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- The Top 6 couples on "So You Think You Can Dance" will perform together for the final time before the all-stars from previous seasons come into play and it becomes a truly individual competition.
"Modern Family" star Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who has "an extensive Broadway background," Cat tells us, is on the judges table. Choreographer Sonya Tayeh makes her first appearance, joining regulars Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe.
Sasha & Alexander: Tony Meredith and Melanie Lapatin work up an intense paso doble for Sasha and Alexander that shocks Mary with an ending kiss. Nigel wonders if it was choreographed or impromptu, and Sasha says she's not sure. He liked it, but there was one part that got a little sloppy. He says Alexander was "much stronger tonight than I've seen you in a while" and that Sasha "did brilliantly." Mary says it "was hot, it was on fire" and she loves the way Sasha took on some of the elements typically reserved for the man in the dance. She tells Alexander he was great, but Sasha was "just a little bit stronger." Jesse says he "loved every moment" and refers to Sasha's bra falling off in rehearsal. He says Alexander kept up well. Sonya says it was "absolutely amazing." She praises Sasha because she's "all about strength in women" and that she wants to trust Alexander more in his partnering.
Jordan & Tadd: Travis Wall puts together a routine about the women who take advantage of weak men. It's a "dark and heavy piece," Tadd says, and he's hoping the audience picks up on that energy. The crowd appears to have picked up on it quite nicely, standing in approval. Mary calls it "beautiful, dark, magnificent, WOO!" She says it's "no surprise to her" any longer that Tadd is dancing so strongly. She tells Jordan she "demolished that whole thing." Jesse says Tadd made the story this "brilliant, beautiful thing" and that Tadd proves that the guys are in it to win it. Sonya wishes she could swear, and this performance was the kind of thing that makes her want to cry. She says they're both "unstoppable." Nigel agrees it was remarkable, pointing out a cool flip jump Tadd did, but that the pair of them were "absolutely tremendous."
Ryan & Ricky: A Broadway routine with choreographer Spencer Liff tells the story of a guy waiting for his date to arrive when he turns and sees a movie star from a poster come to life and they share a dance. It's got a cool, Rat Pack vibe to it and the audience rises to its feet again. Jesse says it felt like there was a glass ceiling on the performance, "a little muted." He says it didn't sparkle and he knows they're capable of more. Sonya says she felt like the dancers were questioning the routine the whole time, but "it was OK." Nigel agrees and says it's "about style" and that if you're not comfortable with the Broadway style, you lose the flavor of the steps. Mary says the first 30 seconds were great and they had the style, but then they did lose the style and could have done more with the steps they were given.
Caitlynn & Mitchell: Christopher Scott gives them a routine in which the dancers are intended to portray children in northern Uganda who are forced into fighting. Sonya says she loves Chris Scott but there was a lack of clarity and unison. The details got too jumbled for her, which distracted from the story. Nigel agrees, saying that when he's being asked to buy into abductees in the Congo, all he wants is for the dancers to dance together. Mary says she understands the disconnect with the story, but they danced strong, if not completely in unison all the time. She says it was just a little bit short. Jesse says they dance with so much power, but he did have a problem getting the story.
Melanie & Marko: Louis van Amstel choreographs a tango for Marko and Melanie that's probably the toughest challenge the couple has faced. He says something happened between rehearsal and the live show because it was "really tremendous." Mary takes a moment to talk about different kinds of tango. She points out more of the technical aspects and that even though it could have been better, it was "night and day" from dress rehearsal to the live show. Jesse wonders whether Mary Murphy is "the lost Osmond." He then tells Marko and Melanie they have spark and no one can take that away. Sonya every step both of them take comes from "the deepest place" and it makes her shake. She calls them both timeless dancers.
Clarice & Jess: Chris Scott gives them a lyrical hip-hop routine about a woman's insecurities. He suggests they think about sound effects with their movements to help get them just right. Mary says they had her dancing in her seat. Jesse jokes that he didn't care for it, then says, "Happy Opposite Day, everybody, I loved it." He Sonya says they're "so adorable," and that Chris makes things look so cool. She says they "just slayed it." Nigel loved the story. It was simple and beautifully danced, he says. He encourages Chris to stick with the simple stories rather than go "too far abroad."
Sasha & Alexander: For their second routine, Sasha and Alexander land a Tyce Diorio jazz piece. Jesse makes references to past seasons and past dances before talking about this one -- oh, there it is. He says this was beyond even the best one he saw them do this season. Sonya wants to swear again in the process of praising Tyce. She tells Alexander he broke through. She tells Sasha she made it happen. Nigel says Sasha has carried Alexander through a lot of the routines, but "not tonight." He says this was the best he's seen Alexander dance ever. Mary agrees that Alexander had "an extremely breakthrough night."
Jordan & Tadd: Spencer Liff gives them a Broadway routine about a girl who's been asleep for 100 years and is awoken by a kiss. Sonya starts by saying, "I'm sorry," which is never good. She says she felt overwhelmed and it was "a jumble of things." She says she didn't see their abilities and their craft, but she loves them both. Nigel says it could have been a little quirkier and that they could have brought more character to it. Mary says the dancers have to find ways to make it work, and this one just didn't work. Jesse agrees, saying it was a "bit of a grab bag," but their first dance of the night was one of his favorites of the season.
Ryan & Ricky: Louis van Amstel is back with a cha cha for Ryan and Ricky. He wants to get them out of the bottom three. Ricky is excited to get out of his comfort zone. Nigel says Ricky did a really good job and his feet did well. He tells Ryan she was overdoing it a little and her footwork was a little sloppy. Mary says it was "the fastest darn cha cha" she's ever seen. She agrees with Nigel on Ryan's sloppiness as the dance progressed. She says she doesn't know who Ricky is because his steps were so tight and clean, he was "just livin' the cha cha" like she wants to see it. She puts Ricky, and only Ricky, on the Hot Tamale Train. Jesse says this was his favorite dance of Ricky's this season. Sonya says Ricky was enjoying and celebrating the dance, and it showed. She tells Ryan she wants her to embrace how wonderful she is and not lose her conviction, which will allow her to loosen up in her dancing.
Caitlynn & Mitchell: Travis Wall gives them a jazz routine where a 1970s rock star (Caitlynn) finds out that her man is married. Mary calls it "slightly naughty" and gusty and she "loved it." She says there was "some tough stuff" in the routine and they did it very well. Jesse says they can prevent forest fires by never dancing in the forest. Sonya says Caitlynn is totally hot and shouldn't be that hot. She tells Mitchell that he sometimes loses his intention when it comes to partnering. She says that sometimes his partnering looks like work. Nigel says that's good advice. His only criticism is that they shouldn't have involved the crowd as much as they did and that they should have been focused on the "argument" happening between them in the dance.
Melanie & Marko: Dee Caspary gives them a routine about dancing into the light, or something involving a light bulb. The crowd gives another standing ovation. Jesse says he's got goosebumps and that they're amazing and that this is his new favorite performance of theirs. Sonya says she's "just so grateful that this is the future of dance." She tries not to get emotional, but thanks them and asks them to "please stay humble and please stay true." Nigel says he's excited about next week when the couples are split up, except for the fact that they'll be split up because there's something special about their chemistry. He says "this didn't feel like you'd been choreographed, it felt like you were moving to your own magical movement." Mary says she'll be devastated when the couple is separated. She calls them "two shining stars."
Clarice & Jess: Tony Meredith and Melanie Lapatin give them a fast and bold jive that tests the limits of Jess' leg-kicking abilities. Sonya just repeats, "I love it, I love it," several times before ending with, "Perfect, amazing." Nigel agrees but says he's a little uncomfortable when Jess lifts. He's hopeful that the routine will bring votes in. Mary says the leg kicks were fabulous, but it lost steam as it went along and she missed some of the joy from Jess. She says Clarice had it. Jesse says he's not the mayor of Broadway, but that Jess deserves an honorary key (or something like that). Jesse then randomly suggests that Cat should be nominated for an Emmy when the picks come out Thursday.