'So You Think You Can Dance' Recap: The Top 8 Dance
'So You Think You Can Dance' Recap: The Top 8 Dance
Laurel Brown
Laurel Brown
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Only 8 remain...

After last week's not-terribly-surprising results, Clarice and Mitchell said goodbye to So You Think You Can Dance and narrowed the competition down to only four girls and four guys. And that number will only diminish further after tonight's performances. We're almost to the finals!

But not yet.

That's not to say that the Top 8 will not be surrounded by spectacle as they perform. Far from it this is the long-anticipated week when one Lady Gaga will appear as the SYTYCD guest judge! Joining her at the judge's table will be Rob Marshall, the director of Chicago and an Emmy-winning choreographer.

In addition to the guest judges, the All-Stars are back. This week's returning dancers are:

  • Pasha Kovalev
  • Ivan Koumaev
  • Anya Garnis
  • Jaimie Goodwin
  • Lauren Gottlieb
  • Neil Haskell
  • Ade Obayomi
  • Lauren Froderman

It's going to be interesting. So let's get to it!

A dozen dances tonight? An even dozen? Actually, that kind of makes sense.

Now onto the important part -- What is Lady Gaga wearing? I suppose it's fairly conservative for her, but still... It's very colorful. Although I wonder how she'll be able to see the dancers with the shades on.

Sasha and Pasha
Heehee. That rhymes. They're dancing a Jonathan Roberts-choreographed quickstep to start off the show.

This is a more eccentric quickstep than I've often seen before. But it does suit Sasha better than a standard might. She's surprisingly got the right attitude for this kind of dance. Especially since it's kind of odd. And Pasha looks great, of course.

Nigel: "You are my favorite dancer in the competition -- by a hair's breadth." "I've got to say that routine was tremendous."
Mary: "Honestly, Sasha, I don't know how you cope with a dance like the quickstep... but you absolutely pulled it off tonight." "You're body position has honestly been the best this season..."
Gaga: "Sasha, I think you are as shiny on the outside as you are on the inside." "I thought that you nailed it, I really do."
Rob: "Sasha, you are astonishing." "You're easily one of my favorites for sure."

Caitlynn and Ivan
Caitlynn and Ivan have a hip-hop routine choreographed by Marty Kudelka.

Uh-oh. Dark lighting and a bad connection on my part might make this one tough to judge. This does look good, although it's one of those hip-hop routines that doesn't have quite as much going on as some. Caitlynn does look pretty good -- she'd be a star out at a club. But I don't know that there was enough for an audience to love.

Nigel: "You just need to open your legs a little more, get a firmer base..." "Besides that, sweetheart... you stayed in this and you played the part really well."
Mary: "Caitlynn... was it brilliant for me, no. But you really hung in there..."
Gaga: "The connection that the two of you had was really magical." "You really brought it to life, and I thought you did a wonderful job."
Rob: "I though you did great. I thought it was a beautiful style for you." "The only thing I would say is lose yourself in the dance."

Jordan and Ade
They've got a Tyce Diorio jazz routine this week.

The parts where Ade is holding Jordan are awfully cool. And that seems to be about half the dance, so good on the choreography. It's hard to tell in this case if they're dancing anything difficult. There are a lot of starts and stops that sort of make it tough to tell. But I'm going to guess complicated. Complicated and pretty good.

Nigel: "Is there anything that little body can't do?! I mean, it's so pliable! It was just such a fun routine."
Mary: "You flourish under these strong female roles, and it just gets better every week."
Gaga: "Honey, you give me so much hope." "You are so fabulous, and all I could stare at was your legs."
Rob: "You are what I love. You're what I love because you do it with such abandon." "If I could scream like Mary, I would."

Melanie and Neil
They've got a contemporary routine from Mandy Moore.

Uh oh. Is Neil going to break Melanie? The opening seems to suggest that. There is a lot of spinning happening on the stage right now. Also a lot of falling. There may be a few moments when they don't move quite as smoothly as they might. But the rest of the dance makes up for it. And that leap into Neil's arms? OMG! Wow.

Nigel: "I warned Sasha that I'm fickle and I may change my mind. I changed my mind and you are now again my favorite dancer."
Mary: "The way you just threw yourself too... It was fearless! Absolutely fearless!" "I certainly would not be surprised if this number was up for an Emmy."
Gaga: "My hat is off to you, baby. Listen, you are my favorite in this competition. And I would hire you tomorrow to dance on my tour all around the world."
Rob: "It's just poetic what you do... Just watching you is like magic." "You let go of the dance, and you were an actress."

Ricky and Anya
They've got a jive this week, choreographed by Jason Gilkison.

They look OK in this, although unfortunately Anya is more notable than Ricky here. That's not the best thing now that we're doing the All-Stars. Granted, the move, where Ricky went over Anya's shoulders was significantly awesome. He does seem to be keeping up, but there isn't enough personality in this dance to really suck me in. Good but not the greatest.

Nigel: "I did feel as though you were too tall, as Rob said you needed to get down more."
Mary: "I wasn't really quite sure in the beginning... but as you went along... everything started getting better." "I'm very happy -- it was very tough stuff."
Gaga: "I love that your high, I love that you're up there, because that's just you."
Rob: "His smile just lights up this whole room!" "Those legs go flying and your technique is just out of this world."

Jess and Lauren
The pair have a Nappy-Tabs hip-hop routine tonight.

Ah, it's heavy on the acting. That's always good for Jess. In the first few seconds, acting is most of what he's doing. Good, but probably not what the judges are looking for. His dancing, however, looks pretty good when he gets to do it. Pretty nice overall.

Nigel: "I think you've matured significantly." "You did not overplay it."
Mary: "Jess, I want to say to you, progress." "As good as Lauren is -- and she's really good -- you were really good tonight too."
Gaga: "I have so much respect for you." "Your performance outshined all of those things, and I think that's why I didn't like them so much."
Rob: "That was simple and pure and beautiful, Jess."

Tadd and Lauren
They have a contemporary dance from Mandy Moore. It's a heist!

Awesome beginning. Tadd lost his hat. Uh oh. That was probably unplanned, but I don't know how he would have kept it all along. I'm not sure that I'm getting the story, but that was a pretty cool dance and the performers looked good.

Nigel: "This style suits you so much." "Somehow you pick the style up, you absorb it like a sponge... You will not be biting the dust this week."
Mary: "You definitely but the C on cool up there." "When you swag it's like nobody else on this show."
Gaga: "I really loved the styling, it really was perfect."
Rob: "The mark of a real pro is when you do lose your hat or you do get socked in the face... you keep going."

Marko and Allison
Allison wasn't announced. Guess there was a change. Anyway, she and Marko are dancing a contemporary performance choreographed by Sonya Tayeh.

Cool tumble at the beginning there. This is all very understated, but nice. Sorry. Would have written more, but too busy watching the dancing. It was that kind of dance.

Nigel: "I think we have just seen a moment here that is more than the competition."
Mary: "Whoa boy. That was amazing. We use that word a lot, and we just can't say it enough." "You are by far and still my favorite dancer on the show."
Gaga: "I'm just so proud of you." (and then tears)
Rob: "It's so fluid and so beautiful. I mean, you're technique is ridiculous."

And with the introduction of Marko's mom from Guam, everybody dissolves into tears.

Caitlynn and Tadd
They have a foxtrot from Jonathan Roberts.

OK, Caitlynn has all the presence in the universe for a dance like this. Before she took a step, she looked amazing. I have absolutely no clue if they're dancing this right, but it looks good to me. Very fun and all classy. This is just like an old movie right now. Awesome.

Nigel: "I wanted to get up there and dance with you."
Mary: "It was beautiful, it was elegant -- I still need more power through that base."
Gaga: "I just really loved it." "You know what I just loved was that lean-back and 'Hello! I'm a star!"
Rob: "Well, that was just sparkling -- sparkling from beginning to end."

Marko and Ricky
The boys have a hip-hop routine from Napoleon and Tabitha Dumo. And they're janitors!

Uh-oh. With the hats, it's hard to figure out which is which. So no individual critique here. This is a cute number. The two guys aren't perfectly in sync, which detracts from the performance a little. But only a little. They definitely managed to get some good tricks in there.

Nigel: "It was a lot of fun... I can't believe, Marko, how nasty you got in there. Ricky, you're still a bit high for me." "I think you both cleaned up tonight!"
Mary: "I guess it's no secret I loved it!" "If everybody could dance with brooms like that, this would certainly be a cleaner world."
Gaga: "I think you're both incredible dancers, and I thought it was amazing."
Rob: "You know what astonishes me is your range."

Jordan and Jess
They have a rumba from Jason Gilkison. And what was Cat yelling about as it went to the rehearsal clip?

Wow, Jess is small. The arms at the beginning don't quite work for me, but the sexy-dancing is very good. Jordan has way more to do in this than Jess. Also, she's wearing a bright red dress that is way easier to notice. The speeding up of the dance in the middle really helps to sell it. There is definitely fire involved in all of this -- don't know if it's the lighting, the choreography, the dancing or just the costumes. But it's fiery.

Nigel: "I didn't feel the chemistry in this routine at all, I'm afraid." "It wasn't my favorite routine tonight, I'm afraid."
Mary: "That was one of the best lifts all season!" "What was lacking for me was... if you had more time to develop that elasticity..."
Gaga: "There was nothing wrong with it. There were so many beautiful moments... I just would have interpreted this song differently."
Rob: "I thought you brought out the best in each other, I have to say." "I see big theater careers for both of you."

Sasha and Melanie
Is this even fair, putting two front runners like this together? And they got a jazz routine from Sonya Tayeh.

They're very green. Then that away. After that they're just fast and kind of incredible. It's a neat routine, and the two dancers somehow match super-well. It's almost like a fight for dancing superiority out there, even thought there's no way either could win in that. Nutty and awesome.

Nigel: "It was fantastic. It really was." "There is a sliver of tissue paper between the two of you, who is the better dancer." "I think one of the pair of you -- either one of you -- could be this year's champion."
Mary: "Talk about strength and power! My goodness, you guys, you just brought it."
Gaga: "In the dance community, when you do a really good job, you throw your shoe on the stage." "That was the performance of the evening." "That was the future, and that's all that matters."
Rob: "That was unbelievable. And to end the show that way..."

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Which dances were your favorite? Who is safe, and who should be worried? How scary were Lady Gaga's shoes? Leave your comments below! 

(Image courtesy of FOX)