As Cat Deeley reminded us at the top of the show, tonight would be the night where she reveals the Top 4. Those results, however, would have to wait until the end of the show, which meant each member of the remaining six would have to dance their hardest since their votes tonight would count towards deciding a winner, along with the vote’s after next week’s finale performance show. So let’s talk about who went hard enough to earn their place in the finale and maybe a shot at this season’s title.
- The night opened with the Top 6 dancing a Mandy Moore Contemporary piece to a cover of REM’s “Everybody Hurts”. It was interesting to see Team Street immerse themselves in Team Stage’s world and to see them all dancing together. There wasn’t much to worry about though because Virgil, Megz and Jaja have all proven that they can handle other styles and so this piece felt effortless for all of them. In a way, it was beautiful and graceful, but not particularly emotionally moving like Mandy’s sometimes are. Perhaps it was just the lack of a story that made it so. | Rating: B-
- Gaby Diaz & Marko Germar – “Emergency” (Jazz) – Coming off a strong week, Gaby had a lot to live up to and Ray Leeper gave her some pretty fast paced choreography to do it with. Despite thinking her and Marko did a pretty good job with it, I do see what Jason meant about expecting Gaby to stand out a little more. She usually injects her routines with so much personality to match her technique that it’s hard to ignore her, but perhaps the routine was just too fast paced for her to give much more than what she did. | Rating: B+
- Jaja Vaňková & Alex Wong – “Youth” (Contemporary) – Normally I’m not one for sob-story contemporaries, but as soon as this one started, I knew this one was something different. The judges hit it on the head when they said that this piece was about the acting. Don’t get me wrong, Jaja and Alex danced this impeccably, but it was Jaja’s facial expressions and the quality of her movements that had me speechless and when the routine ended I had chills. Tessandra’s choreography was top-notch and I don’t think I’m remiss to say that this was favorite routine all season and definitely one I’m hoping gets reprised in a week’s time. | Rating: A+
- Megz Alfonso & Joshua Allen – “Freedom” (Hip-Hop) – Christopher Scott’s hip-hop’s have been a little off-kilter lately, trying to shake the traditional hard-hitting ones like Pharside and Phoenix, but this one felt just a little disjointed to me. I’m apt to blame the choreography, since it felt like it never really got going, despite the best efforts of Megz and her all-star, Joshua, but for what they were given, they did a decent job with it. It just felt all over the place, so it’s hard to comment on and I kind of understand why Jason wanted more from Megz at this stage in the game. | Rating: C+
- Jim Nowakowski & Anya Garnis – “Chillando Goma” (Samba) – Jim finally pulled ballroom from the hat and with SYTYCD alum Anya and Dmitry by his side, he had the opportunity to really pull it off. I definitely felt like he threw himself into it. There were parts where, like the judges said, his lack of technique showed. His movements often felt hurried next to Anya’s perfectly timed ones. That said, I expected some of the stiffness we’ve seen from him in other ventures away from his style, but I felt like he was giving it his all so – A for effort, but for execution… | Rating: B-
- Virgil Gadson & Melanie Moore – “All is Now Harmed” (Contemporary) – It was hard to follow the magic of Jaja’s contemporary, but Virgil delivered on an emotional and technical with Melanie by his side. I didn’t find the routine as memorable, perhaps because Virgil and Melanie’s connection wasn’t as on point, or because the story wasn’t conveyed as well as I would have liked in the piece, but I do think Virgil has come a long way when he can pull of a contemporary routine this effortlessly alongside one of the show’s very best contemporary technicians. | Rating: B
- Hailee Payne & Robert Roldan – “Haunted” (Jazz) – Seeing Hailee do jazz with Robert was another perfect match. The two of them seemed made to dance together and while it’s hard not to watch Robert, Hailee did herself justice. She has a knack for bringing to life the character that’s demanded of her without sacrificing the technique, but tonight I felt like the character slipped a little by the wayside. I would have liked her to get a little darker and fiercer with it, so she could steal the limelight the way Jaja did in her routine. At this stage, the contestants should not be getting dramatically upstaged by their all-stars and while I didn’t think Hailee disappeared in the background, I think she could have done more. | Rating: B
- Gaby Diaz & Jim Nowakowski – “Fever” (Broadway) – What was lacking from this routine was personality. Gaby gave us little glimpses of her cheeky side, but Jim only gave us one moment of chemistry where he blew the kiss to Gaby. I wanted more and while their technique was perfect, as the judges pointed out, Broadway requires so much more and considering Gaby had that personality back when she did Broadway with Virgil, I expected it here, but maybe Jim just wasn’t reciprocating. | Rating: B-
- Hailee Payne & Megz Alfonso – “Sarajevo” (Contemporary) – Stacey gave these girls a great routine to connect them and bring them together. I thought the two of them told the story of two sisters being wrenched apart beautifully. I also thought Hailee did a good job embracing her more delicate, graceful side and while her technique was a mite better than Megz, it didn’t feel like there was imbalance between them the way there was with Gaby and Jim. The two of them were a pair that worked great together. | Rating: A
- Jaja Vaňková & Virgil Gadson – “If You Crump Stand Up” (Hip-Hop) – Getting to see Jaja and Virgil dance Hip-hop together sounded great in theory and, in practice, it was pretty great, but I do hear the criticisms of the judges. Paula pointed out that the song that Pharside and Phoenix chose had no climax to give the pair a moment to really go harder and that contributed to what Jason said, which was that the performance felt a little one note. Sure, they hit it hard and it was well danced, but it wasn’t the memorable routine I was expecting from the two of them in their style. | Rating: B
At the end of the night, Cat lined the six contestants up on stage and, one by one, put them in the Top 4 until we knew our two eliminees. First, it was Team Street member Jaja who, after tonight, is probably the frontrunner to win it all. Then, it was Team Stage member Gaby, who might be the one to give Jaja a run for her money. Either way, we’ll either have our first female hip-hop winner or first female tapper to win on the American version of the show. Cat then added Street dancer Virgil and Stage dancer Hailee, leaving Megz and Jim as the night’s two eliminees. Although Megz elimination seemed predetermined, Jim’s came as more a shock to him and to the audience. The Final Four, which consists of three girls and one guy, couldn’t be more diverse and interesting though and I, for one, am excited to see how things play out next week.
Until then, let me know your thoughts in the polls and comments below. Which routines were your favorite? Do you agree with the eliminations? And who is your pick to win?