After five grueling weeks of fast-paced competition, injuries and a few highly memorable routines, it's finally time for So You Think You Can Dance to name the Top 10 dancers and the All-Stars they'll be paired with.
But first, judge Nigel Lythgoe took a moment to honor the show's amazing, and well-deserved, achievement in garnering eight Emmy nominations, including one for host Cat Deeley, whose nod brought on a standing ovation in the audience.
Now onto the elimination! On Wednesday, Clarice and Jess performed a lyrical hop-hop and a jive, both of which were lackluster. Meanwhile, Caitlyn and Mitchell's two routines lacked any real spark, landing them in the bottom three, and ensuring Clarice and Jess — surprisingly — have a spot in the top 10.
The bad news just kept coming when Lythgoe broke the news that Alex Wong, who they planned to bring back as an All-Star this season, has injured himself once again. However, the mood lightened upon finding out which dancers would be returning, including Melody (Season 1), Allison (Season 2), Pasha (Season 3), Season 4's Twitch, Comfort and Chelsie, Brandon (Season 5), Kathryn (Season 6) and Robert (Season 7).
Melanie and Marko ruled Wednesday night once again with a contemporary that could totally be nominated for an Emmy next season. So it was a no-brainer that Ryan and Ricky, who danced both Broadway and the cha-cha, landed in the bottom three instead.
Jordan and Tadd may have underwhelmed the judges on Wednesday, but it was enough for the voters to keep them in the Top 10. Sasha and Alexander, who have been fan-favorites, ended up rounding out the bottom three who would dance for their lives.
After a round of solos, the judges decided to eliminate Ryan, who they say, hasn't been living up to her potential. In a close decision that was not unanimous, the judges decided to nix Alexander, who really has been carried by his partner, Sasha, through the competition.
"We all agreed on Ryan and felt as though she was lackluster in her performance [on Wednesday]," Lythgoe said backstage. "[On Thursday], it was almost like she had given up. With the boys it was more difficult. Last night, I thought Alexander actually achieved the standard we thought we were putting through when we put him through [to the top 20, but it was] a few weeks late."
Mary Murphy, however, was the lone holdout on eliminating Alexander. "His solo was not strong... and I think he just choked," she said. "He's done a really great job all the way through. His growing curve was on the way up, where I didn't feel Mitchell's growing curve was really there. Of course, I was outvoted."
"I don't think I'm necessarily surprised," Ryan said backstage. "I was ready to be [in the bottom 3], but I was also ready to be in the top 10, so it's kind of bittersweet."
For Alexander, however, "it was a complete shock," he said. "My solo could've been a lot better. It was a great experience, but from here, I'm not the same person as I was when I auditioned. You just have to take what you got and use it to your advantage."
Despite the elimination, there was still much to celebrate after the show. "My cup runneth over," Deeley said of her first Emmy nomination. "I really like the fact that I'm the only Brit and the only girl in the category. It feels a bit like Fight Club, but without Brad Pitt, which is a shame."
As for guest-judge Jesse Tyler Ferguson making a plea on Wednesday night for Deeley to finally be nominated, the British bombshell said she paid him back in full by writing "Congratulations" on his dressing room mirror in red lipstick before kissing it all over.
To be fair, Ferguson doesn't mind taking partial credit for her nod — jokingly, of course. "I made some very threatening phone calls last night to the Academy, and was cutting out letters from magazines and making a ransom note," the also Emmy-nominated Modern Family actor said. "Fortunately, I didn't have to deliver anything."
Deeley, unfortunately, won't be celebrating her Emmy nomination tonight as she has to be up bright and early for a guest-spot on Showtime's new series House of Lies. "I didn't know I'd have to shoot the next day after this at 9 a.m., you'd think they'd be a little bit softer on me," she said. "It's only a cameo. It's kind of me, but it's a version of me, and one of the guys in the show has a big crush on me, so he behaves very inappropriately and slightly ridiculously."
As for Deeley's Emmy competition, she has already teamed up with American Idol's Ryan Seacrest to take reigning champ Jeff Probst down. "I've said to [Ryan], we'll do a tag team thing," Deeley said deviously. "If Jeff wins again, I'll create a diversion, he'll stick his leg out as Jeff goes up, and then it's every man for himself, and we both have to race up to the podium, and whoever can snatch it first is the winner."
What did you think of Thursday's elimination? Do you like the contestants who made it into the Top 10? Are you happy to see the All-Stars return? Sound off in the comments below.