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Dancing with the StarsSo You Think You Can DanceThis week Dancing with the Stars revealed the celebrities who are in the final four, meaning the semi-finals, and So You Think You Can Dance got the audience involved as phone voting opened for the first time this season.

DWTS, Season 9 Week 8: The stars got put through their paces this week with two full dances to do, one ballroom and one Latin. The Latin had a new twist: it had to be done within a specific era from the 60s to the future. This part of the show ruled the night and provided some of the highest scores of the season.

Latin dances through the eras

Here’s a look at the top five couples this week, in order of their performances from Monday night:

  • Mya had her best night in weeks. Her Quickstep was solid and she finally looked like she was engaged with the dance. Her 70s Samba was incredible and it earned her a deserved perfect score (the first of the season). It was energetic, fun and she nailed the Samba rolls. She looked like she had a ball, and it was about time she looked that way.
  • Aaron was nicely controlled in his Foxtrot but he lacked fluidity, especially in the rise and fall motions. The 90s-style Samba suited him well and was solid. Unfortunately he was stuck doing it immediately after Mya’s perfect one. Plus, he didn’t tackle the Samba rolls and that, for me, took points away from him since he didn’t push the edge of his comfort zone.
  • Joanna mis-stepped with the Quickstep. What was up with all the sprinting? Derek usually choreographs with a lot more content. Joanna seemed to be counting a lot and struggling to keep up. Talk about a rebound though, the futuristic Paso Doble was incredible. So much true paso content with a nice dose of “what might be.” Len called in “genius” and it got 29 out of 30 points.
    Derek and Joanna's Future Paso
  • Kelly had a wonderful Foxtrot. She hasn’t had ballroom since week one and it was nice to see her back in that element. She was graceful and Louis did great choreography. It looked like there was a bit of dodgy footwork, but overall it was solid. The 60s Jive was really great. Again, Louis came through with excellent choreography for her. It was a good choice to keep her in hold most of the time because that’s where she’s most comfortable.
  • Donny’s Viennese Waltz was delightful. He didn’t oversell the dance and his technique showed  improvement too. The 80s Paso Doble, however, was weak and lacked the dramatic punch a paso should have. I’m not sure if that’s his performance or Kym’s choreography, but it was the clunker of the “era” dances. His Adam Ant look though was really awesome.

The results show was difficult this week becuase I like each of the dancers. Aaron ultimately fell. I can’t say I’m displeased with the final four, but if you were going to keep the better dancer Aaron should’ve stayed and Kelly should’ve gone. That said, it’s going to be a blast to see her in the semi-finals. Also in the show Mark and Sabrina reunited for the “Macy’s Design A Dance” paso doble and that completely rocked the house! It was good to see her back and looking so strong with her dancing. Also a standout last night, Chelsie and Tony dancing to Susan Boyle’s performance of “I Dreamed a Dream.” I could’ve done with out hearing her take on that song for the millionth time, but their dance made it worth the listen.

SYTYCD, Season 6 Top 16: There were some clunkers last night as some couples were pushed way outside their comfort zone. Here’s a look at all eight performances, ranked in order from strongest to weakest:

  • Jakob & Ashleigh continue to be a force. This Mandy Moore jazz routine was excellent. They didn’t let the cane get in their way, even when the slipped up with it once. I’m starting to like Ashleigh more. I think the choreographers and Jakob are pushing her into a better place.
  • Legacy & Kathryn got Broadway from Andy Blankenbuehler (yay Andy!) and Legacy dazzled once again. Andy made use of some of his b-boy moves, which was a great choice… but Legacy didn’t need the crutch as he embraced yet another style of dance. Kathryn for some reason was not quite engaged with the character here but it was still a great number.
  • Russell & Noelle performed Afro Jazz and did it so well. For Russell, this was close to his style, but Noelle was the real standout here embracing her character and dancing her heart out. I hope we get to see more of this style too becuase it was fantastic.
  • Peter & Pauline got the dreaded Quickstep and pulled it off admirably. Was all the footwork there, no. Frankly I thought the choreography relied on a few too many lifts and tricks near the end. These two sold the performance though with high energy and charm.
  • Victor & Channing lucked out and got to perform in their style. Unfortunately they didn’t blow anyone away with it. Stacey Tookey gave them choreography and a story that should’ve floored the audience, but the whole thing was merely “good” and not “extraordinary.”
  • Nathan & Mollee got a Salsa and man the judges did not like it, saying they expected them to be in danger for the results show. I didn’t find it that bad, despite some issues they were having with holds and lifts. I would put Victor and Channing in more danger for not hitting the mark within their style than these two who did give good performance.
  • Ryan & Ellenore had serious issues this week with the Lil C hip hop number. This was way outside their comfort zone and it showed becuase they were never quite in sync with each other and that really threw this number off.
  • Kevin & Karen did a Hustle that was okay, especially for Karen. I don’t see what the judges are seeing in Kevin though. I thought he looked awkward in this number–more so than Ryan & Ellenore or Nathan & Mollee–and yet he was praised by all three. I’ve found him lackluster and struggling for three weeks now, yet he’s on the hot tamale train (and somehow Jakob isn’t…. huh?). I need someone to explain this to me as I feel like I’m not watching the same dances the judges are.

Tonight there’s finally a results show and I’ll update this post after that. My choice for eliminations are Kevin and Mollee.

Results update: I don’t understand why the judges are chosing to “invest” in Kevin. Outside his style, I don’t find him growing at all. I was sad to see Peter fall in his place. I was okay losing Pauline. Of the couples in the bottom, I was sad and surprised to see Ryan & Ellenore there. I was glad to hear why Nigel had to say to Nathan & Mollee, they do need to grow up… and all of the soloists need to do much better to dance for their lives. For me, the best were Ellenore and Peter and the rest were mediocre at best.

Best thing in the results tonight: The group dance that opened the show was awesome. I’m glad the results shows are back so we get group dances every week. Alvin Ailey of course was stunning as always. I hadn’t seen that piece before and it was a treat to see something new.