By Mary Murphy
Updated July 22, 2011 at 01:31 PM EDT
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Neil Patrick Harris judges, a fabulous night of dancing, a short sit-down with Jason Gilkison, and my own personal mistake that I regret!

Well, I’m the first one to admit that Sasha should have been on the hot tamale train. I had every intention. It was even in my own notes. But sometimes when you are up there, things happen and you get carried away, and I wanted her to know that I felt she was an all-star in my mind and every bit as good as Twitch. When I look back on past seasons, that will be one of my regrets, and I hope to tell her so. I felt that routine and their chemistry was so hot it was getting close to an X rating. Props to choreographer Christopher Scott for a memorably hot Cha-cha-cha.

I felt the entire show was fantastic, but Desmond and Dwight’s contemporary choreographed number for Jordan and All-Star Brandon was simply amazing. It goes without saying that Brandon is one of my favorite dancers from all eight seasons of the show. But Jordan held her own and produced great work with her amazing flexibility and intent.

So great to have Chelsea Hightower on loan from Dancing With the Stars to be one of our All-Stars. I am so proud of everything she has accomplished, and it was a joy to catch up with her. Her number with Marko received high praise and was choreographed by Jason Gilkison.

The Argentine tango was a smash hit, receiving a standing ovation for choreographers Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo. Dancing with All-Star Pasha, Caitlynn was transformed by her sultry tango dancing.

Credit: Adam Rose/FOX

Choreographer Tyce Diorio gave us another memorable routine with a walk down a darker road. Another favorite All-Star, Allison Holker, was paired with Ricky, and magic certainly happened before our eyes. Ricky is definitely fighting for this, and with such strong performances, I don’t see him leaving the show.

I caught up with choreographer Jason Gilkison behind the scenes to ask him what was his favorite SYTYCD moment personally from over the years. Without hesitating, he answered season 6: Ryan Delello and Katherine McCormick’s cha-cha to “Put Your Hands on Me.” Until that point, Jason said, Katherine was under the radar, criticized for being too quiet and too sweet. But that night, she was sex on legs and a man-eater. That was a breakthrough night, and from that moment on, Katherine’s dancing had changed in a way you would never forget.

As for celebrity judge, Neil Patrick Harris, he turned to me during the show at one point and said, “I didn’t realize how hard this was going to be. I sit at home and criticize everybody, but in the privacy of my home, it’s so much easier than live on TV.” I said, “Tell me about it, I’ve been doing it for eight seasons!”

And then the final results came in. For the first time, we did not have a bad critique to give to the bottom four, Mitchell, Jordan, Ricky and Clarice. This was the one time where it just went by a gut reaction. We were unanimous in our decision that Clarice and Mitchell should go. But we are happy to say that we will see them again on tour.

As we said goodbye to the contestants, I’m also saying goodbye to my ex husband today, as cancer has taken another special person from my life. Even though our marriage did not work out, we became good friends. I will miss him and I will always love him.


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So You Think You Can Dance

Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, and the viewers at home crown America’s Favorite Dancer.
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