SYTYCD: Top 8 Performances

Cat Deeley has opted for a sweet, simple outfit, so as not to compete with crazily dressed guest judge Lady Gaga. Rob Marshall is another guest judge. (Why do we need two guests? To fill time?) Lady Gaga is actually not as crazily dressed as she might be (though wearing sunglasses indoors seems like a bad plan, that theater is not very bright).

Sasha and Pasha are paired for a quickstep ballroom routine choreographed by Jonathan Roberts. It is meant to be a crazy character driven waltz. Sasha looks incredibly awkward in the beginning (almost like she and Pasha just aren’t the right sizes for each other or something. I don’t see the crazy characters there either. This might be Sasha’s worst performance of the season yet.
Judges Say:
Rob- Sasha is astonishing and beautiful and elegant. The genre doesn’t show off the things you do well.
Mary- You pulled it off. You create a fantastic vision. Best body position of anyone yet. Get knees softer.
Nigel- Sasha is his favorite dancer by a hair’s breath, at least this week. A little too stiff in the upper body line.
Gaga- Sasha is as shiny on the outside and the inside. Disagree with Nigel. The strange posture was interesting. Maybe could have been a little looser.

Caitlynn
is paired with all star Ivan for a hip hop routine with Marty Kudelka about a girl sick of her boyfriend and swept off her feet by another guy.The routine starts way too slowly but it clear that Caitlynn can hit the sharp hip hop moves. Her steps aren’t as smooth as I would like. The connection isn’t great and I think this is more due to the dance and the music than the dancers.
Judges Say:
Mary- Caitlynn wasn’t brilliant but good.
Nigel- Caitlynn is a lovely dancer but she needs to open her legs and get a firmer base to get down into the swagger more. Stayed in character well.
Gaga- (the sunglasses have come off) Caitlynn is sexy and the connection was magical (really?). Don’t rely on the center and stop so much, move through the movement more.
Rob- Great, a beautiful style but needs to lose herself more in the style (the way Lady Gaga does). Work on becoming more of a character.

Jordan and Ade get a Tyce Diorio jazz number about a secret rendezvous. This number felt a little disjointed for me, like each individual move worked but it didn’t come together into a cohesive or fluent whole.
Judges Say:
Nigel- Is there anything that little body can’t do? It was a fun routine.
Gaga- She’s a star!
Rob- Dynamic and full of meaning when dancing.
Mary- She was the badass Tyce wanted.

Melanie and Neil get a Mandy Moore contemporary routine about being at the crossroads of a relationship. Not my favorite Mandy Moore dance but my favorite of the night so far. (Just not feeling the emotion the way I want to.) It does get a standing ovation from the judges (and the audience goes wild), which elicits giggles from Cat when she sees how tall Gaga is.
Judges Say:
Gaga- Melanie is my favorite, I would hire her for my tour tomorrow. (crying)
Rob- It is poetic what she does. Amazing.
Mary- How many more adjectives can we use to describe her?
Nigel- I’ve changed my mind, Melanie is my favorite dancer.

Ricky and Anya will be jiving to Jason Gilkinson’s choreography. I liked Ricky a lot in this piece. There was only one moment where I noticed him looking at his feet instead of up.
Judges Say:
Rob- Ricky dances with such joy and the technique is out of this world.
Mary- He missed some of the feel but it got better. He pulled it off.
Nigel- Ricky was too high but one of the lifts looked too labored.
Gaga- I have a sweet spot for Ricky, he looks strong and nimble.

Jess and Lauren Gottlieb (!) get a hip hop number by Nappy Tabs about a guy who cheated on his girlfriend and is trying to win her back. Much as I like Lauren, this wasn’t my favorite performance by her either. Or my favorite Nappy-Tabs number. That being said, Jess was pretty good.
Judges Say:
Mary- Every week has been progress. Jess was really good this week, it felt really honest.
Nigel- Jess didn’t oversell it.
Gaga- There was something I didn’t love about the props but you outshone them.
Rob- Jess has used the competition to grow. Simple and pure and beautiful.

Tadd and Lauren Froderman are paired for a Mandy Moore routine about pulling a heist. Did Tadd lose his hat in the beginning of that routine? This routine felt more hip hop than contemporary (which suits Tadd) but it is a lot of fun.
Judges Say:
Nigel- This style suits Tadd.
Gaga- I liked the attitude and style.
Rob- Very special.
Mary- Very cool up there. Tadd’s got this thing.

Marko and Allison have a Sonyah Tayeh contemporary routine about being cruel to someone and wanting to change. It is hard to believe Allison didn’t win her season because she truly is one of the best dancers to ever be on this show. Marko is also pretty fantastic here. Everyone from Marko’s mom (who flew in from Guam) to Allison and Marko to Lady Gaga to Mary are bawling. Another standing ovation.
Judges Say:
Gaga- I’m so proud, Marko really loves to dance. Absolutely incredible.
Rob- Allison is a true artist. It was an incredible partnership. So fluid and beautiful.
Mary- Amazing, you can’t say it enough. Marko adds a volume and finishing to his steps. By far my favorite.
Nigel- We’ve seen a moment here that is more than the competition.

Caitlynn and Tadd are paired for a Johnathan Roberts ballroom number. Caitlynn’s costume makes it difficult to see what she’s actually doing with her feet which is sort of annoying. Not a fan of this number and especially its music. Which is not a commentary on their dancing which seemed to get stronger as the night wore on.
Judges Say:
Rob- Sparkling from beginning to end.
Mary- I need more power in the base , slightly awkward when in hold but gorgeous when side by side.
Nigel- I was just in heaven watching it.
Gaga- I loved it. The lean back and the “hello I’m a star.” Every once in a while, you’re hands get a little “I’ve won a lot of trophies.” Relax them a little.

Marko and Ricky get a Nappy-Tabs hip hop number about “waste management technicians.” It looks like Ricky might have missed up in the middle. He doesn’t have as much swagger as Marko in some places and Marko doesn’t quite get it as well in other places. Almost like they took turns to get it quite right.
Judges Say:
Mary- I loved it. Fabulous. WOOOO!
Nigel- It was a lot of fun, there were good characters. Marko got nasty. Ricky is still a bit high (he’s also taller). Ricky might be in the bottom.
Gaga- I think both are incredible dancers, it was amazing. The only thing for me but the “interpretation of hip hop felt a little contrived.”
Rob- What astonishes me is the range of the pair.

Jordan and Jess get a Jason Gilkinson rumba about a woman blinded by love. Jordan’s facial expressions threw me a bit. They did a good job but it didn’t pull me in.
Judges Say:
Nigel- Fabulous lift Jess. Didn’t feel the chemistry. Watch the swayed back.
Gaga- There was nothing wrong with it. It had beautiful moments. I would have interpreted it differently.
Rob- You brought out the best in each other. You both work from an acting place.
Mary- What was lacking was the elasticity in the arms and the sensuality. Still beautiful.

Sasha and Melanie are paired for a Sonyah Tayeh jazz routine. (That much was obvious when you saw their outfits.) This is Sonyah at her greatest. It is just such a bizarre and interesting routine. Another standing ovation and even Sonyah looks a bit shocked. Twitch in the audience is wowing, the audience (and Ellen Degenerous) are unable to stop cheering. Gaga even starts banging on the table. (Sasha is definitely redeemed for anything I did not like earlier.)
Judges Say:
Gaga- Performance of the evening. Absolutely incredible.
Rob- Unbelievable.
Mary- Talk about strength and power, my goodness. The best number of the night and ever done by Sonyah.
Nigel- Fantastic. I don’t know who is the better dancer. One of these two could be this year’s champion.

Who do you think will be in the bottom this week? Who should be going home?

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