Oh, yay, elimination night. It seems like a forgone conclusion that Melinda and her tap shoes are shuffling out the door, but we still have to sit through an hour of false tension and filler segments, so let the games begin!

 

[Full recap of Thursday's (July 1) "So You Think You Can Dance" after the break...]
 
The opening number kind of reminded me of one of those touristy Maori dinners you can go to in New Zealand, except all the dancers are really angry and bust out some opera music for the soundtrack instead of traditional drums. I was kind of hoping to see some flaming spears or some knife juggling, or even some tribal tattoos, but it was still very watchable.
 
There are changes afoot, according to Nigel. Next week each dancer gets two routines and must dance with an all-star they haven’t been paired with before, then dance with a competitor. Next, everyone will dance with Cat. Not really, but hey, they want to mix things up, might as well go all the way.
 
The first four contestants to sweat it out are Kent, Adechike, Ashley and Alex. I find it hard to believe any of these dancers would be in the bottom.
 
Alex is… safe. Of course. My God, how could he not be? The guy is friggin’ beyond genius.
 
Ashley wasn’t wowing me at the beginning of the competition, but I can honestly say she’s evolved dramatically in the last few weeks. And yet, as we know, being a girl this season is pretty much like having a target on your back, so fingers crossed. And Ashley is… safe.
 
Adechike’s performance last night was another huge breakthrough. He’s finally having fun, so I hope he isn’t rewarded with a bottom three result. Adechike is… going to have to wait for Kent’s wrap-up.
 
Kent didn’t have a great night last night, but I doubt his fan base has abandoned him. And I still want to know exactly what the hungry jazz face is, though I have my suspicions.
 
Adechike is… safe. Good!
 
Kent is… safe. Not surprised.
 
So, who’s in the bottom three? Melinda, of course, but naming two more is tough. Honestly, I thought Jose delivered the poorest performance last night, but I don’t think he’s going to lose votes because of that, unfortunately.
 
Next three on the block are Lauren, Robert and Billy.
 
Did Lauren survive her wardrobe malfunction? Yes, she did.
 
Time for Robert and Billy to sweat. If we’re looking only at last night’s performance, Robert was, ironically, the stronger dancer, but Billy’s only real failing was a lack of connection, which I’m sure he can work on. Too soon for either of these guys to go.
 
The first person in the bottom three… will be revealed after the break. Oh, bite me, Fox. And… it’s Billy? And Robert is joining him? Seriously?
 
Mia says the problem is that they’re not connecting with the audience. And he needs to make more mistakes. And they need to figure it out themselves. Um, okay. That’s helpful.
 
The final two are Melinda and Jose. Gee, let me guess. Melinda, hope you’re packed up and ready to go. But as much as Melinda sucked, Jose sucked more. But gosh, he has magic in his eyes, so let’s keep him. The final person in the bottom three is… Melinda. Cat doesn’t even try to drag it out, as it’s so obvious.
 
Adam tells Melinda she has to show vulnerability and abandon. Which is very easy to do in tap. Then he actually goes so far as to say Jose isn’t as good of a dancer as she is, but he has charisma. So, yes, we’re back to the whole “this is America’s favorite dancer, not best dancer” argument, which really makes me want to throw up.
 
Then, we get to see Mark and Courtney dance the crap out of a Sonya Tayek routine. I wonder at what point we’re going to see a “Survivor” style all-stars vs. newbies season. Hey, it could happen.
 
Huh, the cast of “Viva Elvis” performs. I have to say, this is the one Cirque de Soleil show that I’ve had almost no interest in seeing, as I just imagine nightmarish scenes of dancers dressed in fat Elvis jumpsuits and oversized aviator sunglasses, acrobatically popping pills before swan diving into toilets or trampolining off oversized peanut butter-and-banana sandwiches. This number is better than I expect, but doesn’t really make me want to buy a ticket to Vegas or anything.  
 
It’s time for the bottom three to dance for their lives. First up, Billy. As usual, he’s a little rubber band of a guy. Mad skills. No way is he going home.
 
Robert is next. I’d love it if he could ask Sonya to pick his music for him, but he’s still good.
 
Melinda taps. Vulnerably and with abandon, I suppose. Given Mia’s comments, I was kind of hoping she’d try something, oh, I don’t know, that isn’t tap, but she’s got the shoes, so she’s going to use them. I guess she thought people weren’t voting for her because they couldn’t hear her tapping over the music, so she taps a capella. Oh, Melinda.
 
No one’s going home yet, because it’s time for a musical interlude. Ne-Yo performs “Beautiful Monster.” Maybe if this Grammy-winning, multi-platinum recording thing doesn’t work out he could compete on the show, because he seems to have some pretty good moves. Although I will say, I kind of wish the white socks with black shoes thing had died with Michael Jackson. I know it’s all kind of tribute-y and shows off your fancy footwork, but seriously, it just ruins the lines of a nice black suit.
 
Time for elimination! Nigel says the decision is unanimous. He tells Billy and Robert they have to figure their problems out for themselves, but that’s fine, because they’re safe. As expected, Melinda is getting the boot. Nigel loved her a capella tapping, and he assures her she’ll always find work, but yeah, she’s gone.
 
Melinda is thankful that she’s been able to share her gifts and her music and to honor her mentors. And she’ll remember the beautiful people who helped her be in the moment. I swear the girl just puked up a Hallmark card, and one that didn’t entirely make sense, but hey, it’s her moment, and it seemed heartfelt.
 
So next week, it’s the final eight. And I’m really hoping people will vote for the best dancers instead of the ones they think are cutest, but I’m probably being unrealistic. Still, the one to beat is Alex, as he’s got the smile and the killer talent, and that’s not a bad thing at all.
 
Do you think Melinda should have gone home? Are you voting for Jose? Who do you think will get the boot next Thursday?