Okay, not to get all Cat about it, but this is one Thursday I'm kinda dreading. This top ten is so good and likable I just know this is going to smart, no matter who gets sent home. I look to Debbie Allen to say just the right thing to make it all not suck, but tonight may even be beyond her considerable sweet talking skills.

[Recap of Thursday (July 16) night's "So You Think You Can Dance," spoilers included, after the break...]

At least we got to kick things off with an exceptional geisha-inspired dance number, which is very Madonna circa "Ray of Light," but in a good way. While I was a bit surprised they chose a Janet Jackson track (c'mon producers, Michael's people already shot you down on the tribute show, you don't need to kiss up to the Jacksons anymore), the choreography was fiery, the make-up and costumes were smokin'  (even if you had no idea who you were looking at, especially the guys thanks to the big black hats and matching pajamas) and it was infinitely watchable.

Apparently there are a lot of dance routines people find infinitely watchable on this show, because Cat informs us that the show has received four Emmy nominations (one of which is for my fave, Toasty Oreo). Sadly, Nigel isn't around to gloat or say something executive producer-y, because he's off getting an honorary doctorate at the University of Bedfordshire in England, which sounds nice but leaves a big, gaping hole at judges' table, but whatever. From now on, you know people are going to call him Dr. Nigel, which should be worth a few laughs.

 

Janette

Status: Safe

Really, how could she not be safe? The only thing that will shock me is if she doesn't win this whole thing.

 

Randi

Status: In danger

Boy, Randi must be the most level-headed girl in the world or has a lifetime supply of Paxil, because she just smiled and nodded like a bobblehead Barbie as Cat slowly ran through everything she screwed up the night before and bitch slapped her right into the bottom three. I hate to see Randi go, but looking at the competition, I can't say she'd be the wrong choice.

 

Jeanine

Status: Safe

Given that her routine last night earned a standing O from the judges, there's no way to begrudge her a place in the final eight. Having finally gotten a chance to see her dance with someone who wasn't Phillip, I can finally say she's immensely talented in her own right – not just looking good in comparison to a total bozo.

 

Kayla

Status: Safe

This is a shocker, considering that Kayla seems to own permanent real estate in the bottom three despite her longstanding ticket on the hot tamale train. I suspect voters, realizing the judges couldn't save their pet anymore, finally stepped up and phoned it in for her.

 

Melissa

Status: In danger

No! I am in denial. You do not mess with the ballerina, America!

Because we have to drag this process out to an agonizing hour when it could be done and over with in all of ten minutes, we took a break to look at Season Six auditions. First we meet Molly, who is good but seriously, Kayla makes her like a three-year-old flopping around on the carpet. Sorry, but I think this season might have really spoiled me and it's not even over.

 

Jason

Status: Safe

So, Mary isn't the only one who wants to pinch his cheeks. I had been thinking he was a bit borderline, but after last night, I'm ready to see more from Baby Face.

 

Evan

Status: Safe

That Gene Kelly solo surely saved him, but then again, he's possibly the most likable guy in the top five. Is that enough to make up for some so-so dancing? Well, apparently yes, but I'd hate to see someone more deserving go home.

 

Kupono

Status: In danger

Kupono, Kupono, Kupono. You have to stop dressing like a homeless pirate. The twirl to show off your craptastic outfit after Cat mentioned it, also, bad idea. Without a choreographer (and sometimes with one), this guy just doesn't deliver.

 

Ade

Status: In danger

It's a little crushing that Ade ends up in the bottom after the first couples' dance in which he didn't appear to be sleepwalking. Damn!

 

Brandon

Status: Safe

I think getting beaten up by Mia Michaels (and ultimately winning her over) has earned Brandon enough goodwill to keep him alive in this competition for the long haul, and the good news? He's just that damn good, too.

 

Coming back from the break, Cat tells us that Mia Michaels will be back at the judges' table next week, and for some reason Ellen DeGeneres is dropping by, which doesn't make a lot of sense to me, but hey, she's a pretty good dancer so maybe they'll toss her on the stage and crank up the tunes. Then, Cat reminds us that Katie Holmes is going to dance (or has danced, since it's pre-taped), and I have to say this stupid showboating Mrs. Cruise hoo-ha has gotten so much lead time I'm pretty sick of the whole thing.

It's finally time for the in-danger dancers to dance for their lives, although it's a pretty pointless exercise, since they could sit in the middle of the floor for a few minutes making sock puppets and it would make absolutely no difference in their ultimate fates. So dance, monkeys, dance, for tonight you may die anyway! Mwahahahaha!

 

Randi

I still like Randi. She looks like she's having a great time. But is she as good as the other girls? So close... but, alas, not quite.

Mary calls her a heavenly creature, but says she's under the radar and she'll have to take more chances if she survives. Debbie loved her solo, but hated her Wednesday night costume what with the granny panties and all. Debbie also admits to hating the paso doble, which makes Mary squeal like a frightened baby pig, but Debbie goes on to say the paso doble wasn't Randi's thing, which was more of her point anyway, and Mary settles down to a low snuffling grunt.

 

Kupono

He does his jerky twitchy frog dancing, which is all fine and dandy but really pretty unwatchable.

Mary says he's a great dancer who had a bad night and, like me, she didn't love the solo. Debbie says nothing, because the show is short on time and Cat just shined her on.

 

Melissa

She busts out the toe shoes again, but the routine looks a whole lot like the other solos she's done in the past.

Debbie says Melissa got passed over because America is spoiled, and then acts a little spoiled herself in demanding more from Melissa's solo work, not the same routine over and over, which makes Melissa's smile tighten in a frightening Nicole Kidman-y way, but sorry, Debbie always speaks the truth.

 

Ade

Oh crap, the "Unchained Melody" freak-out dance. Seriously, I hate this. Time for a new song, egads.

I seem to be the only person who loathes this solo, because Mary says he's a star and should just keep doing what he's doing.

 

And... oh, no, we're not eliminating anyone yet. We've got a musical number. But hey, it's okay, because it's Black Eyed Peas and this should be fun.

BEP performs "I've Got A Feeling," and there's confetti and dancing and stomping around the stage, and it's one big summertime party, which seems like a pretty good idea to me.  I remember seeing Fergie when she was in Wild Orchid (that was not pretty, trust me) and the Peas when they were just a bunch of guys singing politically-themed anthems that made people a little uncomfortable, and you know, say what you want about dumb, feel good dance songs, but this is just a lot more fun.

Then, finally, the bad news we've all been waiting for. Randi is out.

Okay, the poor girl's little face crumpled up a little bit when Cat broke the news, but then she was all smiles, and man, I will hate to see her and her unitards go. But I've got to think she has a future in dance or doing something chronically spunky, like starring in romantic comedies that Kate Hudson passes on.

Next, Kupono gets the boot. He also takes the bad news in stride, and watching his goodbye reel, despite the weird homeless pirate thing, I have to say he's turned in some great performances. Good-bye, Crash Test Dummy, you did good.

 

Do you think Kupono and Randi should have gone? Who did you vote for? And what the heck do you think Ellen DeGeneres is going to do on the show?