"SYTYCD" Season 8: The Elimination Show That Wasn't

What can you say about an reality TV elimination episode in which there was no elimination? After much fanfare and an hour filled with dramatic warnings about the impending loss of two contestants, we learned in the final moment of last night's "So You Think You Can Dance" show, that all 20 contestants will remain on the program for another week. Yawn.

Don't get me wrong: I think this season's contestants are all talented, entertaining dancers and I'm certainly not upset that I'll get to see them all dance again. However, I think that in order to maintain the integrity of the competition, the judges should stick to the format and stop making things up as they go along. Send two people home. That's your job. Take a cue from Nike and "Just do it." (Am I taking this reality TV competition show too seriously? Perhaps. But if Cat Deeley was allowed to repeatedly exclaim that "we're making history here!" last night, then I think I can carry on like this for a paragraph or two more, no? OK. I'm done.)

Despite my disappointment about the "elimination that wasn't," I did find the rest of the show to be fairly entertaining. Here's a quick rundown of my favorite moments:

-The opening number, choreographed by Sonya Tayeh: The sharp, fierce jazz routine kept my attention. I loved the girls' uniformly sleek hairstyles and I was thrilled by how in sync the guys were during their section. It was a great way to kick off the evening.

- The picture of Nigel and Lady Gaga engaging in some sort of conga line: Cat revealed the image early in the show, but Nigel just looked embarrassed and declined to explain the circumstances behind the photo. I'd love to know the whole story!

-The solos: This season's Top 20 is chock-full of unique, creative and oh-so-talented people, and last night's "dance for your life" solos proved that every contestant is playing to win. Tadd's B-boy routine to The Brian Setzer Orchestra's "Jump, Jive an' Wail" was especially thrilling to watch.

-The revelation that Lady Gaga will appear as a guest host later in the season: I'm sure she'll have plenty of interesting feedback for the contestants, and I hope it means that she'll perform, too.

What was your favorite moment of last night's episode? How did you feel about the "elimination that wasn't?" Share your reactions with us on Twitter (@Dance_SpiritMag) and on our Facebook page!

(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)

Congratulations to Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.

We also want you to get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.

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Photo by Erin Baiano

Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.

Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."

Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?

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Photo by Erin Baiano

Click here to vote for Emma.

There's a story Kate Walker, director of dance at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX, loves to tell about Emma Sutherland, who just graduated from the program. "We were watching the students run a really long, challenging piece," Walker recalls. "Several kids couldn't quite make it through. But Emma did make it all the way to the end, which is when she walked up to us faculty and very politely asked, 'May I please go throw up?' "

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