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Freelance entertainment writer, martial arts instructor, and mother of two.

So You Think You Can Dance, Aug. 29 – Jesse’s Fanboy Heaven

The dancing on So You Think You Can Dance has been phenomenal this season. Yet, it's hard to get into the season. Only seeing the dancers once a week instead of two, just isn't enough, and combining that with the two-week break for the Olympics has just made it hard to connect. Regardless, watching the dancers, even without feeling a huge connection, leaves me in awe every week, even if I have to relearn who these individuals are again and again.

The remaining eight dancers start the night out with a group dance to Run Boy Run by Woodkid. It's an Asian-inspired jazz routine that I'm guessing might have Sonya Tayeh at the helm. Looking at them, it's a sudden realization that there are now only four girls and four guys left in the competition. How did we get here already? It turns out it wasn't Sonya, but someone new, Peter Chu.

Judging tonight, we have Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, back again for a return engagement. Cat Deeley calls him one of her favorite guests they've ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever had. Tonight, the dancers will again be performing with the All-Stars, and they'll also be performing solos after they show us videos clips that explain a little more about who they are.

Tiffany Maher starts us off from Plantation, Florida. She explains that living here, you have to love three things – the beach, boats, and the water. Her mom recalls that as a youngster, Tiffany was always having fun and being rambunctious. She wanted to do everything her older sister did, including dance. She learned her sister's routine enough that she was added to the production. They shared that passion for dance with each other, and Tiffany knows she has her sister to thank for where she is today. She dances her contemporary solo to I Was Here by the Glee Cast. Her sister cheers wildly from the audience.

Witney Carson pairs up with Twitch this week to work on a Luther Brown hip hop. He announces they're doing East Coast hip hop. He tells Witney they're going to get ratchet, and she asks if that's anything like getting buck. He later encourages her, “Get it, Ballroom Girl.” Witney and Twitch dance tonight to My Homies Still by Lil Wayne feat. Big Sean. Luther was pretty clever with this, as he allows her to slip back into femme fatale mode periodically to prevent her from having to be buck the entire time.

Cat accuses Nigel of trying to be street and cool. He just wants to know where Witney is getting all the attitude from. He wonders if all 18-year-old Mormon girls dance like that. He notes they turn out brilliant dancers, and he's glad they've saved her a few times, becaus she brings it every time. The east coast hip hop was fantastic. He welcomes Luther to the So You Think You Can Dance family, yet wonders if the Ratchet is rodent droppings. (Think about it …)

With all the street behavior, Mary wants to use her hands to fight with Nigel. She tells Witney if she had a hat, it would definitely be coming off tonight. She was down, in, front, sick, buck, and everything. She had it all going on. Mary loved seeing her buddy Luther from Canada. The musicality allowed her to live in it. The attitude at the end was like, “i got this.”

Jesse announces, “I love to ratchet.” He holds up a card that the producers gave him to remember the dancers' names, but says they're both stars, so he didn't even need it. Twitch is amazing, and he's dying just to be in the same room with him. Witney is so beautiful an has an amazing sensuality she doesn't even have to work at. It's nice to see her get down and dirty, but how she did it in the diaper pants, he'll never know. He loved the “waiting for the bus part,” and cracks that's how he waits for the bus.

Will Thomas grew up in Troy, Michigan, and was always the class clown. He would get suspended every year. While his mom remembers him having a lot of energy, he remembers himself as being on the chubby side and awkward, leading to his mom putting him in dance. She remembers him telling her that dance saved his life. He found confidence and a way to channel his energy. He was even the Homecoming King. Will dances his solo to Better Man by James Morrison. He's amazing. So much so, that we haven't gotten to see his solo work before.

Cole Horibe is working with All-Star Allison on a Sonya Tayeh contemporary routine. His character is a sadistic man, something we know he'll do great at after the Mia Michaels Addiction routine. Allison is a desperate woman vying for his heart. But if he has no soul, he has no heart. With these two? This could be amazing. They dance to Possibly Maybe by Bjork. Words just don't express how stunningly amazing this routine is. Great routine, great dancers.

Jesse tells Sonya she is sporting a softer look, but she's not fooling him. She's a sick, demented woman, and he loves it. It was insane. To Allison, he tells her she's one of the best actresses the show has had, and Cole was right there with her. It was insane, and like an American Horror Story promo or something. It was so demonic and so intense, he's shaking, an he needs a cocktail.

Mary tells Allison it's the best performance she's ever seen from her on the show. While the name of the song was “possibly maybe,” Mary tells Cole possibly and maybe he'll be in the finale. If he keeps dancing like that, he probably will be. The lift with the hophop that levitated and the soft side movements were just gorgeous, although creepy and scary. One thing it was was memorable.

Nigel calls it powerful and dramatic and everything we've come to expect from Sonya's choreography, as well as slightly quirky and scary. Cole brings that anyway to the competition. He brings that uniqueness which Nigel thinks this season will be known for. There is no reason he won't make the finale with the way he is going. Yet it's so difficult to judge anybody when Allison is dancing with them because she's so tremendous. He said to Sonya earlier that it was hard to pick Cole out because Allison is so strong, yet Sonya pointed out that of all the people Allison has danced with this season, Cole is the strongest for her.

Lindsey Arnold grew up in Provo, and before making it on the show was a Senior in high school and dancing at her mom's studio with her sisters. The studio brings the family closer, as they all spend so much time dancing together and doing what they like to do. Two of the great teachers she's been blessed to work with are Dancing with the Stars' Mark Ballas and his mom, Shirley. They've helped Lindsey a lot through this journey. She feels blessed to have the mom she does. She dances her tango-inspired solo to Senorita by Bond.

Eliana Girard is paired up with All-Star Ryan on a Jonathan Roberts' quickstep. The story is that Ryan is a businessman, while she is a bored housewife. He comes home, and she's looking for some attention from him. She's an angry wife. As they dance tonight to That Man by Caro Emerald, she's just not going to take no for an answer. She's hard to ignore. She's also tearing up this dance floor, and doing the quickstep yet.

Mary calls it great to have Jonathan back and choreographing so great. She loved the routine. She also mentions that last week she rote in Entertainment Weekly that she couldn't wait to see what Eliana did next, and jokingly mentioned the quickstep. She thought it was possibly the only routine that could throw her a curveball, but it obviously did not. Eliana was spectacular with a good frame for the most part. She needs to watch her hops, yet Mary loved the waterfall trick at the end. She's adding a checkmark to the quickstep category after this.

To quote his friend to the right (Mary), Jesse says “Holy smokies, Lord have mercy.” He thought it was so fantastic. Jesse had the great privilege of being at Eliana's audition in L.A., and to see her so early on, kind of dorky, saying she likes to do pole dancing, but to see this this and the bang-bang number last week, he can't stop thinking about it. Her range of emotion is extraordinary at this age. He doesn't think a lot of dancers and actors have that. He feels like he knows her, and recognizes it's creepy.

Nigel was shocked at the technicality of the routine. He expected some of it to be good because they see it in ballet, but her top line was perhaps the best he's seen a non-ballroom girl do. Her personality goes with the dance as light and frothy. But as Jesse said how it affected him watching Eliana throughout the season, it's almost like the show was created for her, as whatever she is asked to do, she turns around and does.

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