The remaining nine finalists gave it their all on So You Think You Can Dance last night in what was the best episode of the season to date. The new crew has finally arrived.
After a scattered first few weeks, with the show seemingly experimenting with its new format so much that some of the dancing was lost in the shuffle, this was vintage SYTYCD.
Let's get right down to it, because the Top 9 certainly didn't waste any time, with Adechike and Lauren the first to dance, to a hip-hop routine that let them really let loose.
Part fun and flirty and part sexy and serious, the judges appeared to love it almost as much as we did, kicking off Wednesday's top nine performances in terrific fashion.
Next was a contemporary routine Ashley performed with Ade. At first we were sure he would outshine her, but without a doubt, Ashley brought her A-game this week.
The first solo performer of the night, Billy, actually showed some much-needed swagger this week, and Alex managed out of his shell a little in his solo effort too.
Funk has been known to have that effect on people.
Then there was Robert, whose routine by Sonya was supposedly crafted to his strength, but didn't really do it for us. The judges liked it, but fans? We'll see this evening.
Melinda seemed to lack the same commanding presence in her performance too. Her salsa with Pasha lacked a certain pizazz, and something about her solo was just off.
She's in trouble and may become the third straight female eliminated after Alexie Agdeppa and Cristina Santana. The guys are definitely commanding the season so far.
Lauren needs to channel her more feminine side, to play a character. Her burlesque-style dance with Neal was cute, however, it should have delivered more raw passion.
Jose Ruiz brought back to the "wow" factor with his samba with Anya. He's got all the charisma in the world, whatever he may lack technically, and it will take him far.
Kent was derided by the judges a bit for playing to the audience more than his partner, and reading between the lines, told he needs to grow up and focus a little more.
Then there was the highlight of the night: A guy-guy hip-hop routine!Rather than being taboo, the same-sex dances provide some of the top moments on the show. Case in point: Alex’s "NappyTabs" (whatever the heck that is) routine with Twitch.
The whole thing came together with the two playing a patient and a shrink, respectively, gyrating to some ridiculously creative and entertaining beats and steps. It just worked.
Nigel said it was the best routine Tabitha and Napoleon have ever done on the show, and while he says that approximately 47 times per season, this time wasn't all hyperbole.
It was a nice way to end the episode, which began equally strong. Overall, the quality is really improving and we're starting to embrace the All-Star aspect a little more now.
Prediction: Melinda Sullivan or Robert Roldan goes home tonight. They were the consensus bottom two ... at least among the two people polled in one living room last night.
Who do you think shined the most last night on So You Think You Can Dance? Whose performance will end up being their last on the program? Discuss!