As a tribute to Emmy-winning So You Think You Can Dance choreographer Mia Michaels, the Top 14 will be performing her classic routines from previous seasons. So we're basically expecting to feel the angst and sorrow tonight, and not just because four contestants will be eliminated.
Also: Michael Nunn and Billy Trevitt, choreographers and founders of modern dance troupe Ballet Boyz, will be handling the guest-judge duties tonight.
Let's get down to the routines:
Cyrus and Eliana
Song: "Mercy," Duffy
It's the "door" routine from Season 4, originally performed by tWitch and Katie. It's an angry number that El does excellently, but robot man Cyrus doesn't have the necessary skills. Regardless, they both bring the passion with a full-on, extended liplock at the beginning. Whew!
What the judges say: Nigel says Cyrus needs to lower his shoulders and get into the movement, but Eliana succeeds in combining character and technique. Mary puts in her OED entry bid by describing El as "swaggerocious." The Ballet Boyz were excited about the routine overall, but don't offer any real criticism.
George and Tiffany
Song: "Hometown Glory," Adele
Katie and Joshua did the original "coming home" routine about a soldier returning. The big "assisted run" that had brought the emotional impact doesn't really stand out this time, mainly because Tiffany sort of walks it on her own.
What the judges say: Mary wants to call 911 because they murdered the routine. Nigel gives props, but also notes that George gave one of his best performances.
Will and Amelia
Song: "Koop Island Blues," Koop
It's the butt dance! But can Amelia stick out her rear like a French poodle (as Mia says)? They look awesome in the period attire and have the loose limbs and sense of humor that should help them pull this off, but it doesn't quite work. Technique, yes. Performance, no.
What the judges say: Nigel says it's one of the toughest routines to critique because he loved the original butt moves so much and isn't feeling this one. Mary says Will is over-the-top. Billy is encouraging, but says subtlety might have worked as well.
Dareian and Janelle
Song: "Dreaming with a Broken Heart," John Mayer
It's the bed routine that tWitch and Kherington first made famous. The mattress and rose petals are back, and Dare obviously has the skills to do the acrobatic turns and moves, but he's a little sloppy. Janelle has real-life heartache to draw on, but doesn't command any attention.
What the judges say: Michael praises the concept, but says Dare's lines get broken and that Janelle's hair is distracting. Billy says to be grateful to tWitch for making the routine so memorable. Ouch! Nigel points out that Dare's technique is better than tWitch's. Mary thinks passion is missing.
Mathew and Audrey
Song: "Time," Billy Porter
This is the sobfest about a daughter reuniting with her dad in heaven, but this update doesn't remotely make us emotional. It's good, and we buy Audrey as a little girl, but Matthew isn't really connecting.
What the judges say: Mary gets a bit verklempt, but that's just her way, and says the original is more effective. Nigel tries to talk the two through their characters, which are completely lacking.
Chehon and Witney
Song: "Calling You," Celine Dion
A sunflower and park bench are the props this time, and Chehon and Witney finally bring the emotional performance and technique that's been lacking for most of this episode, complete with that amazing leap off the bench. Chehon and Witney do as well as Travis and Heidi, I'd say, and the audience agrees with a standing O.
What the judges say: Nigel explains the story of how Mia had unrequited love for a gay man, and it's a roundabout way of saying that they did well by the storytelling. Mary says they're entrancing, although Chehon is a wee bit controlled. Michael offers him a job with Ballet Boyz.
Cole and Lindsay
Song: "Gravity," Sara Bareilles
It's the addiction routine, and from the first moment with the torn-up clothes and muscles rippling everywhere, we can tell they're going to succeed. Cole dominates Lindsay in such a seductive, destructive way. Best of the night by far.
What the judges say: Michael says they have versatility in bucketloads. Nigel says they've come out on top tonight and that Cole "scared the sh--" out of him.
Retreads are done, and now it's time for the elimination. George, Dareian and Matthew are the Bottom 3 guys, and Amelia, Janelle and Lindsay are the Bottom 3 girls. Nigel requests that they all dance for their life.
It's a tough call, but after the solos the judges send Amelia, Janelle, Dareian and Matthew home. That means Lindsay (no surprise with the best routine of the night) and George join Chehon, Cole, Cyrus, Will, Audrey, Eliana, Tiffany and Witney in the Top 10 and will go on tour.
Did the right dancers go home? How did you like the Mia Michaels tribute?