When the Top 8 performed on Wednesday's episode of "So You Think You Can Dance," they served up some of the most memorable performances of the season. But the standout dances didn't come until the two-hour show was half over.
The night's three best routines: Melissa and Ade's contemporary number centered on breast cancer, Jeanine and Brandon's hip-hop dance to Jordin Sparks' "Battlefield" and Kayla and Jason's hip-hop routine about zombies.
Comedienne Ellen DeGeneres and choreographer Mia Michaels were guest judges. Each dancer performed four routines: a group dance, two couples dances and a solo.
Thursday, "So You Think You Can Dance" celebrates its 100th episode. That show starts at 9 p.m. and includes a performance by Katie Holmes.
Here's a full recap of Wednesday's show:
Group routine - "Let It Rock" choreographed by "SYTYCD" alum Travis WallNigel: “I thought it was a great opening to the show. You’re all terrific.” Mary: “The dancing was great. The costumes were great and the choreography was great.” Mia: “You guys did a great job with it.”
Evan and Janette - Jazz routine by Sonya Tayeh Nigel: “Congratulations to the pair of you.” Ellen: “Y’all were amazing.” Mary: Says Evan could have been "gutsier." Adds, "Janette, you just can’t take a wrong step out there.” Mia: “Janette, you’re my favorite, favorite, favorite this season.”
Brandon and Jeanine - Waltz Nigel: “I didn’t really get as much as I wanted.” Ellen: “I thought you two were fantastic.” Mary: Parts of the dance could have been stronger. Mia: “If maybe you weren’t dreaming about birds and bunnies, the performance would have been much better.”
Ade and Melissa - Cha-chaNigel: “It was hot, there’s no question about that.” Ellen: “Are you two carpenters? Because you nailed it.” Mary: Some problems with technique Mia: “Ade, I think that was your worst performance this season…You weren’t getting down and dirty. Melissa…I think you did an excellent job.”
Jason and Kayla - BroadwayNigel: “This is one of the best routines I think that I’ve seen this evening.” Ellen: Do they want to come over and hang some pictures? Because they're both good nailers. Mary: It seemed effortless. Mia: Jason had some problems with technique, but Kayla will take Broadway by storm.
Janette and Evan - RumbaNigel: “Evan, there just didn’t appear to be anything passionate in your face. It was lacking a little bit for me.” Ellen to Evan: “You’re a special, special guy.” Mary: “I thought you did a really good job, Evan.” Mia: “Not everybody in this world has to be this sexpot.”
Jeanine and Brandon - Hip-hop (Jordin Sparks "Battlefield")Nigel: Says the routine turned around what could have been one of the series' flattest nights. Ellen: “Really, really unbelievable.” Mary: “It was strong. It was powerful.” Mia: “You went into a place that was so believable.”
Melissa and Ade - Contemporary (breast cancer number choreographed by Tyce Diorio)Nigel (very emotional): “I think that has just shown me why I love dance so much.” Ellen: “I feel so privileged that I got to witness that.” Mary: “It really was well done and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.” Mia (crying): “What an important piece of work.”
Kayla and Jason - Hip-hop (zombie routine choreographed by Shane Sparks)Nigel: “This was fantastic.” Ellen: “You two keep dancing like that and you’ll have your own talk show some day.” Mary: “You really hit it. You hit it hard.” Mia: “Shane, that was my favorite piece you’ve ever done on the show…It was a great, great performance for both of you guys.”