Top eight! All the deadweight is gone and now, well, it's just a popularity contest, which makes it feel sort of horribly like high school except there's only one clique, and it's the theater arts clique, which is kind of outsider-y and goofy but, since there are no jocks or mean girls to pick on them, we can just enjoy them for what they are.

 
Can I just say I read in the L.A. Times that Cat doesn't use a stylist on the show and just slaps on whatever she feels like wearing? Oh, that explains so much. But tonight, she looked pretty good in a summer-y, shiny, Oscar Award kind of way. But girlfriend, and I say this with love, tell those producers you need more money for your wardrobe and never again buy anything that smushes your chest flatter than a concave contact lens like those strapless numbers you're so fond of. Just a tip.
[Full recap of Wednesday (July 22) night's "So You Think You Can Dance" after the break.]
 
Mia Michaels is here and, weirdly, Ellen DeGeneres, which makes the panel seem a little crowded, but she's funny and she's working that little pixie haircut, so hey, I'm all over it.
 
Nigel brags about his award from the University of Heifershire or Bedfordshire or whatever, then Mary squawks about the contest, which I honestly kind of tuned out because her voice is just that painful, then Mia talks about her Emmy nominations and the thrill of the dance. It's all a little heartfelt and earnest and boooring.
 
The group dance is from season two contestant-turned-choreographer Travis Wall, and it's a futuristic rave dance and a fusion of styles and is a “huge banana extravaganza,” according to Travis. The girls wear unfortunate plastic tutus and everyone looks like a reject from the 80s band Missing Persons, and it's fine, but not as exciting as I hoped it would be. But Nigel enjoys it and feels like a “proud father” to Travis, then points out the outfits are very Lady GaGa, which was actually, I felt, a little unfair to Lady GaGa, who clearly spends more money on her freaky-ass bondage wear. You have to go back a few decades to find costumes this cheap-looking.
 
Ellen DeGeneres joked about helping with the costumes, then Mary threatened to pick on somebody but just faked us out because she was all Paula Abdul-loving everyone, then Mia spewed praise and wanted to wear one of the awful costumes.
 
Then, we get a big plug for the 100th episode of the show, and that stupid Katie Holmes taped performance I stopped being excited about several weeks ago, and they also mention, oh yeah, it's going to be a clip show. Yay.
 
Then, FINALLY, it's dancing time!
 
Evan  and Janette
Choreographer: Sonya Tayek, jazz
Verdict: Feisty
 
Sonya explains that it's all about wanting people to shut up, which makes me think this should be performed in public places, mostly in front of people on cell phones. It's a cool routine, and Janette is, of course, amazing as usual, but Evan... he's good, his moves were dead on, don't get me wrong, but this is the first time I've noticed that he just can't resist putting on a goofy, smiley vaudeville face. Kinda takes the edge off. But I still love him.
 
Nigel said they were two little stars, and told Evan he delivered the “more” he was looking for. Ellen said it was hard-hitting and complex and delicious, then started talking about wine, but thought they were amazing. Mary liked seeing Evan outside his category and said toward the end Evan could have been gutsier and rougher, but he was getting there. Mia told Evan he made a step in the right direction and liked his chewable mush face, but said he will never be the dark, twisted, freakish dancer Sonya requires, which is so true, then said that Janette was her favorite this season, which made Janette collapse a little.


Kayla
Cat called her White Lightning, which was cute enough, but the dance itself was just fine. Kayla's always pretty and girly and that's all well and good, but not all that interesting to watch.


Jeanine and Brandon
Choreographer: Hunter Johnson, waltz
Verdict: Too floaty
 
Jeanine is eager to do the waltz because she gets to be a floaty brunette Cinderella, so the producers showed her tripping and bouncing around on the dance floor like a runaway rubber tire just to make her look stupid. But during the competition she really is a floaty brunette Cinderella , although Cinderella would never wear such an ugly yellow dress.
 
Nigel said the music was awful and ruined their performance. Ellen told a rambling Twyla Tharp story, then said they were fantastic. Mary said any professional would have a tough time with the tempo but said they were respectable, but felt they needed to go further with their lines. Mia tells Brandon he might have done better if he hadn't been dreaming about birds and bunnies, there were too many hiccups and she wanted more.


Jason
Jason leaves his freaky suspenders-and-blues routine at home and does something a little more graceful, which is a welcome change. Then he gives a shout out to his brother in the audience, which might have been heartwarming if we cared.


Ade and Melissa
Choreograhers: Tony Meredith and Melanie Lapatin, cha-cha
Verdict: Hot-cha-cha
Ade and Melissa  are so thrilled to be back together, but then they have to do a cha-cha, which makes the whole reunion kind of bittersweet, since they had no idea what they were doing. But Melissa still looks great, and Ade, well, he looks like he's doing something other than the cha-cha, but he seems to be having fun, and these two do  have such great chemistry that you don't really care what they're trying to accomplish – they're just hot.
 
Nigel says Melissa needed to stop pursing her lips and felt Ade could have been even more sizzling, but is mostly a fan, and gets weirdly excited about Ade's horrible red shoes. Ellen DeGeneres asks if they're carpenters, because they nailed it, which was very Mary of her. Mary thought the execution was nailed, but Ade's butt was too high and Melissa's feet were either too far turned out or too far turned in. Mia thought it was Ade's worst performance of the season but thought Melissa did an excellent job.


Janette
Our hot tamale has the unfortunate task of dancing passionately to a Celine Dion song, which is sort of like trying to have sex with a Hallmark card, and just really not a great idea. But it's Janette, and she's great, so hey, it's fine.


Jason and Kayla
Choreographer: Toasty Oreo, jazz
Verdict: Ticket to Broadway
 
Go Toasty! This was a routine I could easily picture on The Great White Way.  They're graceful and sexy and every move is like artwork. They look great, it's a great routine, great, great, great.
 
Nigel saya Jason's feet were terrific and drops in a Gene Kelly reference, then tells Kayla she can do anything, sort of like a super hero of dance. He adds that it was one of the best routines of the evening, which I completely agree with. Ellen DeGeneres calls them both good nailers and wants them to hang pictures at her house. Mary massacres the English language by saying they looked effortless, then puts them on the hot tamale train, even tooting a little wooden whistle in case they didn't get the hint. Mia wants Jason to work on his upper body, then says she wants to take a hammer and smash his shoulders, which sounds a little violent, but then she's always looking for reasons to mush peoples' cheeks or bite them so I shouldn't be surprised. Then she asks Kayla if she acts or sings, because she'd take Broadway by storm.


Ade
He does something that looks like very slow electric boogaloo, then does a backflip, which is really a good reason to keep him in the show, if you ask me.
Evan and Janette


Choreographers: Tony Meredith and Melanie Lapatin, rumba
Verdict: Best that could be expected
 
Janette is going to bring out Evan's inner Latino stallion, which I think might require actual surgery. But he adds a little more sex to the routine than his usual smiley-face stuff, and he manages not to make one goofy face that I can see. Janette, of course, dances circles around him, but that actually kind of works in this routine.
 
Nigel loved the choreography, then notes it's a hard style to get votes with. Nigel said Evan's face wasn't passionate, to which I say, hey at least he wasn't mugging for the camera like a damn hand puppet. Ellen admits she knows nothing, but loves Evan's face and says he's a special, special guy, which is true, and she loves him, but pretty much skips over Janette. Mary thought Evan was on time, balanced and well-connected, then tells Janette she's fire and spice and a hot tamale, though she doesn't get the wooden whistle. Mia tells Evan it's okay he's not a sexpot and she celebrates him and he was sexy with a Zoolander face, which sounds like a pretty backhanded compliment to me. Then she says Janette is tackling everything with a smile on her face, such as the fact she can't get a detailed comment while she's dancing with Evan.


Melissa
Toe Shoes is back, but this time the routine is a little more athletic, which is probably a good thing because I don't think anyone's giving her points for being the iron ballerina anymore.
 
If you weren't getting a snack in the kitchen, did you see the Aliens in the Attic promo? What the hell? Uglier than gremlins, but more annoying. Great. Please save me from sucky summer family movies, please. Everyone just go see Up again and call it a day.


Brandon and Jeanine
Choreographer: Laurieann Gibson, pop-jazz
Verdict: Stomp, stomp, stomp
 
Laurieann tells them there's no story and there's no thinking allowed, and they shouldn't be girls, and she seems to scream a lot, and Jeanine appears to cry at one point, so I'm not really digging this mean chick. And all that crazy doesn't pay off in that great of a routine, if you ask me, which looks pretty stompy and clumsy to me. Not my favorite thing from either of these dancers, even if the audience got all riled up.
 
But maybe you needed to see this one live and in person, because as much as I found it annoying, the judges luuuuved it. Nigel said it was the standout of the evening, then thanks the heavens for this performance. Ellen says they made it appealing to join the armed forces, and says they were unbelievable. Mary says it's strong and powerful then gives them a big, long hoot. Mia says Laurieann is her sister, then says Jeanine and Brandon went into a place, and then she gets all tangential, and there are a lot of wows, and then a final wow, and a congratulations. So, everyone thought this was the second coming, and hey, who am I to argue?


Evan
Gee, Evan does Broadway, shocker. But it's him, and he's his cute self, and he does a pretty good split jump, so I can't hate it.


Jeanine
She does a little pop-and-lockish bit with some traditional dance moves thrown in, and it's interesting.


Ade and Melissa
Choreographer: Toasty Oreo, contemporary
Verdict: The one routine you'll remember next year
Okay, so Laurieann doesn't bother with story at all, but Toasty Oreo busts out a dance about breast cancer, and honestly, how much more interesting and challenging is that? And Ade and Melissa do it all to a Maxwell cover of a Kate Bush song, so you just want to cry before they even get started. I loved this dance. Loved, loved, loved it. It was passionate and real and beautiful and searingly painful, too, and I can't really say that about anything else I've seen this season. Afterwards, Melissa gets all weepy, and Toasty in the audience gets weepy, and I'm getting weepy. Man, it was something. Kayla may have a future on Broadway, but Melissa might be a little actress, too.
 
Nigel says the dance shows him why he loves dance, and then, honest to God, has to hold back tears. Then he says Toasty can expect another Emmy for this one, then says it's one of the most memorable routines he's seen on the show, and he couldn't think of a better couple to dance it.  Ellen says she feels privileged to witness it and doesn't bust out even a single joke. Mary's full-out crying, and says she'll never forget it. She leaves the hot tamale train in the station, but it would  have been goofy to bring it out. Mia is the first one to completely break down, proving there's a marshmallow center under the tough exterior. She starts talking about breast cancer, and says she can't comment on the dancing, but it was a perfect portrait, and you know, I know no one wants to comment on the dancing, but I will say they brought it anyway, just because.


Brandon
He gets all sexy and flips and jumps and does lots of tough guy things without his hirt, which reveals he has one of those cliched bicep tattoos, but we can forgive him for that.


Kayla and Jason
Choreographer: Shane Sparks, hip-hop
 
Okay, no one should have to follow Ade and Melissa. After that, everyone was emotionally exhausted and looking for the door, hoping they parked close to the exit. And a zombie routine, well, that's just not the thing you want to do to follow-up the cancer dance. But this is fun, even though there are a few moments when you can tell Kayla's body is saying, hey, I'm a REAL dancer, don't jerk me around like this, I'm going to look graceful right here and you can just suck it up, Kayla. But it's nice to see her looking like a schoolgirl zombie, because we know she's busting out that costume for Halloween.
 
Nigel gets the Michael Jackson reference, then says he can't believe Kayla is doing it, but he thought it was fantastic. Ellen thinks they were amazing, while Mary thinks her puppy dog Jason got bit by a rabid dog. She says they hit it and hit it hard, and she loved it, then starts screaming, which is a horrible noise but everyone loves it. Mia says the piece her favorite that Shane ever did on the show, then says she loved the strangling moment, which really shouldn't surprise us at all.
 
Then, it's time to place our calls, and we're reminded by the greatest hits montage that everyone at this point is really, really good, and Thursdays really are going to suck. So, alright, you win, Cat. You win.
 
What did you think of Melissa and Ade's last dance? Are you looking forward to seeing Katie Holmes? What did you think of Ellen DeGeneres as a judge?