We're down to the Top 10 on Season 8 of "So You Think You Can Dance and the dancers will now be paired with all-stars from previous seasons, in addition to doing solos. They'll then be subject to America's votes as individuals for the first time this season.
Joining regular judges Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe is star of stage and TV screen, Neil Patrick Harris. But before getting to Neil's intro, Nigel plugs the show's summer tour, which starts some time later this month. Neil is happy to be on a show that he's a big fan of.
Marko: Chelsie Hightower of "Dancing with the Stars" fame returns to dance with Marko on a Jason Gilkison samba. Chelsie says it's good to be back reliving the experience of "SYTYCD" after the performance. Neil says it was "amazing" and "a heck of a way to start the show." Neil says Marko is "the guy to beat." Mary screams that Marko is "the real deal." She's so excited, her earring falls off, and she says it won't surprise her at all if Marko is in the finale. Nigel praises Marko for pulling off a complicated lift that was giving him trouble in rehearsal. Nigel says Marko is "ahead of the field."
Sasha busts out a cool solo.
Jordan: Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson cook up a contemporary routine for Jordan, which she'll dance with Brandon, who says there's so much going on there's hardly a chance to get a breath in. A shirtless Brandon is told (jokingly, of course) by Cat that he needs some muscle definition. Mary says it's "so great" to see Brandon on stage, but that Jordan was just fierce and that Dwight and Desmond just showed everyone her talents. Nigel says Jordan doesn't have many weaknesses, which gave the choreographers a chance to try new things. Neil says it took his breath away and that watching Jordan "feel" the number was impressive.
Jess shows off his jazzy Broadway skills.
Tadd: Landing near his comfort zone, Tadd gets a Chuck Maldonado hip-hop routine, partnered with Comfort. Nigel says it was so fast, there was no time to think. "It was like listening to Mary Murphy talk." Nigel points out that B-boys don't typically do the kind of choreography that was asked of him and suggests that he might have outdanced Comfort. Neil talks the opportunity to plug an upcoming "How I Met Your Mother" episode and the bit of hip-hop in that has him jealous of anyone who can pull off such moves. Mary tells Tadd he's "something special" and he "hit this out of the ballpark." He says he was "ghetto-licious." And Mary Murphy would know?
Melanie does a tender contemporary solo to a soft version of "You're the One that I Want."
Mitchell: Tyce Diorio puts together a Broadway jazz routine for Mitchell, who's partnered with Season 1's Melody. The routine has something to do with flying in an airplane ... in first class. Neil is puzzled, saying he didn't really get the airplane theme at all, but "it all seemed very, sort of, disjointed and not incredibly thought out for me, just as a piece." He goes on to say it seemed "very pieced together ... but, that was not my favorite." Nigel appears to look back at Tyce in the crowd in mock (or real) amazement. Mary says the number was "a lot of fun" but "a little overbaked." Nigel tells Mitchell he's got to think about style more than technique.
Ricky shows off some mad spinning and jumping skills in his solo.
Clarice gets a chance to show some impressive body control in his high-kicking solo.
Caitlynn: Pasha joins Caitlynn for a tango choreographed by Leonardo Barrionuevo and Miriam Larici. Pasha runs off afterward because he has another dance later. Mary rises to her feet and praises the choreographers, saying it was "so worth the wait" for the season's first Argentine tango. She says Caitlynn's "passion was more real tonight" than with any of her other dances. She says Caitlynn took her dancing "to another level," and adds that she can't remember when she enjoyed something more. Nigel tells Caitlynn she was "a woman, and far sexier" than she's been so far this season. He puts Caitlynn's performance among Miriam and Anya. Neil says it started a tiny bit slow for him, but then he found himself zoning into it "like great theater."
A shirtless Mitchell displays some serious muscle tone and graceful spins and jumps with his contemporary solo.
Sasha: Twitch is back! But we're supposed to be paying attention to Sasha, who joins Twitch for a Christopher Scott hip-hop routine about a couple that's lost the spark and regains it over a particularly sensual breakfast. "At first we were lacking love, but then we were lacking breakfast," Twitch says. The crowd goes wild. Nigel's jaw is still hanging when he says, "All I got for breakfast this morning was corn flakes." Cat asks if they were "soggy" and he says, "They were after that routine." Then there are several awkward moments as Nigel realizes what he just suggested. He tells Sasha she nailed the routine from beginning to end. Neil calls it "the best routine, so far, of the evening." He goes on about how awesome it all was and suggests that Sasha and Twitch do every dance together. Mary says she needs to call the sheriff, the fire department and the paramedics. She says that "as much as I love Twitch, I loved you doing that number."
Jordan spins a bit and goes for sensual with her solo.
Jess: Kathryn is back and joins Jess for a Stacey Tookey contemporary routine. Jess is a little nervous about the many lifts, for which he's taken some criticism this season. Stacey tells us that Kathryn can "practically levitate, so if he can't lift her, we're in trouble." Neil says it was "an extraordinarily designed" performance by Stacey, but that Jess' face sometimes is a little muggy and reminds Jess to be "as present and sincere as possible." Mary calls it her favorite piece that Jess has done this season. She loved the music, choreography and Jess in the piece. Nigel feels bad about having given Jess such a hard time about the lifts, then realizes Jess got a routine with "more lifts than Joan Rivers' face." He agrees it was probably Jess' best work to date.
Tadd shows off some wild maneuvering and tons of handstand work in his solo.
Melanie: Jake Gilkison gives Melanie and all-star Pasha a Viennese waltz in which Melanie serves as Pasha's "rock" and leads him through much of it. Mary says it seems as if Melanie's feet never touched the floor, as if she was "just floating all across the stage." She says, "I honestly don't know how you do it" because of the difficulty involved in the timing of lifts. She tells Melanie she's right at the top of the list. Nigel agrees it was "a master class in lifting." Nigel says she's "a solid, absolutely brilliant dancer." Neil says it was all "so effortlessly perfect" that it didn't even feel like there were lifts in the routine. He says she's one of the "super-hero people" he sees on the show, who do things he can't believe. He says she looks like she's "from the '30s" but dances "like she's from the future." He says she's easily his favorite dancer on the show.
Caitlynn puts on a quick, easy, good but ultimately not wildly exciting solo.
Ricky: Allison from Season 2 has Ricky a little star struck as he practices his Tyce Diorio jazz routine in which Ricky is Allison's "worst nightmare." Nigel immediately congratulates Tyce for a "sensational" and "very creative" piece. Nigel says Ricky was certainly up to the level of Allison and that he was focused on Ricky. Neil praises Tyce for a "pretty bold call" because Ricky often dances quite young and Tyce took a chance on trying to make Ricky into a serious kind of figure. Mary says this routine was "deliciously dark" and that Ricky "really brought it." She praises a particularly tricky one-armed lift that Ricky pulled off.
Marko mixes up strength and grace with a lot of spins and rotating flips for his solo.
Clarice: Nakul Dev Mahajan gives Clarice and all-star Robert a fast Bollywood routine about a guy and girl doing a bit of cat-and-mouse leading up to a kiss. Neil loves it and says it is infectious. He says he never quite connected with Clarice and wasn't sure why, but that the routine helped her come alive. Mary says it was "exhilarating to watch." She says the routine was just perfect for Clarice. Nigel agrees, saying she couldn't have done it any better. He says it was a great end to the show and Robert did a fabulous job.