At the start of Monday night’s episode of “So You Think You Can Dance,” the top six had their sights set on next week’s finale, but by the end of the night only four remained in the hunt to become America’s next favorite dancer. America’s votes from last week’s Top 7 episode were the determining factor in who advanced to the finale, meaning series judges Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy and Vanessa Hudgens were powerless in the decision. But before the results were dropped each of the six took the stage three more times — once with their all-star partner, once with another semi-finalist and once for a solo in their own style. So which dancers prevailed and who failed to make the last cut of the competition? Find out in our season 14, episode 13 recap below and let us know your own thoughts in the comments.
The jam-packed night of dancing began with a group routine, “Prism,” choreographed by Christopher Scott and a huge congratulations from host Cat Deeley for series staples Mandy Moore and Travis Wall, who tied for an Emmy win for Best Choreography on Sunday night’s Creative Arts Emmys. To kick off the competition, Lex Ishimoto and his all-star partner Gaby Diaz took on a samba by Sasha Farber to “Chillando Goma.” Adopting his “Sexy Lexi” persona for another ballroom dance, Lex didn’t nail the technique according to Mary, but he still brings the energy and rhythm that makes his dancing enjoyable to watch.
Kaylee Millis‘s solo to “LOVE.” was prefaced by a clip of her in the boxing gym with her father, whose training she says has been the biggest influence on her dance life. Then for Koine Iwasaki‘s first dance of the night she performed in contemporary with her partner Marko Germar to “You’re the Last Thing on My Mind,” choreographed by Mandy Horpinen and Elizabeth Petrin. The unique dance used a closet bar and hanger as a prop, requiring acrobatics and athleticism from Koine that impressed the entire panel. Then, to introduce her solo to “Unravel Me,” Taylor Sieve highlighted her mentor, who owns the dance studio she trained in from a very young age.
Kiki Nyemchek and Jenna Johnson started their night with another jazz piece, this one to “Proud Mary” and choreographed by Ray Leeper. The quickness of the routine left the dancers out of breath, but triggered the sought after “hot tamale train” scream from Mary, an official seal of approval. Logan Hernandez then introduced his sister as his mentor; she’s a dancer in her own right and inspired him to enter and work hard in the dance community, and after that tribute he took the stage for his solo to “Infinity Street.”
The fourth pair to dance was Kaylee and Cyrus Spencer, taking on hip-hop choreographed by Phillip Chbeeb. “Die Trying” literally boxed them in on stage, and though the judges were split on their appreciation for the piece it still managed to show Kaylee’s brute strength.
For Koine’s solo she danced to “Why I Love You,” but not before she paid tribute to her brother, whose selflessness paved the way for Koine’s training and career. Taylor was up next with her partner Robert Roldan for a highly stylized hip-hop piece by Keone & Mari Madrid. The dance earned a standing ovation from the judges and high acclaim from Mary in particular. Lex’s solo to “Brother” was next, following him tribute to his mentor who trained and nurtured his artistic approach to dance.
The final dancer/all-star duet was by Logan and Allison Holker, who drew a contemporary dance by Dee Caspary to “The Other Side.” It marked their first time dancing in their style together, so as you’d expect they were perfect, and the judges were floored by it, though Nigel wanted to see more emotionality from Logan. Rounding out the solos, Kiki spoke about his family of ballroom dancers that encouraged him throughout his life before he took the stage for “Summertime.”
In the third rotation of the night, each dancer was paired for a duet with one of their peers like they were in the Top 8. Lex and Koine were up first for a spin-centric and fast-paced disco routine to “Knock on Wood” choreographed by Doriana Sanchez. Next were Taylor and Logan in a jazz routine by Mark Kanemura to “Gypsy,” and finally Kaylee and Kiki for a Bollywood number to “Gallan Goodiyaan” by Nakul Dev Mahajan. In a surprise reveal, following each duet Cat Deeley announced that one dancer from each pair had the votes to qualify them for the final four — the three that earned immediate safety were Lex, Taylor and Kiki.
That left Koine, Logan and Kaylee in danger of being cut in the double elimination, meaning only one would advance. Of the three, Kaylee had been in the bottom three twice this season, while Logan and Koine had only appeared there once each. Ultimately, Koine earned more votes than the other two, sending her to the finale and resulting in the elimination of Logan and Kaylee.
Next Monday “SYTYCD” will air its live finale performance show. The votes cast after tonight’s Top 6 episode will be added to the votes from next week’s episode to help determine the winner. Who is your favorite dancer in the top four and who do you think will be named America’s favorite dancer? Sound off in the comments below!