’s running leap into Neil’s arms near the end of the routine. I let out an audible noise that loosely resembled a gasp. The entire time I continually pictured Lady Gaga doing a remake of this song, and these two dancers starring in the music video. Another note about the couple, they matched each other’s abilities perfectly. The connection was out of this world! I also adored that out of the pair, Neil was the one with the longer hair. It’s an odd thing to note, but so rare in the dance world, I thought I should! Loved this number, without a critic to come by. What did Lady Gaga have to say? After her standing ovation (yes, in her ridiculously tall heels, towering over all the other judges) she had nothing but praise for Melanie. She took her hat off to Melanie, and crowned her as her favorite dancer in the competition AND invited her to dance with her on tour. WOW! I would drop dead hearing that from someone so glorious.

SIDE NOTE: It was really awkward how Skeletor announced that Ellen was in the house, sitting in the audience with her partner Portia. Clearly Ellen was caught off guard and looked like a hot mess! Did no one tell her she would be on camera at some point in the episode?!

Ricky Jaime (& Anya Garnis)

Genre: Jive
Song: “River Deep, Mountain High” – Celine Dion
Choreographer: Jason Gilkison

The first male dancer of the night was Ricky, dancing with all star Anya, taking on the Jive. Ugh. How do we go from Melanie’s routine to the Jive?! Honestly, I was pretty excited to see Anya back in the mix, as I have always loved her spiciness! My only complaint and critic for Ricky is that I really wanted him to open up more, as he steps felt very controlled and contained. I felt that any second he was going to break free, let loose and really throw his limbs around and it just never got to that stage. The lifts were a little sketchy too! I really don’t know how America is going to respond to this performance. What did Lady Gaga have to say? She has a sweet spot for Ricky, but couldn’t explain why that is. She felt the routine was beautiful to watch, and enjoyed his quickness. My favorite comment was her saying this felt like watching Dancing with the Stars, and Ricky was the young fresh face, dancing with an older star! WOOF! BAM! OUCH!

Jess LeProtto (& Lauren Gottlieb)

Genre: Hip-hop
Song: “Take A Bow” – Rihanna
Choreographer: Nappytabs

The next boy to show his moves with an all star was Jess, dancing with Lauren, taking on a Tabitha & Napolean Hip Hop routine! AHH! The song, Take a Bow by Rihanna! OH NO, I LOVED THIS ROUTINE! Why couldn’t this have been ANY OTHER male dancer in the competition? Two weeks in a row I have to admit I like a routine that includes Jess!! To be honest, it largely had to do with the choreography, not necessarily him. Yeah, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! Ps. I love you Lauren – you were always one of my favorites! What did Lady Gaga have to say? She has a lot of respect for Jess as she too went to school for theatre. She DIDN’T like the props and choreography, but felt that Jess’ dancing outshone those pieces. Kudos Jess, job well done (believe me, that was really hard to type).

Tadd Gadduang (& Lauren Froderman)

Genre: Jazz
Song: “Another One Bites the Dust” – Queen
Choreographer: Mandy Moore

Up next was Tadd, dancing with SYTYCD season seven winner, all-star Lauren Froderman, performing a Mandy Moore Jazz routine. This has some mega potential, and I loved the music selection – Another One Bites The Dust by Queen. Hot damn did Lauren look good in her outfit, and sadly, that was enough of a distraction for me to watch her the entire routine instead of Tadd. Sorry bud, but you just aren’t standing out enough for me at this stage in the competition. Sure, I enjoyed your breaker tricks thrown into this routine, but I just couldn’t help but see that Lauren out danced you in this performance. What did Lady Gaga have to say? She thought the piece was amazing and loved the styling. She felt she was being ‘whomp whomp’ about the clothes (love) and decided to switch focus to the performance, which she thought was impressive and an inspiration.

Marko Germar (& Allison Holker)

Genre: Contemporary
Song: “I Know It’s Over” – Jeff Buckley
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh

The last male of the night was Marko, dancing with all-star Allison, performing a Sonya Tayeh Contemporary routine. Yes Marko, YES! And wow, Allison, you are absolutely phenomenal. The connection between these two dancers, and the flawless technique were so amazing, I literally had tears in my eyes from happiness after this performance. Chills, every few seconds. Immediately following the routine the cameras flashed to Lady Gaga, on her feet, with tears flowing down her cheeks (bawling). Fantastic job Allison, Marko and Sonja. I have no more words. What did Lady Gaga have to say? She was up first and could barely speak. Once she was able to gain composure, she simply stated how proud she was of Marko and referred to him as absolutely incredible. I couldn’t agree with you more Lady Gaga.

Caitlynn Lawson & Tadd Gadduang

Genre: Foxtrot
Song: “Top Hat, White Tie and Tails” – Ella Fitzgerald
Choreographer: Jonathan Roberts

The first partnership of the night sans all-stars was Caitlynn and Tadd tackling a FoxTrot. Oh no. While it was wildly obvious that Tadd has never trained in this style (and his feet were a hot mess), Caitlynn did an excellent job holding this together and Tadd did a strong job as a partner. I definitely think we’ll be seeing these two in the bottom this week, in large part due to this number. Unfortunately I really think ballroom is going to come back to haunt these two dancers. What did Lady Gaga have to say? She really loved it and wanted to rip the dress and flower right off Caitlynn’s body. Her only critic was directed at Caitlynn and her hands, that appear as if ‘she’s won a lot of trophies’ and recommended she put those trophies away and remind herself that she has to win all over again. Wow, what a tough jab Gaga! Caitlynn looked stunned! Brilliant!!

Marko Germar & Ricky Jaime

Genre: Hip-hop
Song: “Bad Boy For Life” – Diddy feat. Black Rob & Mark Curry
Choreographer: Nappytabs

Up next were the newly paired Marko and Ricky, taking on a Nappy Tabs Hip Hop routine. BOO YEAH, the first same sex couple dance of the season, and it’s Nappy Tabs too! The tandem back handsprings at the start of the routine were fantastic! In simple form, Marko nailed this routine. His swagger was ridiculous, and his ability to grind his hips was sick. Ricky on the other hand definitely struggled in the swaggered department and danced a little too high for my Hip Hop-liking. He also had a little flub with the cleaning rag prop, but all in all, Ricky rose to the occasion. What did Lady Gaga have to say? She thought both guys were incredible dancers and the piece was amazing. She even referred to the brooms as fabulous (of course she did). In her harsh fashion, Gaga flipped the switch and indicated she didn’t think the routine was genuine, it was a bit contrived and the props were just too much for her to handle, even though she herself LOVES a good prop.

SIDE NOTE: I love listening to Gaga’s critics and recapping them! I wish she was on the show every night! She’s really subdued Mary’s screaming and Skeletor’s unnecessary rants.

Jordan Casanova & Jess LeProtto

Genre: Rumba
Song: “Set Fire to the Rain” – Adele
Choreographer: Jason Gilkison

The next pairing was Jordan and Jess taking on a Jason Gilkinson Rhumba. Thankfully this piece was paired with an incredible song, to instantly up the likability, performed to Set Fire to the Rain by Adele. Adele’s voice just does something to me. Sadly, this routine did nothing for me. I’m not sure if the choreography was meant to be as slow as it was, but this routine felt like it endlessly started and stopped between nearly every step. I just wanted these two to dance the heck out of this song, and I just couldn’t get past the slowness. Weirdly, Skeletor didn’t like this piece and I agreed with his commentary. I know, I must be coming down with something. What did Lady Gaga have to say? There was nothing wrong with it. No joke, that’s how she started, and I love her for it. She felt there were some beautiful moments with a few peak, exciting moves. She also slammed the choreography and how the moves didn’t match the words of the song. EPIC!

Melanie Moore & Sasha Mallory

Genre: Jazz
Song: “Game On” – District 78
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh

If you’ve been paying attention, then you will realize that the last performance of the night would be showcasing Melanie and Sasha! Hands down, these are two of my favorite dancers in the competition and I was dying to see what they would do with a Sonya Tayeh Jazz routine. Are. You. Kidding. Me?! The technique in this piece was unparalleled in any other piece performed throughout the night. These two girls were SICK in their styling and synchronicity! I fucking loved this routine (I apologize for the language). Once again the judges were on their feet and Lady Gaga was smashing her bag on the judge’s desk! I loved the moment when the camera cut to the choreographer, Sonya, and she was mouthing the words, “Thank you so much” to Melanie and Sasha. Absolutely incredible. What did Lady Gaga have to say about the last performance of the night? She took her shoe off and threw it on the stage. She also told everyone else to pack up and go home, as that was the best performance of the night! Her glowing review was amazing and her reference to being ‘born this way’ was so fucking spot on, I loved it.

Wow. Wow. Wow. After that routine, I wouldn’t be surprised if Lady Gaga hires Sonya as a choreographer and Melanie and Sasha to dance in her videos/live shows.

After all these performances, I truly believe it will be Melanie and Marko who are safe, with the rest of the dancers performing solos.

The dancers leaving the competition, based on these performances and my predictions, will be Ricky & Caitlynn.

  • Terry Jaxxon

    DAN!!! Great to have you back. First up – I thought Gaga did a great job as a judge. In fact, I wish there was more of her and less of the tangerine at the other end. Besides, with mega-star Gaga as a judge, wouldn’t one want three judges like they did with NPH rather than competing celebrity judges?!?
    Loved the Ivan routine. He’s so sexy. I’d forgotten how good he was. Oh yeah, Caitlynn was there too. She was good, but the all-star outshined her. Jordan’s routine was ok. Agree Dan, her split-cooch assist was the best part…. sadly, just one move was memorable.
    Melanie and Neil. Well fuck me… the moment their pairing was announced, I was way too excited. And it lived up. Neil still is a favorite, and he just looked smokin HOT. Melanie for the win. Their chemistry was spot-on. And the running jump was the best move of the season for me. Daring, trusting, and Amazing. This routine was my favorite of the night. Deserved the ovation. Hell, I stood up too.
    Ricky — Gaga’s sweet spot and couldn’t place it – Puhleeeze. He’s gayer than a 5lb sack of gummi bears. He’ll be in the bottom. That lift with Anya that made her look like a sack of potatoes was dreadful.
    Marko and Allison’s chemistry was superb. Melanie and Sasha killed their routine. It was a highlight. I was thrilled to see them paired together. They definitely performed up to their potential. Magic.
    Bottom two guys for me: Ricky and Tadd. Ricky going home.
    Bottom two girls for me: Caitlynn and Jordon. Caitlynn going home.
    Side note: no apology necessary for the language. Honestly, it gives you personality….rather than a boring automaton writing a lifeless recap.

  • Mason

    Check out the close-ups of Gaga’s face. Definitely sporting an Amy Winehouse look. Tribute, perhaps?

  • Tyrell

    Also, did anyone notice the fly that was buzzing around the judges table last night? Pure hilarity.

  • Dan

    Terry – Thanks for the support! I’ll keep the flavor and language as part of my articles going forward!

    Mason – Good call, I hadn’t noticed until you pointed it out. I totally see a Winehouse tribute…

    Tyrell – I missed it!

  • Gabriel

    Neil is so DELICIOUS. He could totally hit it…

  • Robyn

    Dan I thought about you the whole time while I was watching the show… I knew you’d be as excited as I was. Once GaGa lost the glasses (made her sound too nasal) I was mesmerized by her. She was intelligent and professional. Did you catch the comment when she put her hand on Nigel’s shoulder and said “I love a good queen.”
    But it’s about the dancing and I cannot say it enough, Melanie is special, special, special. The running leap into Neil’s arms?!?! I can’t even…

  • Dan

    Robyn! I actually thought of you when Melanie flew through the air into Neil’s arms, no joke!

    I literally squealed and I envisioned you doing the exact same thing!

    When are you, Rich and I having a drink?!

  • CT

    I can’t believe this show is going to be over in two weeks! Couldn’t they start sending one person home a week at a certain point, like once they get to the top 6, just to make it last a little longer. Wednesdays I know I’m watching SYTYCD and Big Brother, but I’m not ready for Dance to be over. And like Nigel, I go back and forth between Melanie and Sasha as to who is my favorite. To bad Ricky is probably going home, I really wanted to see him dance with one of those two girls

  • Dan

    Hey CT – You can always check back here and start following the So You Think You Can Dance Canada version through my recaps. We have the videos, so you can extend your summer dance experience a little longer!

  • Robyn

    Oh Dan, so sweet. Well, I’m in town for Pride…

  • Dan

    Let’s make it happen!!