The final six dancers perform with their partners again and an all-star in a make-it-or-break-it night before next week's performance finale.

By Jake Perlman
Updated August 21, 2014 at 03:22 AM EDT
Credit: Fox
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Time flies when you’re dancing through life—can you believe this season is almost over? We are only two weeks away from this summer’s finale, and so far it’s really been a man’s game to lose. It seemed for a while that that man would absolutely be Ricky, but Zach has quickly proven to be more versatile than his title card will let him appear. With only one winner this year, who’s to say we can’t have two boys in the finale? As Zach performing with a male all-star tonight proves, we know gender equality is important to Nigel and the rest of the producers. With no telephone voting at all this season, the logistics of the entire affair have been a little confusing to say the least. We can only assume that there is actually only one winner.

President of the Jessica Richens fan club, Christina Applegate was back by popular demand as guest judge for an important night of dance—the votes from tonight’s show determine which two men and which two women will be going toe-to-toe for the win in next week’s performance finale. The dancers first got to dance again with their former partners before taking another dip into the all-star pool. Now before two more dancers sashay away from the competition, it’s your top 6 America!

Ricky Ubeda and Valerie Rockey

Style: Broadway, Choreography by Spencer Liff

Music: “I’ve Got the World on a String” by Frank Sinatra

Valerie and Ricky have reunited and it feels sooooo good. Not only do these two bring out the best qualities in each other as dancers, they bring out the best qualities in each other as people and no matter what, you know they are going to have fun. This was the perfect routine for both of them in terms of style and Ricky had some pretty impressive moments jumping through a swing in the middle of the stage. Valerie’s dress even got caught in said swing during the rehearsal, but you wouldn’t have known that from her confidence during the performance (we only know because Cat played the video footage of it after). As Christina noted, there is nothing phony or fake about Valerie, and it’s a really refreshing quality to have in a competition like this. But nothing is sweeter than the consistency Ricky brings each week either.

Casey Askew and Jessica Richens

Style: Disco, Choreography by Doriana Sanchez

Music: “Dim All the Lights” by Donna Summer

Like Mary, let’s take a moment to applaud the absolutely fantastic camerawork done for Casey and Jessica’s disco number that probably gave most of America a dizzying headache. Unlike Mary, we will not threaten Jessica for her amazing legs. The dance was a lot of fun, but the trick was really for Casey and Jessica to make it look that way—because it definitely was not easy. Casey was especially impressive in quickly switching mind-sets while lifting Jessica pretty much every other groovy beat and then dancing side by side the next. It was a really tough routine, but they fought their funky way through it with ease.

Zack Everhart and Jacque LeWarne

Style: Foxtrot, Choreography by Jean-Marc Genereux

Music: “Anything Goes” by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga

Let’s go back in time shall we? Good because you have no choice as Jean-Marc decided to take a trip to 1950s and rename the pair Zach Astaire and Jacque Rogers for an American foxtrot routine. First rule of foxtrot: Don’t look at your partner. Second rule: Dress like Magic Mike while rehearsing. Wait, that can’t be right. Not much was right with this performance because it became too much about performing and not enough about actually internalizing the movement and mood of the piece. Though Zach’s white jacket and teeth stood out a little more as Jacque’s blue dress blended into the background, both were trying too hard. Zach over-jumped Jacque every time, their footwork was sloppy and worst of all… they looked at each other many times! At least they still have their all-star dances to redeem themselves and get some more votes.

NEXT: From tapping to twerking in a wedding dress

Valerie Rockey (and Stephen “tWitch” Boss)

Style: Hip-Hop, Choreography by Will “Willdabeast” Adams

Music: “Yeah” by Usher feat. Lil Jon & Ludacris

The first dance at a wedding for a couple can be a beautiful and tender moment to remember forever. This is not that type of wedding dance. Valerie went from tap to twerk and though she didn’t catch tWitch’s bow tie, she was on fire for the entire routine. From her tap experience, Valerie has a great understanding of rhythm and music and was completely in the groove and confident the entire time. She also has a great sense of humor, which was more than mandatory to pull this dance off. Mary also called Valerie “swagerocious” so that pretty much sums it up right there.

Jacque LeWarne (and Will Wingfield)

Style: Contemporary, Choreography by Sean Cheesman

Music: “99 Red Balloons” by Sleeping at Last

99 red balloons—one red ball. It seemed like a failed metaphor in meaning, but visually it created a gorgeous piece for Jacque. Using a medicine ball as the third partner in the dance, Jacque showed her elegant class and control… not to mention amazing core work. She easily takes the title of strongest female dancer now that Tanisha is gone. The dance could have used a little more dance”and less “walk around the stage with awe and wonder now that red balloons just fell from the sky,” but overall it was a nice redeeming moment for Jacque that made Nigel forget the foxtrot completely.

Jessica Richens (and Ade Obayomi)

Style: Jazz, Choreography by Ray Leeper

Music: “Boneless” by Steve Aioki

Jessica is only 18, so she’s never actually been to a dance club and after tonight, I don’t think her first stop will be anywhere near Tokyo. Following her dizzy disco routine, it was a mistake for Jessica to do such a showy piece because in both you weren’t really able to see her but the character she was playing. Well, if you could see her at all in those flashing strobe lights. The pair was able to keep up their stamina, a worry during rehearsals, and used the gaps in the music well. But what part of that dance was jazz? The female judges were positive about it (duh), but Nigel had more mixed feelings and even took the opportunity while Jessica was already down to critique her brief solos by telling her she needs to do more than just pirouettes.

Ricky Ubeda (and Anya Garis)

Style: Cha-Cha, Choreography by Jean-Marc Genereux

Music: “Dare (La La La)” by Shakira

Here’s a brief reminder: Ricky is a man, Anya is a woman. Correction: Anya is a lot of woman and Ricky is a cute boy who has got to find his sexy side to match the original hot tamale. He must have had a good pair of binoculars cause Ricky was able to find it fast and with one less button on his shirt, quickly made a lot more fans. The routine was a great contrast to Ricky’s first piece in both style and tone and showed that Ricky can, in fact, do anything. Nigel said it had even looked like he had been dancing that style for years. The best moment came after the piece ended when Mary asked how Ricky felt about dancing in his Latin shoes (a.k.a. high heels) when he normally dances barefoot. His response? “Feels like home.” You can interpret that however you want.

Casey Askew (and Makenzie Dustman)

Style: Contemporary, Choreography by Stacey Tokey

Music: “Over You” by Ingrid Michaelson feat. A Great Big World

As we have seen all season and even a couple of times tonight, dances can sometimes get lost in translation while trying to tell a story. Fortunately, this was not the case with Casey’s spectacular dance about a couple about to be torn apart. There was appropriate emotion, aggression and passion throughout the fluid routine where like Mary said, you couldn’t tell where one step ended and the next one began. I really believed that Casey and Makenzie did not want to let go of each other, both physically with choreography and figuratively as a storytelling device. Casey gets stronger each week and is really showing that he can be a champion, too. Mary even called the performance of a lifetime the best for Casey this season. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance it could have also been his last.

Zack Everhart (and Fik-shun)

Style: Hip-Hop, Choreography by Phillip Chbeeb

Music: “Sail” by Awolnation

The purpose of an inkblot test is to determine a person’s level of emotional functionality. Well, that was before because now an inkblot test is used as a dark yet funny routine performed by Mr. Versatile himself Zach. His pairing with former champ Fik-shun was highly anticipated, and they did not disappoint. Making his choreography debut, Phillip Chbeeb challenged both dancers to create shapes with their bodies and let the viewers decided what they see… oh, like an inkblot test! It was a little creepy, a little twisted but showed once again just how much Zach can do. Nigel used his words well when he said one “cannot become who we need to be by remaining who we are” but then flubbed when he accidentally implied he thought Zach was being sent home this week. Just kidding! Nigel loves him just as much as we all do.

And all of that didn’t matter. Well, for now at least. After all of the dances were complete we were given the results based on last week’s performances. Jessica and Ricky were quickly (and obviously) called safe, but then things got awkward with Cat’s announcement of the rest. After Valerie and Zach officially made it into the performance finale, by process of elimination we could quickly figure out that Casey and Jacque were the two dancers being sent home. Casey was the victim of simply being the third-best man in a really strong male competition year, nothing to shake off so easily, and Jacque was a beautiful dancer, but it takes more than looks and good posture to win.

Follow me on Twitter: @JDPerlman

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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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