To begin the show, the remaining four boys and four girls paired up in a contemporary number with an Asian theme, donning red and black costumes and Geisha-style fans. It wasn’t the most compelling of group performances, but it was strong, and certainly different from anything we’ve seen this season. Then Nigel, Mary, and Modern Family star Jesse Tyler Ferguson were introduced by Cat, who then explained that tonight each contestant would perform TWICE: Once with their all-star partner, and once by themselves.
Tiffany began the competition by herself to the Glee version of Beyoncé’s “I Was Here.” To me, her soft pink costume and lyrical style just reminded me of a senior solo at every dance recital I’ve ever been to (and that’s a lot). It just reinforced in my mind that she was much more forgettable than her brunette counterpart, Audrey, who was voted off the show last week.

The first duet was performed by Witney and tWitch, who took on an “East-Coast” ratchet hip-hop routine. It was a lot of flash, but quite a bit of substance to go along with that. I was more reminded of a Friday night at a club than anything else. Nigel told Witney she “bring[s] it every time,” and then was beeped out, although for what I’m not quite sure. Mary took off her imaginary hat to Witney, and couldn’t seem to find the words for what is was Witney “had.” Jesse told Witney she had a natural sensuality, and that she was brilliant.

Will was the second to perform his solo. Set to “Better Man” by James Morrison, it was full of flawless extensions and a grace and presence that’s become his signature. His adorable face and innocent smile didn’t hurt either.

For the second duet, Cole performed with Allison to a Bjork song, decked out in a sort of destroyed-formal wear look, Allison’s dress reminiscent of Black Swan. The dancing itself was precise and dramatic, and I could tell it would be a judge’s favorite. Jesse compared it to the show American Horror Story, and Mary told Allison it was the best she’d ever done, even from her own tenure on the show. Nigel added that it was “quirky and slightly scary,” and that the way Cole was going, he’d be in the finale.

Next for the solos was Lindsay, who stuck to her native ballroom with a spicy Latin number. She has facial expressions down pat, which is more than I can say for most on the show. Other than that, it wasn’t particularly memorable, although I know Nigel will save those two young blondes as long as he can.

Eliana teamed up with Ryan to play a disgruntled housewife in a quick step routine. Why they give ballroom numbers a story I’ll never know, but the dance spoke for itself. It always amazes me how they spin each other so quickly and then pull off flips and turns out of the blue. Mary said Eliana “brought it on,” and Jesse followed up with, “Holy smokies, Lord have mercy!” Nigel added that her technique was great, and complimented her on her ability to take on every style of dance that’s thrown her way.

The second male solo was performed by Chehon, the male ballerina with turns that go on for days. His number was a little more modern than technical ballet, but he definitely used his thirty seconds well, showing off his years of training.

Alex joined Lindsay for a jazz routine set to “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye. The piece was flawlessly performed, with every moment so purposeful and exact that I had to go back and watch it again for fear of having missed something while typing my notes. Nigel spoke first, saying that he loved the choreography, song, and dancers’ technique, but that he “didn’t feel the sexual tension.” Mary agreed, saying, “it’s a ‘no’ in the chemistry department.” Jesse told Lindsay she was “ding-dong-adorable” but resounded with Nigel and Mary’s thoughts on the lack of emotion.

Will danced with Lauren to a song aptly named “Dance My Pain Away.” It was an interesting song for a hip-hop number, and the pair used a set of couches and a coffee table to jump around the stage. Mary spoke first, saying Will was articulate and precise in a way that he doesn’t always achieve. Jesse compared Will to an adorable puppy (spot-on, in my opinion), but was happy that he managed to step away from that for a number. Nigel echoed the others, adding that Will contained his “cheesiness.”

Witney took on a Rihanna song for her solo ballroom number, and she certainly played to her biggest strength: her sex appeal. Like I said, Nigel is her biggest fan. She whipped across the stage, shaking her behind faster than your eyes can follow it.

Cole, Mr. Martial Arts, was the next to perform alone, showing his self-proclaimed “martial-arts fusion style.” He moved across the stage with elegance and power while doing flying kicks and slicing arm movements. It was definitely like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

Cyrus was paired with Melanie for a fast-paced jazz routine with a 1960s flair. It was sassy and fun, but I found it hard to believe Cyrus in the role of a saucy, swinging party-goer. Jesse told Cyrus he was destined to be a legacy synonymous with the show because he was able to tackle the style that other dancers had mastered, but none of them could match his unique talents. Nigel said “America must love you,” and Mary added that because he lacks formal training, he blows her mind by keeping up with the others.

The last female to perform solo was former Joffrey Ballet student Eliana, who brought out her pointe shoes and tutu for this one. Her facial expressions ranged from joy to despair as she followed the violins all over the stage, extending her legs beautifully.

A tango was next, performed by Chehon and Anya. The former got to lead with some of his signature leaps before gliding across the stage with his partner, lifting her into the air in her glitzy black dress. It was hard to believe that he claimed to not really know what a tango was before this, because I was convinced he was a trained professional. The judges gave it a standing ovation, and Mary chimed in that it was a “perfect storm,” with the building tension, and it was her number one dance of the evening. Jesse had to make up his own “hot jalapeno bus” to invite Chehon on for his stellar performance. Finally, Nigel added that the pair made a connection that he loved.

Cyrus was the last to dance his solo, and it was amazing, as expected. The crowd went crazy the second his music came on. He proceeded to move his body in an inhuman fashion until the music ended and the judges joined the audience in clapping and whistling.

Finally, Tiffany danced to “The Power of Love” by Celine Dion in a lovely lyrical number. Her partner, Ade, allowed her to fly and leap, and the two were in perfect synch with every step. Another standing ovation was granted from the judges, and Jesse spoke first, complimenting the lifts more than anything. Mary told Tiffany it was her best performance of the season, and Nigel quoted One Direction saying, “you don’t know you’re beautiful.” More specifically, she didn’t act flashy, and was technically focused.

In the bottom two were Nigel’s blonde’s, Witney and Lindsay. I knew exactly how this would go – though both were talented and beautiful, Witney had always been the favorite. And I was right, as Lindsay was sent home. As for the boys, Will and Cole were on the chopping block. I’m more partial to Cole, most likely due to his hilarious personality and completely original style of dance. Once again, I was rewarded, and Will was eliminated. Next week, the top six is all that will remain!