“So You Think You Can Dance” Season 11 Recap: The Top 18 Perform

Hello, friends! Last night the Top 18 performed on “So You Think You Can Dance,” and that means we had to narrow the group down from the super great to the incredibly, phenomenally great. I won’t lie: Letting two contestants go was a little painful. But there were plenty of things to enjoy along the way. Here are my top five moments from last night’s episode.

The Top 18 in Pharside and Phoenix's "How It's Done" (photo Adam Rose/FOX)

The Top 18 in Pharside and Phoenix’s “How It’s Done”
(photo Adam Rose/FOX)

1. The crazy-brilliant Elizabethan chessboard opening number. Top 18 dancers in funkified corsets and neck ruffs? Yes, please! The delightful little piece was choreographed by Pharside and Phoenix of Academy of Villains, and if that last name sounds familiar, it’s because AOV is one of the finalists in this season’s crew battle. (Speaking of the crew battle—can we get a Syncopated Ladies–choreographed number next week? But seriously?)

Jacque LeWame and Zack Everhart, Jr. in Keone and Mari Madrid's "Stay with Me" (photo Adam Rose/FOX)

Jacque LeWame and Zack Everhart, Jr. in Keone and Mari Madrid’s “Stay with Me”
(photo Adam Rose/FOX)

2. Keone and Mari are back! Oh my goodness, we cannot get enough of hip hop’s cutest couple ever. Loved their routine for Jacque and Zack, who may or may not have nailed all of its technical intricacies, but definitely captured its earnest, joyful spirit.

Emilio Dosal and Bridget Whitman in Anya Garnis and Pasha Kovalev's jive to "Happy" (photo Adam Rose/FOX)

Emilio Dosal and Bridget Whitman in Anya Garnis and Pasha Kovalev’s “Happy”
(photo Adam Rose/FOX)

3. Oh hey there, jive. There are few things better than a really, really good jive. Luckily for us, “SYT” superstars Anya and Pasha returned to choreograph a super-cute one for Bridget and Emilio. Since the jive is the happiest dance in the world, naturally they set it to Pharrell’s “Happy,” which made us feel…well, you know. And while Bridget and Emilio’s leg action wasn’t perfect, their performance was totally wonderful. (Shades of the fabulous jive Anya did with Danny during Season 3, am I right?)

Ricky Ubeda and Valerie Rockey in Lacey Schwimmer's "I Won't Give Up" (photo by Adam Rose/FOX)

Ricky Ubeda and Valerie Rockey in Lacey Schwimmer’s “I Won’t Give Up”
(photo by Adam Rose/FOX)

4. Ricky and Valerie dominated the Viennese waltz. Yes, I felt a faint sensation of dread when I heard that these two were doing the Viennese waltz, which in past seasons has been the kiss of death. And yet Lacey Schwimmer—in her first time choreographing for “SYTYCD”!—pulled some amazing magic out of her ballroom hat. The routine was just lovely, and this charismatic pair sold the heck out of it.

Rudy Abreu and Tanisha Belnap in "Sing, Sing, Sing," choreographed by Warren Carlyle (photo Adam Rose/FOX)

Rudy Abreu and Tanisha Belnap in “Sing, Sing, Sing,” choreographed by Warren Carlyle
(photo Adam Rose/FOX)

5. War-ren Car-lyle (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap). Look: When you hear that Warren Carlyle, the 2014 Tony award winner for best choreography (that’d be for the showstopping After Midnight) is going to make a piece for “SYT,” you know it’s going to be darn good. But holy mother of Broadway, it was fantastic! Tanisha and Rudy lit up dancing Carlyle’s soft-shoe-inflected number. They roared through the ’20s, those two, and we loved every minute of it.

Hello, Cat Deeley in that fabulous jumpsuit. Goodbye, Stanley and Jourdan. We'll miss you! (photo Adam Rose/FOX)

Hello, Cat Deeley in that fabulous jumpsuit. Goodbye, Stanley and Jourdan. We’ll miss you!
(photo Adam Rose/FOX)

In the end, Stanley and Jourdan went home. I don’t know about you all, but I am legitimately sad to see these great performers go. Particularly Jourdan—I’ve witnessed her fabulousness in person many a time at Complexions Contemporary Ballet. But [*sob*] I know they’ll both go on to great things. You have bright futures ahead of you, Stanley and Jourdan!

What did you all think? Did the right people get booted? Let us know in the comments, and come back here next week for the recap of the Top 16 episode!

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