There was no room for error in the Monday night, August 27 episode of “So You Think You Can Dance” when the Top 6 performed. The contestants have been so evenly matched and so consistent during the live shows that they’re all judges’ darlings at this point. So every performance counts more than ever in order to appeal to viewers voting at home. Who survived this latest round? Find out below in our live blog with all the minute-by-minute developments as they happen.
The three women who went into this week’s show were Jensen Arnold, Hannahlei Cabanilla and Genessy Castillo. And the three men were Jay Jay Dixonbey, Darius Hickman and Slavik Pustovoytov. America’s votes had been fairly consistent in previous episodes: Jensen, Hannahlei, Jay Jay and Slavik were safe every week. Genessy and Darius landed in the bottom four for the first time last week, but the judges saved them from the chopping block and sent home Magda Fialek and Cole Mills instead. But so far no one has survived who has been in the bottom four twice.
Going into tonight’s show we were predicting Darius and Genessy as the two contestants most likely to be eliminated, while Jensen overtook Slavik to become this season’s front-runner to win. Find out below whether those predictions panned out starting at 8:00pm (all times listed are Eastern). And at the bottom of this post make sure to check out our exclusive video interviews with Emmy-nominated “SYTYCD” choreographers Christopher Scott, Mandy Moore and Travis Wall.
8:02pm — The show opens with a brand new Mia Michaels group routine, which kind of suggested “Amadeus” crossed with Madonna‘s “Vogue.” Classical feel with a modern sense of style and movement. And big puffy shoulders. I’m not mad at that.
8:04pm — Each of the remaining six contestants will perform three times tonight, and they’ll be dancing with all-stars tonight. All of tonight’s all-stars made the top four in their respective seasons, and we’ll find out this year’s top four at the end of tonight’s show, so the contestants will be hoping some of that top-four energy rubs off.
8:05pm — First performance: Jensen is dancing a cha cha with all-star Kiki Nyemchek that was choreographed by another all-star, Jenna Johnson. And she’s being mentored by her big sister, “SYTYCD” alum Lindsay Arnold. Jensen is the “most incredible dancer” Lindsay has ever seen, says big sis during a really sweet clip package.
8:07pm — “I want it so bad,” says Jensen, who was preparing for tonight’s performance despite feeling a bit under the weather. But you’d never know it from her performance with Kiki. Rock solid throughout, and she sold the routine from beginning to end. Mary Murphy is “proud” of Jenna for choreographing her first ever routine for a live show, and she thought Jensen’s “fast and furious footwork was amazing.” Nigel Lythgoe thinks Jensen is getting “better and better every week.” Vanessa Hudgens enjoyed how Jensen “took the reins.” Twitch thought she set the stage “on fire.” So rave reviews all around.
8:16pm — Next up is Genessy with all-star Lex Ishimoto, who won “SYTYCD” last season, so she drew the best partner she could have asked for. She credits her dancing teacher Anthony Borello as her mentor who made her the dancer that she is. “If I find the confidence in myself,” Genessy says, it will be a good routine.
8:19pm — Genessy’s performance with Lex is eerie, incorporating stocking masks that made the emotions of the dance a little spooky and really highlighted the physicality of the routine. “You have been remarkable on this show,” says Nigel about Genessy’s performance. Vanessa thought the expression of Genessy’s body was “beautiful” and “gorgeous.” Twitch thought, “Having the mask on forced you to feel,” enhancing the emotion of her performance, and he wants her to keep it up. Mary thought Genessy has “shown us her true self” every time she has gotten on-stage. And on top of those great comments, Genessy could help but cry when she saw her mother in the audience cheering her on.
8:27pm — Slavik is performing with season 12 “SYTYCD” runner-up Jaja Vankova, and it’s being choreographed by another all-star, Comfort Fedoke. And Slavik considers another all-star his mentor: he was greatly inspired by Fik-Shun, who won season 10.
8:30pm — I thought it was excellent how the modern hip-hop choreography contrasts against the 1950s domestic motif. Vanessa loves Slavik’s “swagger,” but she could sense him thinking. Twitch agrees that Slavik wasn’t always in the moment in the routine, thinking through it from time to time. “What we missed from you was the complete devotion,” Twitch added of Slavik’s performance, and he thought “Jaja carried that routine.” Ouch! Mary felt this performance “let him down a little bit.” Nigel thinks Slavik needs to get his shoulders back. I’m surprised by how critical the judges were of this routine, and poor Slavik looks like a deer in headlights taking in the critiques. I liked it better than the judges did.
8:35pm — Hannahlei will be performing next, dancing with all-star Marko Germar with choreography by all-star Robert Roldan, who is making his “SYTYCD” choreography debut. No pressure.
8:38pm — Hannahlei’s mentor is Amy Berokoff, who choreographed her audition solo to make the show this season.
8:40pm — There are a lot of lifts in this contemporary routine, so Marko is relived that Hannahlei is so petite. There’s so much delicacy and fluidity in the lifts that Hannahlei seems light as a feather, which is a credit to both dancers I think. Great acting and emotional connection from both partners. Twitch thought it was “amazing” and that Hannahlei is “one of the hardest working dancers this season.” Mary thought the architecture of the routine was “brilliant” with “incredible” transitions. Nigel thinks her extensions are so “beautiful” that she never looks physically small. Vanessa thought it was a “flawless” performance.
8:45pm — Jay Jay chooses as his mentor Mark Meismer, a choreographer who is father figure to Jay Jay since his dad wasn’t around.
8:46pm — Mandy Moore is choreographing a jazz routine for Jay Jay and all-star Lauren Froderman. “Mandy has high expectations for me since I’m the only jazz dancer left on the show,” says Jay Jay. Fingers crossed because Jay Jay is one of my favorites this season.
8:48pm — Jay Jay is so good at infusing his bright, joyous personality into every routine he dances. I hope the judges liked that. Mary thinks he has never looked better, and the routine was “out of this world … No one looks like they’re having more fun” than Jay Jay. Nigel thought it was “brilliantly choreographed,” and he challenged Jay Jay to do his split jump over the much taller Cat Deeley. Much to everyone’s surprise, Jay Jay actually did it! He executed the jump successfully, though Cat in her heels toppled over ever so slightly. “If that doesn’t get me an Emmy,” says Cat. Your lips to the academy’s ears. Vanessa doesn’t think she’s seen a single weak moment from Jay Jay. And Twitch encourages Jay Jay to keep being as brave as Cat just was.
8:56pm — Darius is joining all-star Taylor Sieve for a routine by choreographer Travis Wall. Darisu is inspired by his mother, who has inspired him to be himself. Travis’s performance was inspired by the challenge of coming out of the closet and feeling ridiculed for who he was. Taylor is meant to represent the forces of negativity and ridicule that Darius is fighting to overcome.
8:59pm — That was a highly conceptual performance, with Darius fighting Taylor, whose seemed to be embodying toxic masculinity. A lot of complex costume changes in that performance, but it didn’t overwhelm a truly bold performance. Nigel was “proud” of Travis, Darius and the show for showcasing this celebration of bravery. Nigel calls Darius his “favorite dancer this season.” Vanessa said, “I am shook … You have a long career ahead of you.” Twitch thought the piece “transcends the competition … It’s a masterpiece.” Mary thought it was “the most important and powerful” routine of the night. I agree it was a powerful, confrontational piece about gender expression. I have a feeling this is going on Travis Wall’s 2019 Emmy reel.
9:03pm — The season 15 contestants are back to dancing with each other. Jay Jay and Jensen are reuniting for a Polynesian routine choreographed by Tiana Liufau. Very excited to see how these two tackle a Polynesian routine after they did so well at African jazz a couple of weeks ago.
9:06pm — Vanessa “loved it.” Twitch had “nothing but praises” for their performance. Mary thought it was “sharp and powerful.” Nigel thought their “hips don’t lie.” Nigel admits that Tiana knows better than he does how good their technique was, but he loved the performance nonetheless. I felt the same way. I don’t know much about this style of dance (even less than I know about other styles of dance), but I know what I like, and I like Jay Jay and Jensen when they’re dancing together. They have such an admirable commitment to every dance style, no matter how far it is from what they’re used to.
9:13pm — Genessy and Slavik are back together for a salsa choreographed by Jonathan and Oksana. “We haven’t done anything as crazy as this,” says Slavik, but salsa runs in Genessy’s family, so she might be more comfortable with it. But hopefully Slavik gets back on track after his bad reviews for his first performance.
9:17pm — Twitch thought the choreographers came through “with the fire,” but again Twitch wasn’t satisfied with Slavik, who was too much in his head. Mary thinks it’s “mind-blowing” for Slavik to handle the choreography he has had to master all season, but he didn’t have the right style and technique for the routine. Nigel thought the choreographers did a good job in letting Genessy do most of the work, but Slavik needs to work on his confidence. I felt the same way about this routine. He didn’t seem to comfortable, and I suspect more than anything it was the critiques from his first dance that threw off his confidence.
9:24pm — One more duet: Darius and Hannahlei are teaming up for the first time since their partners were eliminated last week. They’re performing an Argentine tango choreographed by Leonardo and Miriam, and they’re at a disadvantage since they’re a brand new couple and haven’t had as much time as the other couples to establish their chemistry together.
9:26pm — Hannahlei is a firecracker, but I’m not sure the dance style sat as comfortably on Darius. Though they got a standing ovation from the judges, so sounds good. Mary loved it, and she’s a ballroom specialist, so that’s high praise. Nigel thought it was “sexy and sultry.” Vanessa is “on team Darahlei … It was amazing.” Twitch says, “This is what happens when two powerhouses come together.”
9:29pm — Time for some results! The first dancer who has advanced to the top four is … Jensen! No surprise there, really. She felt like a lock for the finale.
9:35pm — The top three men are next, performing a routine choreographed by Christopher Scott. Good work from all three, I thought, interesting use of props (bring on the cinder blocks!). Nigel thought there were places where the three dancers weren’t completely tight or in sync, but he’s giving them leeway given the number of dances they had to learn this week. Vanessa gives them credit for their hard work. Twitch loved the “composure” from the three dancers. Mary thought it “worked for all of you.”
9:39pm — More results on the way. The second dancer who has advanced to the top four is … Slavik! That’s not a surprise either since the audience voted last week, and the judges loved his work last week. But it’ll be tough to see either Darius or Jay Jay go home after how good both of them were tonight.
9:44pm — “It’s time for female empowerment,” says Cat, introducing the top three women doing a trippy, psychedelic, futuristic hip-hop routine by Luther Brown. Excellent performances from all the women, but the white dreadlocks are kinda stealing the show.
9:47pm — Vanessa thought it was “fire” and wants to be a “fembot” just like them. Twitch adds, “If that’s what the future looks like, sign me up.” Mary loves the “girl power,” and she loved the concept and dancing. Nigel thought the women “all brought it tonight.”
9:48pm — More results. The third dancer who is moving into the top four is … Hannahlei! That’s not a surprise either. There’s only one spot left, and it doesn’t sound like Genessy has been automatically eliminated, so it doesn’t seem like there will necessarily be two men and two women in the finale.
9:53pm — Genessy, Jay Jay and Darius are waiting to find out which one of them is going to be joining the top four, and which two will be eliminated.
9:54pm — The fourth and final contestant moving to the finals is … Genessy! Okay, that result is blowing my mind a bit. I love Genessy, but after she was in the bottom four last week I thought her fate had been sealed. Jay Jay and Darius both getting the boot is rough. Given how much the judges loved them tonight, Slavik is going to have a lot to prove next week as the only male dancer in the finale. He’ll need to redeem himself in a big way.
9:59pm — So those are you top four, America: Jensen Arnold, Hannahlei Cabanilla, Genessy Castillo and Slavik Pustovoytov. Who do you think deserves to win? Vote in our poll below to let us know what you think:
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