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- And then there were six. With one week remaining until the Season 6 "So You Think You Can Dance" finale, the final six dancers are competing, as host Cat Deeley says, "for the right to be there."
As the introductions are made, it's almost painfully clear that Caitlynn and Ricky are going to be the ones left out. But, as they say, that's why you play the game.
Guest judges Christina Applegate and Lil C join regulars Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe. Christina tells us she's been dancing since she was 3 and continued until she got pregnant with her daughter. After yet another plug for National Dance Day, which happened over the weekend, we get to some performances.
Melanie: Napoleon and Tabitha give Melanie a "Little Red Riding Hood"-themed hip-hop routine, which she'll dance with Twitch. Lil C praises Melanie for "getting through" that routine, which was difficult and fast. He says the beginning was shaky, but she worked it out and it was on after the rocky start. Christina tells Melanie she's given her "hope." She tells Melanie she was "evil" (in a good way) in this routine. Mary tells Melanie that her brother called her about Melanie, something he's never done about any contestant, saying that she has a Shirley Temple-type charm. Nigel answers criticism that Melanie has only been given styles she's good at, and says she's "good at everything." He tells her she's "absolutely sensational" and should keep doing what she's doing.
Sasha: Last season's sweetheart Kent joins Sasha for a Tyce Diorio routine about a couple that's hit a wall in their relationship. Sasha gets emotional talking about how she "definitely can relate to this piece." She has a little trouble keeping it together after the performance, as well. Christina says there are other dancers who are great, technically, but she doesn't care. She says Sasha put her finger against a wall and broke her heart -- "that's dance." Mary calls it "absolutely intoxicating, for sure." Mary also gets emotional while pointing to a moment in the performance when Kent threw Sasha down to the floor, saying, "So many of us have been there and it's what you do when you get back up." Nigel agrees, saying Tyce was "at his creative best" and Sasha's sharing of emotion. Nigel also says Sasha is once again his favorite. Lil C is trying to hold it together, saying he understands everything Sasha was conveying in her performance.
Marko: Dmitry Chaplin gives Marko and all-star Janette a paso doble. Mary reminds us all what the paso is about, calling it the "most riveting" of ballroom dances. She praises his style in the beginning, but notes that he lost his footing a couple of times. She remarks that his trick, flipping Janette around his neck as if she was the matador's cape, is one of the most memorable she's seen. Nigel says the whole routine left him a little cold, but that trick stood out for his, as well. Lil C says he loves the way Marko performs and he loved every minute of Marko's routine. Christina admits she knows nothing about the paso, so she doesn't know how to critique it, but she wanted Marko to dig deeper into his crotch (using Lil C's reference) in demonstrating his bravado.
Tonight's solos will be preceded by thoughts from the dancers' loved ones back home.
Ricky's mom says it's been like a dream watching her son on the show after having watched the show with him at her side for so long. He does his solo.
Tadd: Sonya Tayeh gives Tadd a contemporary routine, calling it a period piece harkening back to a time when things were more conservative and this couple finds ways to sneak in some romance. He's partnered with Ellenore. Nigel remarks on the "interesting positions" in there, but he would "like to see a little more dancing." He says it needed to develop more. Lil C praises Sonya, but tells Tadd he has to "make each move last a lifetime." He felt like the movements were happening too quickly from one to the next. Christina says it was "remarkable." She says she loves Tadd and that he did so many things she wouldn't expect from a B-boy. Mary says Tadd's ability is extraordinary. She says some judges thought maybe Tadd had reached his limit last week, but he hasn't and he's still growing. Mary calls Sonya's choreography "so daring," but shows the kind of trust Sonya has in Tadd.
Caitlynn's mom says she's the "proudest mom in the whole world," and her dad sends his wishes through a video chat from an oil rig in the Black Sea.
Ricky: Dee Caspary gives Ricky and Season 3's Jamie a contemporary routine that involves Ricky orchestrating the dance with sticks in his hands. Lil C praises Ricky for dancing with a prop, and for using a prop that alters the way he does everything. Christina loves it, but tells Ricky that he sometimes doesn't dance with the clearest of intention. Mary says Ricky saved himself again. Nigel praises Dee for the whole concept of the routine. He again tells Ricky he's "such a high dancer" that he wants him to dig deeper into the floor when he performs.
Tadd's dad says he's backing Tadd all the way to the top. His solo includes a pretty impressive one-armed handstand that lasts for probably the final 10 seconds of the routine.
Sasha's dad says he started crying the first time he saw Sasha on the stage. Her mom wishes her luck.
Caitlynn: Dmitry is back with a samba for Caitlynn, who is joined by all-star Pasha. Dmitry vows to make this no longer a family show, urging Caitlynn to crank up the sexiness. Christina seems surprised to hear herself saying Caitlynn did "really well." Mary tells Caitlynn that when a contestant gets a second chance to do another number, the judges expect it to be better ... and this one was. She runs down the list of technical moves that Caitlynn nailed. Nigel reminds Caitlynn not to "pull sexy faces" and to let the moves do the talking. Lil C says he' agrees with everyone on the panel, and tells Caitlynn to "swan dive" into the sexy moves rather than "cannonball."
Marko's mom cries while thinking about how she cried watching him dance on the show for the first time.
Melanie's mom tells us her daughter's "always been a performer" and says it's "surreal" watching Melanie dance on the show. She tells her daughter to "dance great, but most of all, have a wonderful, wonderful time."
Sasha & Ricky: Kumari Suraj gives Sasha and Ricky a "whacking" routine that takes a lot of fast and precise movements. Mary says she never really loved this style, but Princess Lockeroo took it to another level earlier this season. She says Sasha and Ricky weren't quite up to that level, but really good. She says the whacking was slacking just a little. Nigel says he doesn't think the whacking was lacking anything. He says he enjoyed the fun of it, but tells Ricky to relax more and not worry so much about it. He's wowed by Sasha, though, and says she proved everything the judges said earlier about not having to push being sexy. Lil C offers up some "constructive criticism," saying he wanted to see them "enjoy it a little bit more." Christina says she enjoyed it, but they could have "whacked it harder" -- probably the 25th "whacking" pun of the last four minutes.
Melanie & Tadd: Broadway choreographer Spencer Liff gives them a routine that's a rehearsal within a rehearsal, where one of the dancers thinks her partner is falling in love with her, but he's really just playing the part. Nigel takes a moment to recognize that Melanie's solos was probably the best he's ever seen on the show. Going back to this routine, he tells Melanie she's a brilliant actress on top of being a "beast" of a dancer. He tells her she's again gone back up to being his favorite dancer. He tells Tadd he "didn't suck," which is great considering he was dancing next to one of the best dancers the show has ever seen. Lil C says Melanie's "artistry speaks for itself." He says she is "extremely buck." He also takes a moment to tell Melanie her solo was "so beefy." He tells Tadd he's growing leaps and bound. Christina again says Melanie had all the judges pounding the table watching Melanie's solo and that Tadd is again doing things a B-boy shouldn't know how to do. Mary says she's honored to have witnessed this season.
Caitlynn & Marko: Sonya Tayeh gives Caitlynn and Marko a jazz routine that forces them to wipe away any sexy and happy stuff. They have to be a little more beastly. Lil C tells us about how hashtags work on Twitter, then says "this routine was double-hashtag buck." Christina says wow, and tells Marko he's a beast, saying his aggression was "so beautiful and powerful and palpable." She sighs, telling Caitlynn that was "her moment." Mary jokes that she didn't really care for it, then tells Caitlynn it was one of her "best numbers ever." She says, "This time, you brought the true grit to it." Then she says Marko's always been a beast and her favorite dancer on the show. Nigel says he "was a little upset" with the chandelier routine (Tadd's earlier) and that this one proved why she's "a world-class choreographer." He tells Caitlynn she "came of age tonight." He asks her to keep hold of it now.