So You Think You Can Dance: Top Eight Performance Show, 7/27/11

E: Lady Gaga.  Rob Marshall.  Tears. Sonya Tayeh rules the night, baby! Dance, dance, dance!

Tonight Cat looks like a modernized version of a 1960 sorority sister to me – she’s got on a white dress, in something that looks a bit like seer sucker, with tiny spaghetti straps.  It’s tightly fitted with slim little ruffles on the hips (that’s the modern part); Cat’s so lanky that it’s actually flattering.  Her hair’s pushed back in a headband, and the general effect is girlish and summery.   She introduces the amazing line up of judges with star power to spare – but not just star power, y’all.  They’ve got serious dancing chops.  Broadway guy and savior of the movie musical Rob Marshall is in the house: his movies have got 23 Oscar nods, and he’s also involved with 4 Emmys and 6 Tonys and his head is bright orange.  His hands, under his dark, somewhat conservative suit, are not.  Dude.  Serious make up/spray tan fail.

But he’s not the king of the show, is he?  The ruler this week isn’t executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, either, or Cat’s soul sister Mary Murphy – it’s pop phenom/performance artist Lady Gaga.67 million singles downloaded, 57 million albums sold – damn.  And of course she’s got lots of  Grammy nods and MTV Moon Men and all that.   Her hair is long and robin’s egg blue, and she’s wearing some sort of Sergeant Pepper tribute ensemble in a sort of orange.  It’s not embroidered, but is made of patterned fabric.  And she’s got on a crimson military style hat, facing sideways.

When the dancers spun through their introductions, I was amazed to see Sasha in a sparkly lavender and pink gown.  Guess who’s going first?  And guess what she’s doing?  It’s ballroom!  Oh dear.  Don’t you put my Sasha in the slot of doom so you can keep Jordan, people.  Or Caitlynn, or anybody else.  I am just saying to you.  I will stand no manipulation here.

Okay, I’m sorry, I just feel very protective of Sasha and the only time she’s ever been in the bottom was when she opened the show, despite performing brilliantly.  Just had to get that off my chest.  Speaking of chests, she’s dancing with Pasha (mroaw) to a Jonathan Roberts quickstep.  Oh, awesome.  She gets the slot of doom and the dance of death both!  Damn you people!  At least Sasha and Pasha are easy to remember as a pairing.

Roberts’ idea is a futuristic, alternate reality Quickstep, like we’ve never seen, and the Dancing With the Stars dancer/choreographer basically delivers as much as you can with that vague premise.  The song?  “Putting on the Ritz” as interpreted by Terry Snyder.   Sasha’s in spangly purple and pink, as aforementioned, which is really flattering, but she’s wearing this really odd headpiece with looks to be made out of straw and petals.  Really odd.  Pasha’s got on a vest and half sparkly tie.   There are great lifts, and it’s very fast and light (hello, quickstep) and they do these really goofy hand positions.  I liked the beginning particularly, when they sort of leaned into each other – the shapes were definitely not your average ballroom.

Rob Marshall tells her how much he loves her and how she’s his favorite – and he loves seeing her in heels.  He loved it, but was sorry to see her in a sort of binding style, since the best thing about Sasha is her utter abandon.  True that, Orange Man!  Mary praises her topline, while saying she could have softer knees so there’d be more skimmy (I’m not making this up, I swear).  But does it matter when you have magnificent stage presence and the best body position of the season?  You know, I thought she’d take this opportunity to belatedly put Sasha on the hot tamale train, but no go.  Nigel says she’s his favorite by a hair’s breadth, so it looks like someone other than me still hasn’t gotten over last week’s most amazing number.  It’ll probably change, but it’s true at this moment.  She’s put on a five star performance. Lady Gaga says that Sasha’s – quote – as shiny on the outside as she is on the inside, and she thought Sasha’s interpretation of the choreography was thought provoking and beautiful.

Now, the last time she got hip hop it didn’t go so well – and the last time the choreographer was on the show, it didn’t go so well either – but Marty Kudelka’s going to try getting something started for Ivan and Caitlynn.  The idea: Caitlynn’s sick of her loser boyfriend, and Ivan swoops in to pick her up.  As Mario’s “Let Me Love You” begins, Caitlynn sits on a bench, frowning at her phone, looking a bit at a loss.  Why wasn’t this part choreographed?  It should have been.  Ivan skids in, all confidence and swagger and eye winking, Justin Timberlake style. Boy is smooth, and I like it.  Caitlynn’s pretty outraged by his flirting at first, but succumbs to it.  She’s sexy – they’re both in jeans and leather jackets – and Ivan has serious swag, and really has Kudelka’s soft slickness down, but somehow, it’s not all that.  Maybe we were just wrecked for hip hop after last week.

I was surprised how much I enjoyed the song, though.  And Ivan.

Mary Murphy practically works herself into a conniption over Ivan.  She thought it was really good, but not great, because Caitlynn wasn’t sitting in her pocket (?) like Ivan was.  This does not mean Mary’s pocket.  Caitlynn’s supposed to be sitting in her own pocket.  Nigel agrees, but he doesn’t explain it better.  You need to open your legs, he tells Caitlynn, only to be essentially clouted for it by Gaga.  I knew I liked her. Gaga thinks Caitlynn’s extremely sexy and thought they made a magical connection.  She notes correctly that Ivan moved through all the movements, and Caitlynn didn’t.  (Which is to say, keep dancing between the ‘steps’ or it all looks too contrived.)  Rob Marshall finishes things off with this good advice; lose yourself in the story – don’t be presentational.  Too right, Mr. Marshall, sir.

Tyce has an athletic jazz routine for Jordan and Ade.  Oh, yummy.  I love Ade.  Their job is to be badder than bad – they’ve got a sexy secret rendez-vous and they’ve run off to be bad.  Jordan’s in a purpley-wine colored romper with back ruffles at the top, and Ade’s in a tight black t and pants which make his thighs look pretty outrageous.  The two of them have huge grins, and they’re just fun.  It’s Tina Turner singing “Nutbush City Limits” and Ade’s flinging Jordan up over his head and bending her around like a pretzel, and it’s outrageous, too.  It wasn’t the most memorable thing every, or the sexiest (we know what that is), but it was a lot of flat out dancing, and it was just contagious fun.

Nigel definitely found it contagious – he wanted to be up there with them.  He’s stunned by how pliable Jordan is.  You give me so much hope, Lady Gaga tells the stunned and grateful girl. I genuinely have no idea what that means.  Hope that the Pussycat Dolls will still go on?  Hope that leg extensions will never go out of style?  I’m at a loss.  Either way, she’s a fan.  She also shows us her crazy red shoes, which are at least a foot high, to explain why she loves that Jordan’s legs are so long and amazing even though Jordan, like Gaga, is short.  (Is it so much that Jordan’s legs are long as that the choreographers always have her splaying them apart?  Not to be rude; I just can’t tell if the other girls are actually less flexible, or that the choreographers just don’t ask them to spend their entire routines spread eagled.)  She calls them a fashion catheter, and what in God’s name do you say to that?  Rob Marshall can’t spit out the compliments fast enough, either; he adores his old friend Tyce, and tells Jordan “you are what I love.”  Wow.  Okay.  Didn’t think it was quite that astounding, myself.  She dances with abandon, there’s meaning in her work (?), and if he could scream like Mary Murphy, he would.  So Mary obliges him and screams for Jordan.  You get better every week, she claims.

Mandy Moore uses 80s pop tunes to tell the story of a relationship at a crossroads.  Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” is her backdrop, and Melanie and Neil are her medium.  They’re in flowy white, just like Mandy likes it.  Neil’s shirtless, which doesn’t hurt anyone’s cause.  Unless maybe it’s celibacy.  (Oh, I know, he’s not cut like Tadd, but he still looks good.  We can admit it.)  Anyway, the dance is a really good one.  You can see the tension.  They trust each other, they don’t know what to do.  Melanie gives us abandon in spades, running and throwing herself into Neil’s arms in a reckless leap that takes your breath away, genuinely.  At the end, Melanie pulls Neil down into an intimate embrace, but he rolls off of her, and stands with his back to her, but looking, unsure.  Aw.

The judges are on their feet, and man, it’s a good thing that we just saw Gaga’s shoes, because it looks like she’s standing on her chair.  Seriously, she towers over everyone else. It’s quite funny.  My hat is literally off to you, Gaga says once she’s seated, pressing her cap to her chest.  You’re my favorite dancer and I’d hire you tomorrow.  You’re passionate, athletic, and on the edge.  Did she just quote her own song?  Ugh.  You’re poetic in what you do, Rob Marshall notes, you’re like magic, and you fill the room with your presence.  His favorite part was when she wasn’t even dancing, just looking up at Neil at the end – not dancing, just acting, being in the scene.  Mary doesn’t have enough superlatives for Melanie, and especially for that fearless leap.  Her gusto and trust in Neil were amazing.  Nigel changes his mind (you’re not a woman, Cat cautions him, it’s not your prerogative)  and calls Melanie his favorite dancer, saying she nailed his heart.  Ew.  He points out Ellen Degeneres and Portia DiRossi sitting in the audience next to Natalia Mallory.  Awesome.  How fun would that be?  I bet they asked to be next to her, which makes me like them that much more.  Cat challenges Melanie to leap once more, and when she flies offstage into Neil’s waiting arms, Cat goes crazy, running around like a nut.  They’re still smooching, she reports.  Oh, Melanie’s boyfriend, you must be a really secure guy.

Jason Gilkerson has a jive for Ricky and Anya.  No story, just lightning fast steps.  Ricky’s in black pants with a tonal Han Solo stripe down the side, white short sleeves button down, and black tie (like Dilbert taking dance) and Anya’s in gold fringe, blond hair down and loose.    They’re dancing to Celine Dion’s “River Deep Mountain High” and it’s indeed very speedy.  It’s uneven for me; sometimes I feel like he’s brilliant, with those fast feet, and other times, there’s something awkward in his shoulders. Also, he muffs a lift; Anya gets tied up around his shoulder, and so when he’s swung her down to the floor, there’s not enough momentum to do whatever it was they were supposed to do.  Then again, when he flips up over her shoulders, from behind her back?  Damn.  There’s a lot of joy to it, though, and at the end, he shoots her down into this crazy lift position and I’m sure her face is going to smack into the floor, but he catches her perfectly.  So that’s good.

Your smile lights up a room, Rob Marshall declares.  Quite right, sir.  He needed to dig into the floor more deeply, but his double tours (?) were amazing, and something Rob could never master when he was a dancer.  Mary’s a bit less glowing; he was in and out of the feel (yes) and missing some of the necessary bounce.  It got better, then there was the “labored” lift, then it got better again, which is impressive because he didn’t let any of the mishaps throw him.  Nigel thinks Ricky’s too tall – he too needs to open his legs (but funny how Nigel didn’t say it that way, huh?) and bend more into the floor.  He needed more river deep and less mountain high.  Very cute, Nigel.  Ricky’s smile is great, but the mangled lift looked like he was tossing meat.

Mary and Gaga are outraged at Nigel’s metaphor.  Gaga wants to sit next to someone else, even.  “I have a sweet spot for you,” she tells the stunned boy.  Aw.  I can see that, actually.  (And, yes, I love that she’s a fan of the show – both she and Marshall clearly watch and are familiar with the contestants.)  She thought he was nimble, strong and quick, and thought that he was styled in a more modern way, while Anya looked a bit Dancing With the Stars.  Um, ouch, especially considering the DWTS people in the house!

Tabitha and Napoleon have a routine for Lauren Gottlieb and Jess. Hmm.  Interesting to have Lauren instead of Comfort, what with her not being a hip hop dancer per se.  I wonder if they thought Comfort would just be too hard hitting for Jess to keep up with?  Not that Lauren’s not amazing at hip hop. Still, it’s a bit like bringing Robert in to do Bollywood as if he were an expert.  The idea of the piece is that Jess’s a dirty rotten cheater trying to worm his way back into Lauren’s affections.  Alrighty then.  He’s in jeans and a plaid button down open over a white t, while she’s in jeans and a grey embellished tank.  He’s trying to get her to accept a flower, which would signify her forgiveness.  They’re using Rihanna’s “Take a Bow,” and it’s funny, because I know the Glee version much better, and so I’m not expecting the slow beat in the background.  The whole routine is set to that beat, which makes it much slower than I’d have expected, and I don’t know if I like that.   I do really like the bit in the very beginning where he scuttles around on his knees; it’s full of character, that moment.  In the end, she takes the flower, and then tosses it away. They’re in really nice sync with each other, but I’m not sure I’m feeling the emotion of the piece.

Maybe that’s because I’m used to his mugging, though, because the judges are definitely feeling it.  Mary felt his progress matched Lauren’s (huh?) and that the whole thing was honest, soulful and confident.  Great articulations and isolations.    Lady Gaga tells him how much she loves Broadway and how much respect she has for him and how she dislikes the choreography.  It’s true that sometimes Nappytabs can be too focused on props, and it can seem (in Gaga’s words) less modern.  I’d say rather that they love more props than turn out to be useful in the dances; they get really caught up in the idea of a prop, and what they can do with it, and sometimes that can be hokey.

Anyway, she thinks Jess was better than the choreography.  “Your hand extension said the flower,” she notes, which I actually love as an insight and as a phrase.  Rob Marshall has known of Jess since Jess was a little kid in The Grinch, which Rob’s partner was involved with.  Rob is incredibly proud and pleased to see that Jess had grown and listened during the competition, and is now simple and pure.  After watching it a second time, I get a better idea of what he means, but still, I’m not feeling it on that level.

There’s very little simple (or pure, for that matter) to Mandy Moore’s next routine, a Jazz piece about criminal masterminds (Tadd and Lauren Froderman) planning a heist.  Hmm.  Sounds like Wade Robson’s delightful “Ruby Blue.”  That’s one of my favorite ever routines, and this one – set to Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” isn’t on that level.  But it’s really fun.  The dancers are dressed mostly alike in grey suits with white shirts and hats (although Lauren’s shirt is ruffled and low cut, and she’s wearing ankle boots and hot pants); they’re really sexy thieves.  Tadd does this like Michael Jackson opening, and the point where he’s nodding his head in total isolation is pretty darn cool.  It’s really fun, lots of heavy accents on the beat, so it’s extra good for b boy Tadd (who, really, is like season 4’s Joshua – he’s just as good at everything he does.  They should have given HIM a Bollywood routine.  Although it’s now two for two this season getting contestants sent home, isn’t it?).  There’s a lot of business going on with the hats, and Tadd loses his about 30 seconds in; he spends the rest of the routine miming so well that it almost looks intentional.

Nigel’s annoyingly agog over Lauren’s cleavage.  He loved the routine, and the MJ bits especially.  He compliments Tadd on absorbing other styles like a sponge (“we forget you’re a b boy” – geez, Nigel, you obviously don’t or you wouldn’t make the same comment every bloody week!) and predicts he will not be biting the dust this week.  Lady Gaga loves the clothes but wishes Lauren were less sexy – she’d have enjoyed it more if they were both androgynous.  I had to laugh a little, hearing Gaga She loved the mystery of figuring out the relationship between the characters.  You’re not boxed in, she says, you can be anything.  It’s the mark of a pro, Rob Marshall notes, that you lost your hat and Lauren hit you in the face (she did?  I watch it again and I still have no clue) and yet you never lose your steps or your composure.  Tadd is very special.  Mary Murphy says he puts the C in cool; he’s like a young Elvis or Michael Jackson (wow, that’s a bit extreme).  She thinks he’s the non-Marko guy who’ll end up in the finale.

Quite possible, yes.

And speaking of Marko, he’s got the last dance with an All Star.  Who, in his case, is Allison, and they’re dancing to a Sonya Tayeh contemporary routine.  She wants people to be nicer, less judgmental, and her piece is about the guilt that comes from being cruel and how it can change people to make them nicer.  Which is an interestingly complex thing to do. She’s picked Jeff Buckley’s “I Know It’s Over” and put Marko in draw string pants and Allison in a flowy halter dress, both in hombre from charcoal to lighter gray, and they begin to flashes of red lightning.  It puts me pretty clearly in mind of last year’s bravura piece for Allison and Alex using Buckley’s “Halleluiah” – anyone else?  “It’s easy to laugh,” Jeff Buckley tells us, “it takes guts to be gentle and kind.”  There’s a great moment where they grasp hands, tentatively – you can see the hesitation but determination they put into making a new beginning – and another where they whip around side by side and throw their heads back.  You can feel the guilt, the weight of it on their backs.

And the first thing that we see is that Gaga’s crying.

Marko and Allison are close to tears themselves.  Cat tries to start things off with Gaga, but it takes a sec because she can’t speak.  Aw.  “I’m just so proud of you,” she finally manages to spit out as – no lie – a tiny spider crawls over her enormous captain’s hat.  I felt all the things I did wrong, she says, all my old regrets, through that dance.  In the audience, we see Marko’s mother, who’s just flown in from Guam to see him on the show for the first time.  She cries and waves like Miss America.  Marko starts to cry, and tells us he dedicated the dance to his mother, for being “kind of a little bit of a brat” when he was a kid.  “I’m sorry,” he says, “I love you.”  You know, there he is without a shirt, and you can’t even focus on it because he’s just so damned sweet, and has those eyes, and you just love all of him.  Mary can’t speak yet, so we’re sent instead to the very articulate Rob Marshall sends a shout out to Allison – “a true, true artist” and can’t stop praising their fluid, beautiful partnership.  We’re so moved because you bring your true self to it.  Mary’s got it together enough to tell Marko that he’s her favorite dancer this season, and that his sincerity adds a level to his work that takes him higher than anyone else.  Very briefly, Nigel, Cat cautions, but Nigel says he can’t be brief.  This was a moment that transcended dance – it was a remarkable personal moment, and more poignant to those (like him) who can no longer apologize to those they’ve wronged.   Tell your mom you love her before it’s too late!

Sonya’s crying in the audience next to Ellen Degeneres (seriously, don’t you want to sit in that row?). Vote for the delicious Marko, Cat tells us, and I will.

And now we come to the portion of the evening where the contestants dance with each other.  First up, Caitlynn and Tadd do ballroom.  Jonathan Roberts has an old school foxtrot for them (you could tell from her dress in the promo before the commercial – white with silver edging and a tremendous froth of feathers) – boy meets girl, Fred meets Ginger.  Caitlynn’s got a huge flower in her hair, which is done very similarly to last week’s tango, and Tadd’s debonair in a tux with tails and a white tie, and the song, appropriately, is “Top Hat, White Tie and Tales” by Ella Fitzgerald.  It’s floaty and flirty and dreamy.  I like the foxtrot a lot, and this has a lot of that old school movie musical feel.   There are points where she kind of beckons him, and it’s elegant and great.

Rob thought it sparkled from beginning to end. Mary thought it was beautiful, though not the most memorable routine of the evening.  Fair enough!  They didn’t have enough power in close hold.  Um, sure.  Nigel thinks the B in b boy is for ballroom, and really, Tadd is spectacular at ballroom.  It’s odd.  He was in heaven watching them, and he and Gaga wanted to get up there, cheek to cheek themselves.  I can lend you some heels so you’re tall enough, she says. (Oh my God, the image…)   Gaga’s all about Caitlynn’s flower, but not so much about her competition girl trophy hands.  Gaga takes down her platinum records to remind herself to be humble and hungry, so she thinks Caitlynn can be less arrogant with her hands.  I didn’t remotely see what they were talking about, but whatever.

Next up, Ricky and Marko doing a NappyTabs routine.  YES for same sex pairings!  Finally, we get to see some different stories!  I love it.  They’re janitors, presumably on the night shift, with their cart and brooms and rags.  Oh, man, Gaga’s going to love this.  It’s those antiquated props again!  They’re dancing to Diddy’s “Bad Boy for Life” (with assists from Black Rob and Mark Curry)  and they’re wearing janitorial jump suits in different grays with red and orange accents and hats.  It’s all over some long sleeve white ts.  Ricky rolls in a cart, with Marko sitting on it, and it’s fun. There are flips and neat twisty jumps done in unison, and it’s all very muggy, but in a fun way.  I think Ricky’s got his tongue sticking out the whole time. When it’s over, Tabitha grimaces as she claps, because if Gaga hated the flower, she’s sure as heck going to rank of the profusion of props in this routine.

Mary Murphy loved it loved it loved it, and thought they had the vibe right and tight.  Nigel thought it was lots of fun with great characters.  Marko looked nasty (which is good) but Ricky seemed too high up, still.  He praised their aerial swipe (the twisty jump thing), but wonders if people will vote for Ricky.  It’s justified, all things considered, for poor perpetual bottom dweller Ricky, but I don’t know that it’s necessary to point it out.  Let him feel good about what he’s doing, okay?  I vote, says Lady Gaga pointedly.  Good for you!  You know, if you’d directed your little monsters, you could probably have gotten him to the finale.  Anyway.  The dancers are both incredible, but the dance was contrived – not like something done by her choreographer, Laurie Ann Gibson.  (Who has choreographed for this show exactly once.)  Ouch.  I will say it again, ouch.  I love a good prop, she says, but this isn’t modern.  You know,  she’s been an interesting judge, and brought a lot of good perspective to the table, but she’s not shy about her prejudices, is she?  Not that Napoleon and Tabitha aren’t addicted to props, but it seems like such a global critique. Rob Marshall feels the need to defend the Duomos, which is nice, and without actually slagging Gaga talks about how brilliant they are.  Tabitha and Napoleon laugh from the audience.  He thinks both dancers are stars, and doesn’t understand how they can be so good at hip hop.

The next pairing is Jordan and Jess, so please excuse me as I fan myself thinking about how that means the last pairing is Melanie and Sasha.  Woohoo, best dancers dancing together!  I love it!  Er, anyway.  Jason Gilkerson’s doing a rumba for the other two, about a controlling relationship.  She’s blinded by her love for him, so she stays.  You know, that fits with ballroom, really, the guy leading the woman everywhere.  He’s using Adele’s gorgeous “Set Fire to the Rain,” which I adore, and I’m excited.  Jess, dressed all in black, sits on a chair; and Jordan’s in a sexy red dress, halter necked and – well, it looked backless, but it’s also half bikini top with a sheer side.  So it’s very ballroom, and I don’t quite love it up close as much as I did from a distance.

Anyway.  I’m enjoying it.  Jess seems domineering, it’s neat to see the two of them dancing together, and there’s a super cool lift where Jordan’s in front of Jess with her legs in a sort of split (how else) and he spins repeatedly.  Very neat.  Lots of sexy walking hither and thither with Jess leading and Jordan following like a show pony.  I’m not entirely sure Jess was menacing enough, or Jordan cowed enough, but I liked it.  Granted, you could probably show fly fishing with this song as the backdrop and I’d be spellbound.  (Strike that, because fly fishing actually is kind of spellbinding.  So, something boring to watch.  Regular fishing?)

Not Nigel.  You had no chemistry at all, he says.  Ouch.  He loved the lift, but he thinks that the emotion wasn’t there, and that he could eat dinner off of Jordan’s sway back.  Or at least I assume he meant Jordan.  Lady Gaga starts off all “it’s fine, there’s nothing wrong with it” and then slags the choreography.  Fire and rain destroy each other, so her take on the music would have been so different she can’t get over it.  But the choreography and the music aren’t your fault, she says to the dancers (thank heaven someone remember to say that) so food for you.  Rob Marshall thinks they brought the best in each other, and notes that they both sing, and that they both could have huge careers on Broadway.  And why do people look down on Broadway, anyway?  Broadway is amazing!  I agree, Rob.  I wish it was a little more accessible to the average theater lover who can’t pay 300 per ticket, because if it was, I’d be tripping down to NYC much more often.  Anyway. Mary Murphy thought the lift was the best all season (really?  did she see Neil tossing Melanie straight up in the air?) but the rest, she cannot approve.  They were missing the necessary elasticity in their arms, which would have made it much sexier.  It was beautiful, yes, but it wasn’t really a rumba.

Youch.

Last up is, yes, Melanie and Sasha doing – what else?  A Sonya Tayeh jazz routine.  Oh, Sonya must have been out of her mind over this.  So great.  They’re both in black and white vinyl, with a sort of stitched up Frankenstein vibe on the fabric, and their short hair is moussed straight up.  They’re dancing to Ricky’s favorite District 78, “Game On” and they’re supposed to be robotic dancing machines.  There’s some awesome muscular poses and a lot of spinning and stamping, but I have to confess it.  I did not love this.  I wanted to, I wanted to so badly, but – well, I thought it was good, but I wanted there to be more weird character to it, more like “The Garden” and instead it just kind of felt like typical Sonya to me, like stuff I’d seen before. I loved the ending, too, where they walked with their arms outspread after the music ended, so stately and other worldly.  I wish the whole thing had been so commanding.  They are still my favorites, but I wanted and expected more.

I am alone in this assessment, however.  The judges are on their feet, Lady Gaga towering absurdly over them again.  “And that’s how the girls do it!” Cat bounces over, thrilled.  This is clearly the abandon (and the robotic dance machines) that the judges have been looking for.   Lady Gaga, our other warrior princess, tells us she’s following an old dancer’s custom when she throws one of her monster shoes on the stage.  Sasha and Melanie are thrilled.  Pack up and go home, she says, because that was the performance of the night. (Or because the show is over.  I don’t know. You pick.)  That was the future.  You were born this way.  Seriously, did she just quote herself AGAIN?

Rob Marshall directs our attention to the marvelous Sonya, who is sitting next to Ellen Degeneres, who’s sitting next to Portia DiRossi, who’s sitting next to Natalia Mallory.  Sign me up for that row!  How awesome is that?  Mary Murphy gushes about their strength and power, and how they’re the best of the night (really?)  and it was the best they’ve ever done (what?).  Nigel blathers about how Beyonce stole her Sasha Fierce persona from Sasha Mallory.  He thanks Sonya for unleashing the beasts, and starts to tell some old fart story about Diamonds are Forever when Lady Gaga totally upstages him (OF COURSE SHE DOES) by giving her other shoe to Sonya.

So, what do you think?  Was that the best routine of the night, or was it Melanie or Marko’s contemporary routines?  (My daughters and nieces preferred the foxtrot solely on the basis of Caitlynn’s awesome dress and the flower in her hair.)  Was Gaga too biased?  Did she entertain you?  Will she be back tonight?  Will the obvious bottom four (Caitlynn, Jess, Jordan, and Ricky) be the actual bottom four, and which of them will go home?  Er, Caitlynn and Jess?  Seriously, I do not know.  I guess Ricky had a more successful night with the judges, but he never gets the votes.  Will the judges pick who leaves, or will they FINALLY turn control over to America?

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