And then there were six.

With 14 dancers eliminated, only six SYTYCD competitors — Caitlynn Lawson, Marko Germar, Melanie Moore, Ricky Jaime, Sasha Mallory and Tadd Gadduang — remain in contention for positions in the season 8 finale. Which dancers will step into the finale spotlight and which will fall short? We’ll get some idea tonight!

'So You Think You Can Dance' Recap: The Top 6 Dance

In the meantime, the spectacle of So You Think You Can Dance continues with this week’s crop of guest judges and All-Stars. Sitting in with Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe at the judges’ table this week are Lil C and actress Christina Applegate. I wonder if they’ll let her promote Up All Night, since that will be airing on NBC?

On the All-Star side of things, tonight’s returning dancers are:

  • Pasha Kovalev
  • Twitch Boss
  • Jaimie Goodwin
  • Janette Manrara
  • Ellenore Scott
  • Kent Boyd

Who will pair with whom? What dances will we see? Let’s find out!

Oh right, National Dance Day. Did anybody dance? I have to admit I didn’t. Of course, it’s probably best for the world that I don’t dance in public. Of course, the physicists at CERN submitted a video. Now I feel ashamed.

Anyway, it’s time for the real dancers to go.

Melanie and Twitch
They’ll be doing some Nappy-Tabs hip hop. This could be interesting… Especially with the Little Red Riding Hood theme.

Ooh! Tree! You know, considering her appearance, they should have probably gone with Snow White for Melanie. Wow, this is the weird, jerky type of hip hop. Emphasis on weird. And Melanie seems to be doing awfully well with it. She’s at least keeping up with Twitch on the various moves and performances. And hey! Little Red Riding Hood won!

Nigel: “What people aren’t realizing that she’s good at everything, for goodness sake.” “This is the first time we’ve seen Melanie’s teeth and claws!”
Mary: “Shirley Temple could never dance like you danced just now — you were on fire!” “I felt like you were hard-hitting.” “I don’t think that there’s anything that you can’t do, honestly.”
Lil C: “That’s a difficult piece of music to dance to, and the moves are so fast.” “In the beginning, it was shaky, but from that point on, you went up… Buckness.”
Christina: “You give me hope, Melanie.” “In this, you were breaking hearts, you were so evil.” “When you started getting into that strut, you were breaking hearts, you were so evil.”

OMG! There’s going to be whacking! Is that seriously a thing now? Yay!

Sasha and Kent
They’ve got a dance choreographed by Tyce Diorio.

Why exactly is Sasha so emotional in the rehearsals? No hiding Sasha, Kent! I don’t know how I feel about the generic photography background as a prop. But the dance does look good. And they’re making good use of it — especially when Sasha was upside-down against it. Not all of this dance seems connected, but I’m guessing that that’s the point, especially since they’re totally connected at the rest of the time. Ending upside-down is pretty darn cool too.

Nigel: “I hope this isn’t just about your life… Because if it is, my God, you’ve lived an incredibly emotional life.” “You’ve gone back to being my favorite dancer.”
Mary: “That was absolutely intoxicating, for sure. From just the very second you started.” “Your technique is amazing…”
Lil C: “OK, whoo! I’m actually trying not to cry, to be honest.” “I felt like you were speaking to me the whole time.” “I love the way you dance, I would give anything to have worked with you this season.”
Christina: “You put your finger against a wall, and you break my heart! That’s dance.” “Something’s hurt you, and I thank you for sharing that with us.” “I don’t even know what Kent was doing.”

Marko and Janette
They have a paso doble, choreographed by Dmitry Chaplin.

Awww… Why ruin the topless Marko with a jacket? Marko sort of disappears into the matador character here (thus showing the difference between him and Melanie, who makes every character into her). It’s hard to tell with a paso doble, whether it’s going well or not, but the dance does look good, and Marko seems to be keeping up well. I liked it, although there was nothing to catch onto as amazing.

Nigel: “It left me a little cold tonight, I’m afraid…” “I wanted a little more passion, I wanted something other than I got there.”
Mary: “The style, the arrogance… the way you started out was absolutely spot-on.” “That trick for me is going to go down as another spectacular trick on this show.”
Lil C: “It was a pleasure for me to watch you within this routine.” “I love the way when you establish your dominance, it’s all about your crotch.”
Christina: “I’m a huge fan of yours, I think you are a beautiful dancer. I loved your bravado.”

Ricky gets his solo now, right after a tribute from his loving mom.

Tadd and Ellenore
Sonya Tayeh choreographed this one. There seems to be a lot of kissing and stuff.

This seems to be a weird combination of a silent movie and people having sex. Only way more artistic. There is some very cool use of a chandelier and a chair, with both dancers essentially writhing all over in a ridiculously rhythmic way. I don’t know if I can describe the dance, but I kind of loved it.

Nigel: “Wow, there were some interesting positions in that one, weren’t there?” “It was… It was… It was! I think I would have liked to see a little more dancing.”
Mary: “I think your ability is extraordinary.” “You’re still growing.”
Lil C: “Good piece, very interesting, but… you gotta make each move last a lifetime. When you guys were interacting, I felt like you were just going through the motions.”
Christina: “First I just want to say, get a room.” “I thought it was remarkable. I loved it. I like the dirtier side of dance sometimes.”

Caitlynn gets her solo now. Apparently, her father works on oil rigs.

Ricky and Jaimie
They have a dance choreographed by Dee Caspary this week. There are sticks involved.

Sticks or no, they start off looking all tangled in a cool way. Beyond that, they don’t necessarily look totally connected at all times. Also, I totally don’t get the sticks. Still, the dancing is beautiful and extremely emotional. It’s one of those rare dances where the man and the woman are equally visible throughout the motions. Oh, and now the sticks are gone.

Nigel: “I thought the routine was lovely.” “My one thing with you… you are such a high dancer, I want you to feel it more down here.”
Mary: “It was just really beautiful, free-flowing movement that you were producing tonight.” “I think you saved yourself again.”
Lil C: “Congratulations on dancing with a prop.” “What a magically magnificent puppeteer of physically rhythmic artistry you are.”
Christina: “The only thing I could ever say to you… sometimes you don’t dance with the clearest intention.” “I think that would take you up this other notch.”

Tadd has his solo next. He wants you to call. A lot.

After that (and a commercial), it’s Sasha‘s turn for a solo.

Caitlynn and Pasha
They’ve got a samba, choreographed by Dmitry Chaplin. There is a lot of sexy required for this.

This is a very jerky samba. Is that too much jerkiness? Or is that right for the samba? It’s definitely a fast and hardcore samba. Plus, it makes Caitlynn look not even a little bit cute. She doesn’t look exactly right to me, but since this is ballroom, that probably means she’s doing it exactly right. Honestly, the dance routine itself isn’t all that enthralling. But the dancing was good.

Nigel: “Be careful. You don’t have to pull sexy faces, sweetheart. You are a sexy girl!”
Mary: “By God, that was better, wasn’t it Nigel?” “You did pull your face around too much, but your body was dancing.”
Lil C: “You danced it amazingly, for me.” “As far as sexy is concerned, you want to swan-dive in it and not canon ball.”
Christina: “I thought you did really well! Oh my God!” “I don’t know much what the terminology is, but the thing with the knees… it looked really good.”

Marko and his very emotional mother have the solo stage next. It’s nice to see a dancer singing along with the music.

Melanie follows with the last solo. And, as usual, owns the stage. Seriously. Standing ovation for a 30-second solo.

Sasha and Ricky
This time they have whacking (wacking? waaking? whahckyng?). Yay! The choreographer is Kumari Suraj. It’s been around since the 1970s? Wow.

This is a weirdly rectangular dance. Seriously — all of the movements make them look like quadrilaterals. It’s kind of cool, even though it’s totally confusing. The two dancers don’t seem to be perfectly in sync, but they are close. Sasha may be dominating. She always seems to do that… My one real issue with the dance is that they don’t need each other in any way for that performance. Dancers or choreography?

Nigel: “I don’t think the whacking was lacking anything.” “I enjoyed the fun of this.” “Sasha, wow… You were fabulous in that.”
Mary: “You guys did a really great job. Will I say it at really that level? Not really as Princess Lockeroo.” “Was the whacking slacking a little bit? Maybe just a pinch.”
Lil C: “This is such a funky style, and it’s so glamorous and so sassy… I would have liked to see you guys enjoy it more.” “You’ve got to channel that femininity.” “Great job.”
Christina: “I did enjoy it.” “Both of you I thought did a great job. The only thing I can think of — and this is going to sound wrong — is you could have whacked it harder.”

Melanie and Tadd
They have a Broadway routine, choreographed by Spencer Liff. That’s a lot of story for one short dance.

OK, is it good or bad that, from the first movement, I believe both of the dancers in their roles? You know it’s well-choreographed when a complicated story comes out so fast. Tadd isn’t quite as dominating a presence as Marko was, so Melanie is sort of more noticeable. But both were great. That may be my favorite dance so far tonight…

Nigel: “Not only are you the original beast this season, you are an incredible actress.” “You have gone back up to being my favorite dancer.” “Tadd… To say you didn’t suck is a compliment… You are outstanding in what you do as well.”
Mary: “America really has fallen in love with both of you, and that’s why you’re here.”
Lil C: “If Tadd doesn’t want you after that, I know there are millions of men in America who will fill in.” “That was so technical, but that was so sensual at the same time.”
Christina: “You remind me of Donna… in A Chorus Line, but so much better!” “Tadd, again, who are you? Why do you have a better port-a-bras than most ballet dancers?”


Caitlynn and Marko
Sonya Tayeh choreographed their jazz routine.

Yep. Not sexy and nice at all. There’s abuse going on on this stage. It’s not even pretty. Emotional, yes. But not pretty. It may be beautiful though. It’s certainly athletic and all over the place. They’re pulling off a story that you want neither of them to win. Is it good to have a dance where you kind of hate (but love) both dancers at the end?

Nigel: “Caitlynn, you came of age tonight. You should us how mature you could be.” “Marko, you show that every single time you walk on that stage. You’re sensational!”
Mary: “This was one of your best numbers, Caitlynn, ever. In this whole series!” “This time, you brought the true grit to it.” “Marko… you’re just fearless. You’re not afraid of anything! I love you.”
Lil C: “This routine was buck, but it was double-hashtag buck.” “So reckless, so convicted, it was murderous. I loved it.”
Christina: “Um. Wow. First of all… wow.” “Caitlynn… That was your moment. That was your time.”

And that is it for the Top 6 dances. Wow. Impressive night — my favorites and least favorites were separated by only a hair. I’m really not sure who will be in the finals. You know, other than Melanie.

Which dances were your favorites? Who has the best chances of getting into the finale? Who will go home just short of the final week?

(Image courtesy of FOX)

Laurel Brown

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Laurel grew up in Mamaroneck, NY, Grosse Pointe, MI and Bellevue WA. She then went on to live in places like Boston, Tucson, Houston, Wales, Tanzania, Prince Edward Island and New York City before heading back to Seattle. Ever since early childhood, when she became addicted to The Muppet Show, Laurel has watched far too much TV. Current favorites include ChuckModern FamilySupernaturalMad Men and Community. Laurel received a BA in Astrophysics (yes, that is possible) from Colgate University and a PhD in Middle Eastern Studies and History of Science from Columbia University before she realized that television is much better than studying.