‘So You Think You Can Dance’ recap: The final 14 perform Mia Michaels’ top routines

The Olympics are over, so that means it’s time for an all-new, all-live performance/elimination double header of “So You Think You Can Dance”! Cat is wearing Heidi hair to celebrate! Even better, the entire show is dedicated to the work of one choreographer: Mia Michaels. Oh, and four people (two guys, two gals) are going home. Yay. Not.

Our judges will be Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy and guest judges ballet superstars Michael Nunn and Billy Trevitt. Michael and Billy are top ballet dancers who have a show which is not going to be named on “SYTYCD” (psst, it’s “Chance to Dance” on Ovation, and it debuts on Friday) but is produced by Nigel.

Tabatha and Napoleon Duomo had a baby. Awww.

Eliana & Cyrus

The Background: Cyrus was most moved by Bryan Gaynor in Nashville, the original animator. And now they’re roommates! Eliana loved the peace dance by Wade Robson from season three. They’ll be doing the door routine from season four performed by Katie and Twitch. This will feature kissing.

The Dance: Oh, this is so fierce. And while I do remember the original (very, very vaguely), I feel like Cyrus and Eliana do make this their own. Still, Eliana is, as usual, just plain old stronger than Cyrus. But in this dance, that difference is pretty negligible. They both deliver.

The Judges: Nigel needs Cyrus to lower his shoulders, and he thinks Eliana was very strong. Mary thinks Eliana was swag-a-rocious. Still, she thinks Cyrus brought his own swag, too. Michael thinks both of them were strong performers. Billy liked it, too.

Footage from National Dance Day. Yeah, missed that entirely. So don’t care, really.

George & Tiffany

The Background: George likes Wade Robson’s ramalama zombies (George says groupies, but he means zombies, doesn’t he?), while Tiffany liked Ellen DeGeneres’ dance with Twitch. They’ll be dancing the Hometown Glory routine from season four.

The Dance: Oh my God, does no one suck this season? Mia Michaels thought these two would murder this routine, and she was right on. I don’t want anyone to go home, by the way. This is just such a strong season.

The Judges: Mary thinks they murdered it. She thought the transitions by George were flawless, and she thought Tiffany did a perfect assisted lift. She thought George actually elevated the routine, though she dinged Tiffany for overperforming a bit. Michael thought Tiffany felt it needed to be pulled back a bit so it didn’t seem like two solos. Nigel thinks they may have seen the best of George tonight. He thought they were both excellent, though.

Amelia & Will

The Background: Will liked the time Nigel got kidnapped in a season 4 routine. Amelia loved it when Melanie and Neil danced to “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” They have to do the butt dance by Randi and Evan. Amelia is intimidated.

The Dance: Amelia is not Randi, but who is? The original is just so memorable, this one’s tough, but I liked Amelia and Will’s performance. She’s a little shy, so it’s not quite as fun, but the dancing is still more than solid.

The Judges: Nigel thinks this is a tough routine to critique because he remembers the original so vividly. Nigel thinks Amelia is a wonderful character, but she didn’t bring enough character to the dance. He thought it was okay. Mary liked it. Still, she thought Amelia was too coy. Billy doesn’t know the original, so he thought it was strong and musical.

Janelle & Dareian

The Background: Janelle loved Chelsea and Mark’s Bleeding Love. Dareian loved a Travis Wall routine. They’ll be doing the bed routine. Janelle us emotionally connected, because she’s in the midst of hard times in her own relationship.

The Dance: Such a beautiful routine. Loved it. Really, I hate to think of anyone going home. Can you tell that’s bugging me? I do worry about Janelle, though, because she wasn’t given much to do. That’s the fault of the routine, though, not her.

The Judges: Michael thought the choreography and ideas were remarkable. But he didn’t like Dareian’s footwork. He loved Janelle’s performance, but he found her hair distracting. Billy thought Titch, he means Twitch, is responsible for some great movement. Nigel thinks he finally got some personality out of Dareian, but Janelle wasn’t given much to do. Mary thinks Dareian’s technique is better than Twitch’s, but she felt she couldn’t even see Janelle’s face at the beginning. In short, everyone liked Dareian a lot — and not so much Janelle.

Audrey & Matthew

The Background: Audrey loved Nick and Melody’s disco routine from season one. Matthew loved Mandy’s ’80s jazz piece. They’ll be doing a piece about the loss of Mia’s father. Mia cries as she watches rehearsal. She’s sure they can do it.

The Dance: So sweet, so poignant. Audrey brought an innocence to this, but I will say I barely noticed Matthew.

The Judges: Mary is choked up. She thinks they brought a real dignity to it. But she didn’t feel the passion and truth from Michael. But she thinks Audrey is a shining star. Billy thought there were some amazing things in the routine. But still, a problem with Matthew.

Whitney & Chehon

The Background: They’ll be doing the bench routine from season two. Mia does not seem entirely confident they can murder this. Hmmm.

The Dance: And yet, they do. Chehon is so strong as a dancer and has such great lines. And Witney, well, she completely sells it.

The Judges: Nigel wants to know if they know the background of the dance. It’s about Mia falling in love with a gay guy. And he thinks they captured it perfectly. Mary, however, notes that Chehon could loosen up again. But everyone agrees Witney is perfect. I can’t really disagree.

Lindsay & Cole

The Background: They’ll be doing Addiction from season five. Holy cow. This is one of the best routines Mia ever did, if you ask me.

The Dance: I love this. Love. I love that Cole brings this Terminator, robo cool to his interpretation, which is less evil than the original but more vivid to me. And Lindsay is just dead on. She isn’t over the top, but she’s emotional. The dancing is perfection.

The Judges: Nigel thinks it’s the best routine of the night. And he’s so right. Billy notes that he couldn’t guess what their original genres are, because they’re just that good. I think that, if they are in the bottom, they both have tickets into the top ten thanks to this routine.

Before we get to eliminations, I’m not sure how well the one-choreographer theme will work in the future, but if they have to do it, at least they started with Mia Michaels. She has such range, more than I realized, really.

Time for eliminations Waaah. Cyrus and Emelia are safe. Duh. Cyrus is a fan favorite, and Emelia is brilliant. Next, Tiffany and George. Tiffany is safe. She looks so shocked! George… is not safe. Aww, damn. Next, it’s Will and Amelia. Will is safe, Amelia is not. Janelle is not safe, and neither is Dareian. One more guy and one more girl will be put on the block.

Audrey and Matthew are next. Witney and Chehon are also next. Wait, Linday and Cole — Cat’s talking to them, too. So, the final two dancers in danger are… Matthew and Lindsay.
I think they’ll save Lindsay based on tonight’s performance.

Nigel says they’d like to see everyone dance again. Amelia’s dance is… well, very Amelia. But I’m not sure it’s enough to save her. Janelle belly dances. What this says to me is that she’s done amazingly well in this competition, because belly dancing has so little to do with most of what we see on the show. Impressive. Lindsay manages to pull a routine out of ballroom, which is pretty great. But not sure who they should save. 

George is an amazing athlete. He’s basically dancing to an industrial groan, which makes his performance all the more impressive. I think Dareian’s solo is his strongest performance thus far. Finally, we see Matthew. Matthew’s fine, but his dance leaves me a little cold.

Time for the verdicts. Nigel is going to save… Lindsay. I suspected, given tonight’s performance. Sad to see Amelia and Janelle go, though. In another season, they might have gone a lot further.

On to the boys. He wants Matthew to learn how to connect to the audience. Dareian, he wants him to point his feet. But tonight, they’re saving George. I understand the choice, but still, bummer. There are some tears. Aww, man, I hate this.

So that concludes the Mia Michaels episode and the bloodletting necessary to create a top ten. It’s never easy, is it?

Were you sad to see any of the cut dancers go? What did you think of the Mia Michaels’ theme? Do you like the top ten?