SYTYCD Recap: Sign of the Beasts

Melanie, Sasha, Marko, and Tadd. We’ve all pretty much known for the last several weeks that they’d be the final four dancers standing at the end of So You Think You Can Dance‘s eighth season, and Wednesday night’s Top 6 performance show most likely sealed the deal.

But that doesn’t mean the evening was void of the unpredictable or the unexpected. Melanie finally stared down a hard-hitting hip-hop routine, and looked completely comfortable doing it (no matter what Lil C had to say about it). Tadd showed his dirty side (mmm hmm) while hanging from a chandelier. Sasha moved Lil C to tears. Christina Applegate proved both a knowledgable and witty addition to the judges’ panel. And Caitlynn danced like she had no idea she was doomed to fall just short of the finale, delivering a series of performances worthy of the term “beefy beast.” Let’s run through the proceedings in chronological order:

Melanie (with Twitch): Nappytabs, Hip-Hop
Yeah, the phrase “Little Red Swaggington” is totes prepost (as is my attempt to coin the phrase “totes prepost” as a viable alternative to totally preposterous), but I adored seeing Melanie break out of her season-long lyrical reverie to get down and dirty — with fabulous Twitch no less! — to the nasty beat of Nikki Minaj’s “Roman’s Revenge.” The final sequence of steps was so fast and so furious, I half expected Vin Diesel and Paul Walker to take the stage and endorse ’em. And I just about leapt off my couch watching Melanie shake her noggin’ all around with the recklessness of a melon falling off the back of a speeding vegetable truck. Yeah, yeah, my rural, upstate New York, white boy roots are showing with that metaphor, but so what? And so what if Melanie didn’t grow up living the hip-hop lifestyle? If Lil C had issues with her dancing, he should have made his critique about her dancing. I don’t recall a judge delivering a tone poem on racial or socioeconomic status when any of our resident B-boys struggled with ballroom or contemporary this season. Also bewildering: Nigel addressing “allegations” that Melanie hadn’t been pushed outside her comfort zone very often this season. Granted, it was her second hip-hop routine of the season (the other one was, ugh, lyrical hip-hop), but if our exec producer wants to right some wrongs, make sure she gets Bollywood next week, ’cause you know she’d be incredible!

Sasha (with Kent): Tyce Diorio, Contemporary
Tell me I’m not the only one who rolls his eyes whenever the judges take a special time-out to praise wounded kitten Tyce, who’s taken a lot of heat this season for his lackluster routines. To this I say, “Choreographer, please!” The good news is, Tyce delivered his most successful piece of the season, sending Sasha and Kent through the harrowing steps of a soured relationship utilizing a sparse and ominous wall. Do I wish he hadn’t introduced it by telling us the number was about “two people who hit a wall”? Well, yeah. And did my inner cynic kind of wish Sasha hadn’t shed tears/lobbied for votes during her intro package about how “life is a struggle”? I can’t deny it. But damn the finished product was mesmerizing. Christina was right that Sasha is such a riveting presence that you find yourself watching her just as carefully when she’s sitting static against a wall as you do when she’s performing an inverted split propped on Kent’s shoulders. Bonus points: Lil C in tears! Big boys do cry!

Marko (with Janette): Dmitry Chaplin, Paso Doble
Probably all you need to know about this dance is that Marko was the matador, and Janine was an “animal rights activist” trying to stop the killing of the bull. For the love of all that’s PETA, this is not a good way to interpret the Paso. Neither is covering up Marko’s bare torso with an Alexis Carrington Colby special. (Nice ad-lib, Cat Deeley!) I felt like Marko’s facial expression looked more like a guy trying to remember his steps than a bullfighter on a mission to kill, but Mary was correct that the “Janette-as-Cape” maneuver was spectacular-spectacular.

Tadd (with Ellenore): Sonya Tayeh, Jazz
This routine was undoubtedly Rated D (to the A to the M to the N). Uh-huh. I went there. How can you not with superfine Tadd in a sheer corset-waisted vest getting his sexy on with phenonenal(ly) odd Ellenore. Watching Tadd hang off that chandelier like a dizzy kid on a swingset, observing Ellenore’s arousal at Tadd’s up-the-arm kisses, seeing our resident B-boy perform an arm-stand on a chair as an ode to his sensual awakening…I loved every second of it. When Cat segued to the judges by declaring “I so wanna have a go at that,” I didn’t know if she meant Tadd or the chandelier. Nigel wanted more dancing (whatevs) but Mary said it best: “The most daring choreography of the season!” Send that boy to the finale!

Ricky (with Jaimie): Dee Caspary, Contemporary
It’s hard to weigh in on the success or failure of this piece, in which Ricky was asked to “conduct” and control Jaimie with a pair of sticks, since nothing about Ricky’s body language or facial expression depicted anything remotely powerful or authoritative. Christina made an excellent point when she told The Artist Who Somehow Outlasted Jess that “sometimes you don’t dance with the clearest intention.” And while Nigel was right that he has beautiful lines, I don’t believe that’s reason enough to crack the final four.

Caitlynn (with Pasha): Dmitry Chaplin, Samba
I felt like Mary and Nigel ganged up on Caitlynn’s sexyface as a covert way of saying “You are not to advance to the finals over our precious pets Sasha and Melanie.” Fair enough, since Caitlynn’s body of work this season really doesn’t match up to the Season 8 front-runners. But that doesn’t mean her lightning quick samba wasn’t pretty flawless. Donned in a raggedy pink frock, she resembled a sexy, spastic flamingo on speed in the best possible way. Christina couldn’t believe the batucada! Or is it bachacada? Who cares! Loved it! Loved Pasha! (Why isn’t he a pro on Dancing With the Stars yet? Make this happen, America!)

Sasha and Ricky: Kumari Suraj, Wacking
I won’t make a comment about this wacking routine being, well, kinda whack, but I sure do wish Kumari and her weird head-salad millinery had served a little more hardcore, air-traffic-controlling gesticulata — if that makes any sense. It didn’t help that Ricky was dressed, as my hubby noted, like a cross between early Michael Jackson and your grandpappy, or that Sasha was forced to wear a weird sheer skirt, but I just thought the routine and the performances could’ve been a little more vibrant as we make a final push to the finals. This wasn’t wonky enough to let Caitlynn slip past Sasha for a finale spot, right? RIGHT? (Side note: 1,000 points to Mary for name-checking Princess Lockaroo. Serve us her glamour in Season 9, Uncle Nigel, or else!) (I’m making a lot of demands this recap, no?)

Melanie and Tadd: Spencer Liff, Broadway
I’m always wary of a routine that requires a 30-second setup — he’s a choreographer! she’s the lead dancer! she’s falling for him! he’s just acting the part to draw the best performance out of her! — but the reality lived up to the hype in this case, and it turned out to be my favorite of the night. Melanie really is a sublime thespian and an extraordinary dancer, and I felt Tadd’s own acting skills matched hers completely. It never hurts to dance to a Shirley Bassey remix (try it at home sometime!), but I just wish Tadd had gotten a little more credit from the judges. Nigels’ critique — “to say you didn’t suck is a compliment” — felt condescending in the extreme, but at least Christina countered by telling him that his port de bras was better than many ballet dancers. (Um, yeah. Exactly what I was thinking!)

Caitlynn and Marko: Sonya Tayeh, Jazz
If you’re on your way to the exit, this is how you make the journey. Caitlynn showed amazing range and power with the sublime Marko in this piece about a woman trying to get out from under her overbearing man. (Yeah, we see that theme at least once a week on SYTYCD, but that doesn’t make it any less powerful when it’s conceived and executed this brilliantly.) The entire routine was manic and passionate and borderline violent — Marko’s somersault flip thingie was almost as brave as Melanie’s leap into Neil’s arms the other week — and as Nigel said, it really did provide Caitlynn with her coming of age moment, even if she maybe came of age three or four weeks too late.

As for the evening’s solos, I will now rank them from most to least favorite, without further comment: Beefy Beast Melanie, Marko, Sasha, Caitlynn, Tadd, Ricky.

What did you think of Top 6 Performance night? Were you as delighted by it all as me? Who should and will make the final four? Is there any way it won’t be Melanie-Sasha-Marko-Tadd? Sound off below, and for all my reality recaps follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Go Go says:

    Melanie’s solo was the only routine I kept rewatching on my DVR. Can’t wait to see her in the final…. And at a theatre near us in the near future! She is gonna be an actress, mark my words!

    • charlie says:

      I returned to all of melanie’s routines several times last night. solo was amazing!!!! many of her routines from this season are permanently etched into my brain by watching them over and over again!!! it will be so interesting to watch her career after this is over. GO MELANIE!!! YOU DESERVE THE BEST THAT LIFE HAS TO OFFER A GREAT ARTISTIC TALENT COMBINED WITH ENCHANTING HUMILITY!!!! XOXOXO

  2. Teresa says:

    I liked the waacking dance, especially Sasha. It was nice to see her being glamorous and fun, for once. It wasn’t Princess Lockeroo, but I thought they both did well in a strange style. (I guess Rickey did well, couldn’t keep my eyes off Sasha.)

    I thought it was amusing that the piece ended with a death drop. All I could think of was how many times I saw Shangela do those (it’s her signature move)!

    The only thing I can think that might detail the Sasha/Melanie/Marko/Todd final four is if the viewers decide to punish the judges for dissing Rickey (which started when he got blamed every time he and Ryan landed in the bottom). I hope that doesn’t happen. I think Rickey is great, but I think Tadd and Marko are truly amazing and I’d like to see them go all the way.

    Caitlyn is really good, I like the way she disappears into the character when she dances. That’s a good actress right there. But, because she does that, she doesn’t have the star quality that Sasha and Melanie do. Again, great but not amazing.

    The real dilemma is going to be next week. I don’t know how people are going to decide between the final four.

    • Teresa says:

      “Derail” not “detail.” Sorry. :)

    • Jules says:

      Shout out to Shangela! Glad to know there are others out there who share my love of guilty pleasure TV.

      Completely agree about Caitlin. Her partner performances were usually quite good, but without a clear story or a character to play, her solos always fell flat in comparison with some of the other girls. In the end, I ended up voting for her routines, not really for her as an individual.

      Sad to see her go home, but as they say, it’s a competition. Someone has to get cut.

  3. libralaurie says:

    I agree with u on the Sasha/Ricky routine, i believe the final four will be Sasha, Melanie,Marko and Ricky.. I sure hope I’m wrong as Tad is my fav male dancer. GO SASHA!!!

  4. kyrjar says:

    Glad you also loved the B-way routine. To me that was one of the best of the season, even if they lauded the two emotional contemp routines more. The emotion seemed real and it all felt B-way-esque. That one I will actually remember later. Melanie’s solo was also memorable. Thought it was an excellent night of dancing.

  5. djm says:

    I’ve read people capping on Melanie for her hip-hop routine all night and this morning and I do not get it – I thought she was amazing at it. Was she as street as say Comfort? No, but I think she brought a lot of different things to the table that someone like Comfort couldn’t. All I know is that I wasn’t hating it at all. And do not even get me started on her solo – absolutely BRILLIANT. I also loved Sasha & Neil and thought that Sasha was a fierce wacker as well. Love me some Tadd, am sick to death of Marco’s mother issues, and think that Ricky is in way over his head. As for Caitlynn – I was over her hair dancing a long time ago and hope that it is her going home tonight.

    • Jenks says:

      I totally agree on almost all counts. It appears that Melanie can do no right where some people are concerned. I don’t get why the best dancers seem to get the hardest rap on this show. Melanie has danced just as many diverse dances as anyone else (a poster on another site broke it down, dance by dance); blame the homogenous dancing on the choreographers, not the dancers. People also punish the dancers when the judges like them. Maybe the judges like them because they are great dancers!

      The only thing I can’t quite agree on is Sasha. She has been a puzzlement to me. Technically great, but emotionally cold. That Tyce routine was just a rehash of all the other tortured soul routines we’ve seen over the past few years, and I didn’t buy into Sasha as life victim. She’s fun to watch, but not memorable to me.

      • SororSalsa says:

        Melanie’s dance “names” may have been as diverse as everyone else’s but not in style. Contemporary-Hop, Ballroom Contemporary, Jazz Contemporary, etc. are not that diverse if each style is altered so as to not really take you out of your genre. Both Melanie and Jess greatly benefitted from these alterations this season.

        It is only my opinion, but Melanie looked shaky and not comfortable in the hip hop last night. She got better as she went on, but she did not earn the tongue bath she received. Good for Lil C for pointing that out.

        It is not Melanie’s fault that Nigel & Co. have been so ridiculously overpimping Melanie this year. They decided she should be the winner and wrote the script for it, whether she lived up to it or not. And I like Melanie…I just abhor the judges critiquing everyone else down to the nth degree about every little misstep and ignoring others.

        • djm says:

          “They decided she should be the winner and wrote the script for it, whether she lived up to it or not.” – so when did she not live up to it? So assuming you are talking about last night, when besides that? Sorry, but week after week she has showed up and danced the chorepgraphy given to her beautifully. As for the labels – blame the choreographers for that – if you don’t care for the style of the ballroom dance they gave her how is that her fault? In the ballroom dances she has been given I didn’t see them dumbing down the choreopgraphy for her or changing the style drastically to better suite her limitations. Her Viennese waltz was beautiful and even Mary Murphy pointed out the degree of difficulty and are you saying that Louis Van Amstel didn’t give her a difficult enough tango? Sorry, but to my eye it was not only traditional, but extremely difficult as well.

          Whatever – you don’t have to like her, but there is no denying that she has out-danced all of the people that have gone home so far and she certainly has earned her spot in the Top 6, so I don’t know why anyone would have a problem with that.

          • Lauren says:

            It’s not that it’s Melanie’s fault, it’s just that people are going to resent her for having an easier time delivering a great performance if all the choreographers alter their styles to make them more for her when other people are getting wicked quick steps, Pasos, Bollywood and hard hip hop. Last night is the first time she didn’t get a single contemporary aspect to a routine and it fell utterly flat. Did she dance it technically well, yes she did. She is a great dancer so it would be very unlikely that she would suck at it but the reason that Alex is referred to as Alex FREAKING Wong is because when a ballet dancer can shed his entire lifetime of training and get filthy dirty in a routine that is GENIUS. Melanie was not that good, she didn’t feel the song or the style and it definitely deserved Lil’C’s somewhat garbled comments. I wish someone else would have pointed out that technical proficiency is not all that makes a routine great. I’m afraid the love fest will continue unabated though.

        • Sabordesoledad says:

          While I agree that Melanie has gotten as much judge pimping as anyone this season – the idea that they’ve been “critiquing everyone else down to the nth degree” is ridiculous.

          Sasha, Marko, Jordan and Tadd (who is WAY overrated) have been just as judge-loved as Melanie. And if there’s a script being followed it’s the one where Melanie and Marko are the front runners for the whole season but Sasha keeps gaining momentum and wins in the end.

          If Melanie got any coddling from the judges last night it’s NOTHING compared to what Tadd gets.
          Nigel: And we’ve got to remember here Tadd, you are an UNTRAINED dancer and you did this contemporary/ballroom/anything dance PERFECTLY!

          Yeah right.

    • MDEP says:

      I have to disagree. I think she did not get as strong a critique as she should have because it is right before the finale, and the judges did not want to give America anything negative thoughts about her. She definitely deserves to be in the finale, but while she went through all the steps and was committed, I feel like she did not pull off that routine. She was just not hitting it hard enough and she looked like she was just keeping up. It would have been nice if the judges kept it real and said so. If it was Sasha or Caitlynn, I think they would have.

      • djm says:

        How was she “just keeping up”? She was in synch with Twitch the whole time so are you saying that he wasn’t doing it very well either? Sorry, but I didn’t see someone that was struggling at all – I saw a clean and proficient dancer doing the choreography presented.

      • sadtroll says:

        I can guarantee if the judges had all piled on Melanie for being lacklustre in her dance with Twitch there would have been even more people saying they were just doing that to make sure all her fans voted for her even more.
        The cynical/lunatic fans always have a theory to explain how the judges are trying to control everything.

      • Tith says:

        Agree on all counts.

      • MDEP says:

        Exactly, she was clean and proficient, but that was about it, and the judges did not call her on it. I said “just keeping up”, not “not keeping up”, so while she was in sync with him, it does not mean that they were performing at the same level. And to say that means I think he was not performing well seems like a simple-minded comparison. Like I said, she was not terrible. There have definitely been worse hip-hop attempts, but constructive criticism never hurt anyone, and she, and the audience could take it.
        Also, I did not say they needed to tear her apart and pile on negative comments. And to equate my comment as “cynical/lunatic”? Wow.

        • sensytroll says:

          Not calling you a lunatic (maybe cynical but that’s kay) just saying the judges motives are best ignored. And fans will come up with some pretty insane and/or convenient interpretations for what the judges motives are. Is it possible they said what they meant?!

      • teamsasha says:

        i thought Melanie looked really “off” in this hip hop routine, she was shown definitely shown up by Twitch. But i wasn’t that into the routine, thought it was a bit bland. I think the best hip hop has been the Sasha / Twitch routine by Christopher Scott.
        Admittedly Melanie has been strong in every other dance form, but she looked really awkward in this routine. I thought Lil C’s comments were valid. Hip hop is not really her gig is all. I think although technically she is sound I still consitantly feel more moved by Sasha when I watch her perform, . like Christina Applegate said, Sasha only has to do something small and you feel captivated. I feel there is more truth in Sasha’s performances in comparison to Melanie. On that note GOOO SASHA> Even if she don’t win. she is still my fave and has been from the get go.

    • KevyB says:

      People have issues with the BEST dancers on this show. That’s why they never win. It’s kind of nice to see Melanie get all the love that the previous bests never got, but it scares me that this moronic anti-best sentiment is going to award Sasha the prize. Sasha’s good, but technically she’s nowhere near as good as Melanie or Marko as her specialty actually requires a bit of passionate sloppiness. And, really, that’s mostly what she’s given this year, great performances but a lot of sloppiness. And it irritates me to no end that here we are at the semi-finals and Tyce gives her a routine that ANY of the Top 20 could have performed in their sleep, including the b-boys. Why is it Melanie can be pushed in her next to last week, but Sasha gets an easy ride?

      • Lana says:

        I totally agree that Sasha is not as good as Melanie and Marko. She has the technique but I don’t see her being as emotional as the other two. What I mean is with Melanie and Marko you can see what the dance is meaning by their emotions so that the piece can become even better and causes the “shivers”. Sasha does not put the emotion in her dancing so if they hadn’t told you what the dance was meaning her emotion would not give a clue. I have enjoyed her dancing but she does not connect with her partners and that definately is a big part of dancing. I have to say that I voted for Caitlyn over Sasha(1st time)because both of her dances were great and I was not impressed with Sasha’s Whacking as much as the others are.

      • MDEP says:

        For me, personally, I am not denying Melanie is awesome. She deserves much of the praise she gets. My main beef was that the one time was was not amazing (in my opinion) it was glossed over by the judges. I do agree that many years the best dancer has not won, but the winners have all been pretty amazing.

  6. MAS says:

    All season I thought the female solos were weak and wanted to keep more men based on the solos. Not this week. Finally, the ‘beasty’ women brought something to the table in the solos.

    Overall, though, I felt the show was a bit lackluster. These are the top six of the best season ever? Really?

    In thinking about who should make the top four (and knowing clearly my vote is irelevant as it has been every week), I was hard pressed to remember stand out numbers from anyone except Melanie. Maybe it is just because there was nothing new new, just old hat well done.

    Season 4 remains my favorite season.

    • Jenks says:

      I agree with your comments about this being the best season ever — really? For me , it’s a toss-up between Season 2 and Season 4. Season 3 had its moments, too (Danny and Lacey’s samba, for example). I don’t think the dancers they’ve been putting on the show for the past couple of years have the maturity of those in earlier seasons. That may be the type that’s showing up for the auditions, so I’ll give them a pass on that. The choreography is another story — “story” being the operative word. For the love of God, stop with the stories! Just let ’em dance! None of the professional troupes who guest on the show feel the need to outline some tortured story line that does nothing but detract from the performance. Mia Michaels did us no favors in this regard.

      • MDEP says:

        I have to agree about the best season comment. For me, season 2 is the best. Maybe it was becase it was when I first stared watching, so it was all new to me, but nothing has ever lived up to that season on this show since. Season 4 is also a close second, if not because of the actual performance, but because of the dancers. Mark, Twitch, Chelsie, Courntney. I love to watch them dance.

      • Selbs says:

        Oh, thank you, Jenks. You are so right on the money. All this crappy story-telling is one big BORE! Let the dancers dance. The music and choreography given these lovely dancers does them a great disservice. I want to watch well executed dance routines with understandable music and not all this over emoting which is a distraction. Sorry, this show has unraveled from it’s original concept and I’m sooooo sick of Mary’s screeching, Nigel’s holier-than-thou attitude and the judges all using the same script, “I love you and you’re beautiful!”. Enough, just dance!

      • not says:

        Agree about the story lines. I would love them IF they could manage to tell the story through the dance itself. If you have to explain it first and use overly-literal props and lyrics, then you really haven’t conveyed something special through the dance. Especially the use of props this season has gone way overboard.

      • MAS says:

        Season 2 was great. The Benji-Travis hip hop is one of my all time favorites.

  7. Karen says:

    Genreally a very good night. Caitlynn & Marko, Melanie & Tadd and Sasha & Kent had my three favourite dances of the night.
    But I agree with Mr. Slezak that Tadd should have gotten more credit for his and melanie’s broadway routine. He was incredible.
    But Melanie actually disappointed me a little with her Hip Hop. It wasn’t bad (it was okay), but I think it was her worst routine of the season so far. But Melanie is one of my faves….

  8. Brandon R. says:

    A friend of mine absolutely hated the choreography on Melanie’s hip-hop, but I thought it was terrific (we both agreed that Melanie did a great job). Count me in as one of the camp that believe that Melanie actually HAS been stretched this season. That dance was one of my favorites of the night, along with Sasha/Kent (finally! an amazing Tyce routine!) and Caitlynn/Marko. I hope that Ricky doesn’t end up sneaking into the finale…he just hasn’t really earned it in my eyes, and both Marko and Tadd certainly have. (He’s always good, but not great. As for the girls, Melanie needs to make the finale (she’s my favorite), but as for the second spot…I’m torn. I simply can’t choose between Sasha and Caitlynn. If either one makes it, I’ll be happy. (And sad that they both can’t be in the finale…)

    P.S.: Michael, as far as I know, Pasha isn’t going to be on DWTS soon, but he will be on the UK version this upcoming season (or series as they call it over there). So there’s that. :)

  9. Heather says:

    Michael Slezak, you should bite your tongue for suggesting that Pasha should go to Dancing with the Stars!

  10. bena says:

    Sasha was one of the dancers on Adam Lambert’s recent tour. A lot of his fans are fierce about all things Adam, and reading their tweets it’s obvious they are down on Melanie because she is Sasha’s biggest threat to the finale. It’s amusing — they never criticize Sasha for anything, and never give Melanie credit for anything. Saw a comment last night that Melanie looks too much like a little girl?! Is that the only bad thing they can find to say about her?

    • agrimesy says:

      I’m an Adam Lambert fan. I’m on Twitter. AND, I think Melanie is amazing! So do lots of other fans on my feed. Yes, many of us love Sasha from before SYTYCD, but there is no “mean-mouthing” of Melanie by ALL Adam Lambert fans. Please refrain from stereotypes.

    • Soph says:

      I’m Adam’s fan aswell but Melanie is by far my favourite! She might be my favourite dancer on this show ever except for Alex Wong.
      I think sasha is amazing but she doesn’t add the emotional level to her piece. To me the winner will either be Melanie or Marko… Best dancers, best solos, best routines so far, genuine emotions… They are what dance is all abouy

  11. Natalie says:

    Maybe it’s just me but Melanie’s hip hop was terrible. Her solo was great though. I was unenthusiastic about Tyce’s wall routine, though Sasha danced it beautifully. I didn’t like that 2nd routine that she and Ricky did though…no wonder that style is a thing of the past…YUCK!

    I don’t know what’s going on but the dances this season for the most part have just been lackluster and there’s not one dancer I’ve been over the moon about, except for maybe Jess. I’ve just found most of these ‘favorites’ over-hyped by the judges and it’s turned me off…completely.

    I wish I could put my finger on exactly what is off this season but this show has lost some of its fantastic-ness. I really hope it can get its mojo back…and bring back some great choreographers because this season has just been below average(except for a select few routines). This year more than any other I’ve noticed the complaints of the fans about giving certain dancers preference and I’m disappointed.

    • not says:

      Agree about the “wacking.” I’m all for them giving some airtime to unusual dances and exposing people to non-mainstream dance, but they should limit this sort of dance to group numbers and not saddle the competitors with some off-the-wall (and often inaccessible) genre while they are competing for votes. And I hated this particular style – it looked to me like the sort of dance someone invented 20 years ago for a Gap ad and desperately hoped it would be picked up by the clubbers (but it wasn’t).

    • Kate says:

      I agree. My best friend and I love to watch together, but this year my enthusiasm just hasn’t been there. At first I blamed myself thinking I was just watching at a time when I wasn’t really in the right frame of mind. But even if I rewatched the shows later, nothing really spoke to me. I’m not sure if it’s the contestant, choreo or judges. With the judges basically naming Melanie the winner weeks ago, maybe that’s taken some of the excitement out? So it feels more like we’re watching to see who gets 2nd, 3rd, etc. I also agree that this has probably been the most manipulated season between the lack of range in dances, the judges have had control over who goes longer than any season. Add in their refusal to give praise to anyone who isn’t Melanie or Sasha and it’s beyond frustrating. Although there is no doubt the choreographers haven’t exactly been bringing it either which hasn’t given anyone else a moment to really offer a show stopping performance. I really hope they find the magic for next season.

    • Soph says:

      The only thing that’s off is the absence of the greatest choreographer mia michaels… We have some very nice routines this year but nothing matches the masterpieces mia gave us as the addiction routine for example.. I think they should give us more travis wall and stacey tooky as they can deliver some really brillant choreography as well

    • Miri says:

      Too many contemporary dancers who danced too many contemporary, lyrical hip hop, jazz numbers etc made me snooze

  12. Kate says:

    I don’t think there is any way the top two girls aren’t Melanie and Sasha, but at least Caitlynn went out strong. For the guys I will be really upset if Tadd isn’t in the finale with Marko. I like Ricky but Tadd is just a better performer and has shown far more skill coming from a genre of dance that provides no advantages in learning routines and steps.

    I was really upset that the judges used up the Mel/Tadd critique time to drool over Mel’s solo. I agree it was good, but that was not the time to do it. That was a slap in the face to Tadd as it was, but then when Nigel finally acknowledged Tadd it was that he “didn’t suck”. I love them both, but I think Tadd made that routine for me.

    The whacking was all kinds of terrible. It looks like cheerleading so right off the bat setting it to Beyonce seemed weird. Maybe if they had just straight up acknowledged the cheese factor by setting it to some bouncy 80’s pop it wouldn’t have seemed so disjointed. But then to make it even worse Ricky was dressed like grandpa while Sasha looked like a stripper in her garters and peekaboo skirt. Was there a storyline behind this that I missed? They looked like they belonged in two completely different routines, neither of which would be whacking. The whole thing just left me wondering what on earth I was watching.

    • D says:

      SO agree with you on the comments to the Mel/Tadd routine. That was terribly unfair to ALL of the contestants, and especially to Tadd.

  13. Natalie says:

    I kept noticing that whacking routine was something that should have been done much earlier in the season NOT the week before the finale. I get that they want to show us different styles but why do it at that moment? It was a terrible choreographed routine in a style that is so outdated that there’s no hope of reviving it. It just made no sense to me why they wouldn’t want all the dancers to get to show off their best, especially when it’s out of their hands.

    I’m baffled by the thought process going on behind the scenes this year. It’s put a real damper on this season.

    • Mags says:

      I think any time they add the new dances is dangerous. If they do it earlier in the season when every couple only dances once per show, it could be the kiss of death especially for dancers who weren’t given a lot of attention in the audition process. I guess at least this late in the season people have pretty well established who their favorites are. So if your favs are Ricky or Sasha, you’re not going to hold it against them that they got saddled with that routine or people can vote based on their solo or other routine.

      It’s tough because I really feel like this season hasn’t offered much variety in dance styles, but I think they’ve struggled to find new styles that consistently work. I remember being skeptical when Katee and Joshua pulled Bollywood, but that was a real moment when they not only got through it but rocked it. Unfortunately I don’t think anyone has matched it since, and the other styles like Russian folk and some African style have flopped all together.

  14. Rebecca says:

    From what I understand, tonight is the first time this season that the judges don’t have a say and it will be left entirely up to the votes received, with the guy and girl with the lowest votes getting sent home. Prepare yourselves for a possible upset. If Caitlynn didn’t get the lowest number of votes (and after last night’s performances, she probably garnered a lot of votes), it is possible that Melanie or Sasha could be sent home — despite how the judges may feel. I like all of the remaining girls, but I admire Caitlynn the most because she has fought every week for her place in the competition despite the blatant favoritism by the judges for Melanie and Sasha. Should be an interesting results show…

    • Kate says:

      I agree, I wouldn’t be mad at all if Caitlynn slipped in. She’s really had to claw her way through. It has to be demoralizing to be in a competition where the judges basically picked the winner weeks ago. I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened as a response to the judges over-pimping their favorites. I think that’s how Ricky got through last week, because Nigel basically told him to pack his bags Wednesday which I think rallied the voters. Last night I was really upset with how Nigel barely acknowledged Tadd after his routine with Melanie. Tadd deserved better than that especially going into a vote for the finale. I don’t usually vote, but last night I voted like crazy for Tadd.

  15. agrimesy says:

    I’m hoping for a Melanie / Sasha finale . . . that way I’ll be happy no matter what. Caitlyn has definitely improved, but she isn’t in the same league as the leading ladies in my opinion. The guys are good, but I don’t have a favorite now that Jess is off. (I’m glad that SYTYCD could be a platform for Jess to get fans and recognition. I doubt he will ever be unemployed.)
    About last night, NOBODY can solo like Melanie! WOW! I love to watch her, but she hasn’t touched me emotionally since her audition. The reason Sasha is my favorite is she makes me feel something every single time she dances. I’m cheering for both of them.
    As far as the guys are concerned, I remembered Tad’s performances over Marko and Ricky, but his solos leave me cold. Do they still have to eliminate one guy and one girl tonight?
    It’ll be exciting tonight to see who advances.

    • sadtroll says:

      You are my favorite fan/commmenter on in this thread! Nice post.

    • kyrjar says:

      I think that Sasha as a soloist is fairly close to Melanie at her best but more consistently entertaining. However, Melanie has been a better partner and had chemistry with everyone. Sasha shined with Twitch, Melanie, and her sister, but no one else. Initially, I thought either would win and I’d think fine, but Melanie’s body of work on this show really blows everyone out of the water. Her worst performance may have been the hip hop last night and even that I thought was pretty darn good and better than most contemps.

  16. watcher says:

    At last a credible guest judge who knew the terms and used them correctly. It’s so great to see Christina Applegate healthy, smiling, charming and right on point!

  17. Mel says:

    Honestly I think Melanie does deserve the hype the judges have given her. I mean, week after week she has had almost always one of the best performances of the night. And she has character, with that cute little smile and laugh when she isn’t dancing, and that perfect emotion when she is. And oh my goodness gracious, that solo last night was just….it was just spectacular. Whenever she dances, I can’t keep my eyes of her. She combines style and tecnique flawlessly and makes me believe it.
    Sasha has the character, but the whole “angsty-hard-cold-tortured” thing is where we see it most. She was amazing in the partner number between her and Melanie, and amazing with Kent, and amazing with tWitch….But I feel that Melanie has a wider range. She was hard-hitting and cold in the number with Sasha, but sensual and devoted in the number with Tadd. and don’t even get me started on the adorable hip-hop way back with Marko. She has range, diversity, and that spark that makes me want to watch her dance more and more. Sasha is amazing, and I’m really hoping the final two comes down to the both of them, but I feel Melanie truly embodies dance the most.

  18. Mandy says:

    Michael, hate to call you out, but your Freudian slip has to be mentioned…it was Janette as the animal rights activist, not Janine! (Though I love them both dearly.) Great recap, as always :)

  19. Mary says:

    I don’t get it when people say that Sasha doesn’t dance with emotion. I say that Sasha’s whole body exudes raw emotion everytime she dances (including her face).

    • Volcfom says:

      I absolutely agree with you. I’ve been saying all season that she is a great actress. As much as I love Melanie, I was mad that she got the “good acting” feedback instead of Sasha.

  20. Kirby says:

    I don’t understand the love for Sasha over Caitlynn. The production has been invested in Sasha from the beginning, devoting so much airtime to her and her sister pre-competition, and every week painting her as the soulful dancer, but I haven’t seen the versatility that Caitlynn’s shown. Sasha always seems one-note, the fierce dancer but rarely the character. I think Caitlynn has had just as many stand-out routines, if not more. The Mandy Moore routine, the Travis routine, the Argentine Tango. She got a few dud routines, but that was the choreography, not her. Caitlynn doesn’t stand out as much as an individual, but Sasha’s never had, for me, a great solo either. I’m not trying to be super negative, since she’s clearly a great dancer, but I just don’t understand why they’ve been pimping Sasha so hard and leaving Caitlynn behind. I think Melanie’s the strongest girl, but as my favorites, I wish she and Caitlynn could both be in top four along with Marko and Tadd.

  21. JVC says:

    A very solid week of dancing. I’ve been on the melanine moore train since her audition and she has done nothing so far to make me get off. I was a bit worried about her being complacent in terms of people thinking she’s already safe, but after that solo which was the height of EXCELLENCE, melanine’s already in the finale. And joining her it must be sasha, marko, and tadd. That has to be are final four. Because if ricky and/or catlin make it it would be kinda boring. So let’s hope we get melanine, sasha, marko, and tadd as the final 4.

  22. dana says:

    The reason people bag on Melanie is because the judges refuse to. The will nitpick a hiphop dancer doing ballroom or lyrical all day, but are strangely quiet in the reverse scenario. Melanie’s hiphop was terrible. Her lower body was stiff as a board and she wasn’t deep enough in that pocket.

    • Tash says:

      I agree completely. Whenever Melanie does a routine the judges do not criticize her but are quick to put down the other contestants. Her hip-hop routine was not the best but still they would not say a single bad thing about it.

  23. Joyce says:

    Such an absolutely wonderful way to spend a Wednesday night! Of course I predict a Melanie-Sasha-Marko-Tadd finale! It must be so! I was on the Sasha train in the beginning but her mugging has made her unbearable to me. Her dancing is sublime but sometimes I wonder about her. Marko is perfection. Tadd is so sexy and cute and a wonderful dancer. (He better not be beat by Ricky. There’s no way.) And I’ve left the best for last. Melanie. Melanie for the win. When I watch her dance I see water, fire, earth and air. She’s fluid like water, sparkling like fire, solid as the earth, and as heavenly as air.

  24. KjK says:

    I only first watched last yrs – and was really anticipating this one – while they are REALLY good technically (prob better than last yr) the personalities dont make me go ‘gotta watch’ Last yr got more of dancers as being human – this yrs seems more impersonal and technical based
    Tad and Jordan be one’s I have/had more of a personal connection with – tho for ‘greatness’ yeah that be Melonie and Marko is like they can dance circles around the rest…..

  25. KT10 says:

    I just can’t get onboard the Sasha train. She’s good but i don’t think she’s any better than Melanie or Caitlynn. There’s something about her that just turns me off and I intentionally stare and stay focused on her partner because I just can’t stand to watch her, talented though she is.

  26. JVC says:

    Melanine, Sasha, Marko, and Tadd for the WIN!!!! I want those 4 in the finale. I think catliyn peaked to late, I have a hard time seeing her make it. Please let this be the week ricky goes home.I will give him that contemporary number because outside his solos, I never felt ricky had a legit moment in any of his performances. Marko and tadd have had moments through out their runs. As for solos last night, Melanine reins SUPREME!!! I know people get annoyed w/ all the praise she gets, but she’s got it, she’s that good. I enjoyed her hip-hop number w/ twitch, sure it’s a stranger song to dance to but the hip hop has been WEAK this season. W/ jess now gone tadd seems to be getting the same treatment he got, being underrated. He was great in that number w/ melanine. He deserved more praise than saying he didn’t suck. But i hope melanine, marko, sasha, and tadd make it to the finale.

  27. Derek says:

    Not that I don’t appreciate the recaps of reality tv. But why are they ALL reality tv???

  28. Meri says:

    I love Ricky, and I felt he was hosed the entire season. That whackness the other night….give something like that to Melanie.

    She is a brilliant dancer, but having the unabashed (not always earned) admiration of the judges made the entire season boring. Let her earn the title on her own merit.

    By limiting the styles she was exposed to, the producers (Nigel) didn’t show the faith they professed in her ability to pull it off. She certainly struggled with that hip-hop number, and her ballroom was shaky.

    Because she didn’t have much variety thrown at her she grew the least during the season. She does her thing with brilliance, but she never got the chance to prove herself outside of her own style.