Dance News

"So You Think You Can Dance" Recap: 8 Become 7

Michael Becker/FOX

The competition is officially heating up—meaning this week, the Top 8 danced not only with their respective All-Star partners, but also with each other! Yay! (The solos have been great and all, but additional duets are way more exciting.) But first...

The Opening Number

Did anyone else totally predict this was choreographed by Mark Kanemura within the first eight counts? The high-energy routine, set to RuPaul's "Call Me Mother," was an awesome way to open the show. Yes, it had voguing, posing, and handheld fans, but it also had a ton of confetti and a giant magic carpet situation. It was great. Now onto the duets with the All Stars...

Koine & Marko

Style: Jazz

Choreographer: Mandy Moore

There was no story here — it was just a fun jazz routine. As Mandy said, that means "there's nowhere to hide." How'd they fare? As always, Koine looked like she was having the best time ever onstage. But to be honest, without a compelling storyline to follow, it wasn't the most memorable. Was it great? Yes, for sure. But it did feel more like a lot of steps versus a more fluid tale.

The judges said: Mary (whose hair was looking fab, BTW) said it was so much fun and that Koine made it look easy. (Though she also called her Ka-noy, which is definitely not her name...) Nigel said it was fun and energetic, and pronounced Koine's name correctly. He also liked that this routine showed off her personality. And Vanessa, who is now blonde, praised Koine's control and performance quality, and said she's always so exciting to watch. "Keep doin' you, girl."

Taylor & Robert

Style: Hip Hop

Choreographer: Luther Brown

What was this one about? "Vibes on top of vibes on top of vibes on top of vibes," Luther explained. After weeks of seeing Taylor be very pretty and very emotional and very contemporary, it was so good to see her loosen up (even chewing gum during rehearsals!). That several-feet-long ponytail looked great but was a bit distracting — but it was NBD for Taylor, who was unfazed and proved she's not just a contemporary goddess. This girl can hang in the hip-hop world, too! Her perma-smirk, sass, and ability to get down were gold — and Robert's abs were just an added bonus.

The judges said: Nigel said Taylor was outrageous and danced brilliantly, and also said, "Your dad is going to be very happy with you." Vanessa admitted they were a little hard on Taylor last week, but said it's because they know how amazing she is. She also said Taylor crushed it and absolutely brought the fire this week. "It was lit — I loved it!" And Mary said, "It's a wonder you didn't burn down the whole darn place tonight it was so darn hot," and that, "Luther Brown took you to FunkyTown."

Lex & Gaby

Style: Contemporary

Choreographer: Mandy Moore

This piece was about a guy (Lex) who is his own worst enemy, but awwww, Gaby stays by his side. Everyone was all, "Yay, Lex finally gets to perform in his style," but to be clear, every style is Lex's style. Except maybe ballroom. But he's proficient in literally everything else. Anyway, there were so many moments in this routine — like when Lex (sporting a #flawless French braid) leapt over Gaby's back and held himself there for a moment. Then that moment when Gaby dropped into a center split, or those pirouettes in coupe into those giant penchees. Plus all the lifts, the handstand that seemed to last forever, and every phenomenal moment in between.

The judges said: Vanessa said it was so beautiful and that Lex always blows her away. Mary said she knew Lex would annihilate this piece, and that he sure did — and also that he's for sure heading toward the finale. And Nigel said Lex is a highly respected, magnificent dancer — no matter what happens on this show.

Kaylee & Cyrus

Style: Cha Cha

Choreographer: Val Chmerkovskiy

For this routine, Cyrus was a sassy janitor and Kaylee was just straight sassy. She looked totally comfortable with the choreography, which is always nice to see from a non-ballroomer doing ballroom. And, like last week, she actually outshone Cyrus, which is no easy feat. It may be standard for the man to lead the way on the ballroom stage, but Kaylee was definitely in control here.

The judges said: Mary said she's been hard on Kaylee over the past few weeks, but that she blew her mind tonight. She loved her confidence and how grounded she was during the routine. "Much respect from the ballroom world, sister!" Nigel gave all the credit to Val, and then said Cyrus should be on "Dancing with the Stars" a celebrity, not a pro. "Good try," he said. And Vanessa said Kaylee "absolutely crushed that," and that Kaylee clearly knows who she is and embraces it. (Yes, Vanessa's commentary has gotten SO MUCH BETTER since the audition rounds, and yes, we love it.)

Mark & Comfort

Style: Broadway

Choreographer: Spencer Liff

This piece is "a metaphor for the ways that love can find you," Spencer explained. Mark started the piece tied to a chair, which was cool and continues the duo's "destructive" theme in this competition, but then the rope became intertwined between the two of them and it was super creative. These two just may be the best performers in the competition. Were Mark's pirouettes perfect? Maybe not. But dang is he a blast to watch, no matter what style he's doing. And, after all, this is the competition to find America's Favorite Dancer, not America's Greatest Technician.

The judges said: Nigel said this was Spencer "living out his fantasies," which...OK. He said Mark was terrific and that his lines were great. Vanessa said it was the sexiest jazz routine she's ever seen, and she liked the rope work. And Mary said Mark has become "quite the little actor," and that he grows every week.

Kiki & Jenna

Style: Jazz

Choreographer: Travis Wall

Travis choreographing jazz! We love it! The theme: It's the 1950s, they're a married couple in a fight, but Kiki just got a promotion, so they're a newly rich married couple in a fight. The makeup may have been downright creepy (that's the "pop art" vibe Travis talked about, though), but the choreography was cool. There were lots of big lifts and some super stylized simple moments that were effective — plus all those lifts made Jenna's legs look amaaaaazing. Was it Kiki's strongest performance? Nah. But it was cool.

The judges said: Vanessa said Jenna does something to her that no one else does, and she got the giggles. (We, too, feel this girl crush, Vanessa. You're in good company.) Mary said all the stop-and-start movement was enjoyable, and that Kiki continues to blow her mind. And Nigel liked all the angles and pauses, and said Kiki is keeping up with one of the best dancers ever on "SYTYCD" (aka Jenna).

Dassy & Fik-Shun

Style: Contemporary

Choreographer: Jaci Royal

First, can we get an OMG YES for how incredible Dassy looked in this red lace bodysuit? This routine was heavy on the floorwork and acrobatics (Dassy holding that headstand while Fik-Shun twirled her around?! And then that lift where Fik-Shun spun Dassy around from her legs? Wow!), and there were so many lifts and spins amidst the moments of stillness. It was lovely, though it felt too short, right? We wanted more!

The judges said: Mary said it was amazing and interesting and that the way they played off each other felt effortless. Nigel liked it. And Vanessa, through giggles, said Dassy was "a she-devil" who wowed her.

Logan & Allison

Style: Lyrical Hip Hop

Choreographer: Chris Scott

Logan has so many literal tricks up his sleeve, and Chris Scott wanted to let him show them all off. So for this piece, Logan and Allison were married couple (sorry, tWitch!) and they evoked serious Keone and Mari Madrid vibes. Did anyone else smile the entire time? This piece was so lovely, and Logan was so smooth. Plus, the fact that both Allison and Logan both had goofy grins on their faces the entire time was telling: They loved it as much as we did! (And that huge hug at the end? Ugh, so cute. Did tWitch love it? Probably.)

The judges said: Nigel said Logan will be so successful regardless of what happens on this show. Vanessa got very emotional and said Logan is strong and sweet and has the talent to back it up. And Mary said it was sweet, innocent, and playful, and that Logan was born to do this.

The All-Star Routine

Let us all bow down to Jaci Royal. Never before has a piece of plexi-glass been so intriguing. This piece was so cool and impressive and probably should have come with a "don't try this at home" disclaimer, but since it didn't, we'll be over here dancing on giant pieces of plastic all day. Bravo, Jaci.

Lex & Taylor

Style: Jazz

Choreographer: Spencer Liff

Turns out, these two met over a year ago at The Dance Awards Nationals, and toured with Gil Stroming & co. before they graced the "SYT" stage. Now they're paired up for a "fantasy dream sequence" about caged birds and wild ravens. ("If you're a bird, I'm a bird." Name that classic tearjerker.) So basically, they're lovebirds. (Kinda literally, because Taylor was in a cage wearing feathers!) Between her legs, lines, and extensions (that illusion was perfect) and his ability to do absolutely everything, this was beautifully executed.

The judges said: They gave it a standing ovation! The first of the night! Vanessa said she would pay good money to see that on Broadway. Mary said there was nothing to hate about it and that she loved the concept. And Nigel said it was one of the best routines ever on "SYTYCD." BOOM.

Koine & Kiki

Style: Salsa

Choreographer: Val Chmerkovskiy

It may have been Koine's first dabble in the salsa world, but she was in good hands with Kiki. "It's a lot of booty and a lot of hips," she explained, and she was right: those tricks were tricky. This was another we-smiled-the-entire-time routine, and another very leggy one (seriously, Koine, between the little fringe skirt and those lovely limbs, you have got it going on). The lifts were really complicated, but they nailed them and were a blast to watch the entire time.

The judges said: Mary screamed and said it was hot and authentic. Nigel said Kiki's energy was great and Koine was a natural. And Vanessa said it was absolute fire.

Logan & Kaylee

Style: Contemporary

Choreographer: Travis Wall

Kaylee is Logan's shadow in this piece — "almost like his inner demon," Kaylee explains. Let's talk about the first few moments of the piece, which were just crazy: Logan walking on foot, and Kaylee, in all black, mimicking him from the floor like an actual shadow. It was so cool. In typical Travis fashion, the partner work in the piece was great, and even though both dancers were so good and so full-out, their styles are definitely different, and that showed at times. But no matter: This piece was solid.

The judges said: Nigel said he's positive Travis will get another Emmy nomination because he's a creative genius (correct). He acknowledged that Kaylee (or, as Nigel calls her, Impavido) had a tough job, but that they both did a great job. Vanessa loved Logan's control and flexibility, and said Kaylee was beautiful and entrancing. And Mary said Logan was brilliant and that Kaylee is straight killing it this week.

Mark & Dassy

Style: Hip Hop

Choreographer: Chris Scott

Mark and Dassy were in the bottom three last week, so this week they were paired up, ready to prove why they deserved to stay. And they had umbrellas! (Raise your hand if your teacher has ever handed you a prop and you've panicked, groaned, and generally freaked out.) This piece was cute, and we have to give major props (get it?) to Mark and Dassy for dancing with tricky accessories and never dropping them. That's tough stuff. It's been said that opening an umbrella inside is bad luck. We'll get to that...

The judges said: Vanessa said these two together = a lot of fun, and that they absolutely crushed it. Mary said it was "the cutest thing ever." And Nigel said it was fun.

TL;DR: Everyone was fantastic tonight and no one should go home. But this isn't an "everyone gets to stay and be BFFs" show, it's a competition. Which means that after last week's votes, the dancers in the bottom three are Kaylee, Dassy, and Koine.

And after some deliberation from the judges, the dancer sent home was Dassy.

Ugh. This hurts. BRB, going to wipe our tears and emotionally prepare for the next round of cuts.

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