So You Think You Can Dance recap: This is it

The dancers honor the music of Michael Jackson and realizes sometimes being the strongest one in the group can get you sent home.
Ep. 12 | Aired Aug 13, 2014

DIRTY RUDY Despite his fan favorite status and positive attitude all season, Rudy's tight performance of "Dirty Diana" left him an emotional mess.


Rudy Abreu (and Allison Holker)
Style: Jazz, Choreography by Ray Leeper
Music: "Dirty Diana" by Michael Jackson

To say that Rudy is an energetic person would be an understatement. To say that Rudy is an energetic dancer would be a compliment. For this dark jazz routine about obsession, Rudy the same advice as Tanisha about showing more vulnerability because his strength can sometimes result in aggression, which is not the same thing. It seemed like he was finally able to find a balance between his mind and his routine with all-star Allison (who will be a DWTS pro next season!) was the first real showstopper of the night. Usually one to overdo it, Rudy kept his face under control in a routine that was able to showcase a lot of his dancing skills, which may have actually been a problem for Nigel, who cited "great pirouettes" that were out of character. But after Rudy's incredible lift and catch of Allison at the end, how could he go home? Oh right, this week's dance didn't matter so unfortunately his performance from last week had him Cha-Cha into the bottom two.

Zack Everhart (and Makenzie Dustman)
Style: Broadway, Choreography by Spencer Liff
Music: "The Way You Make Me Feel" by Michael Jackson 

Last week, Zach was the only guy who had to dance already knowing that he was in the bottom two. This week, he got to reverse that and be the only guy who got to dance already knowing that he was safe. And he sure deserved it. Broadway is arguably the closest in styles to tap, as Nigel said, so Zack took the the theatrical style quite well especially with his ability to really tell the story of the dance. Completely in sync with the music and Makenzie, Zack is both a great individual dancer and partner at the same time. He commands but doesn't demand attention on stage and has just the perfect amount of showmanship. You can't help but love this guy. He works hard every week to prove to the audience and to himself that he is a real pro.

Jacque LeWarne (and Stephen "tWitch" Boss)
Style: Hip-Hop, Choreography by Dave Scott
Music: "Slave to the Rhythm" by Michael Jackson 

Jessica was nervous to dance with tWitch last week so naturally, Jacque felt the same way. Though the ballerina has already performed a hip-hop routine before, this was definitely a little more "street." After a very bizarre beginning (oh good, you're alive too? Let's hug it out and then... let's dance!) Jacque was able to keep up with tWitch and the two did look good as a couple. But I disagree with the judges—that entire routine looked exactly like what it was: a ballerina trying to do hip-hop. Well, a great ballerina doing good hip-hop at least. Jacque's contemporary ballet piece was mesmerizing last week; this was a little more confusing. Nigel said that Jacque definitely had the swag up there, but once again she was also put in the bottom two.

Jessica Richens (and Will Wingfield)
Style: Contemporary, Choreography by Mandy Moore
Music: "Earth Song" by Michael Jackson

Jessica must have a friend in production somewhere because for the second week in a row, she was able to dance with the comfort of already knowing she was safe and would be here next week. Considering how the voting works logistically, that added bit of confidence could really make a difference in the competition. Not like Jessica needs any more confidence. When Mary is asked by reporters what it takes to win, she may as well just show them a picture of Jessica. The contemporary routine was vibrant and sharp and full of some impressive tricks that will give Tanisha a run for her money in the strength competition. But the reason Jessica is a favorite to so many (including Nigel and Jenna) is because of the passion she brings and the extraordinary journey she has taken to get there. Making Jessica dance for her life back in Vegas was ridiculous then, and it seems Nigel is able to see that now. Jessica, on the other hand, can definitely see the finish line.

The night ended with a real shock as Tanisha and Rudy were sent home. No offense to Casey and Jacque for being saved, but since they had both been in the bottom before, it seemed they were the likely ones leaving. Instead it was two of the strongest dancers of the season who didn't quite make the cut because of their own strength getting in the way.

Follow me on Twitter: @JDPerlman

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