"So You Think You Can Dance" might be taking two weeks off during the Olympics, but they left on a very high note. Season nine has seen an exceptional group of dancers who flourished with their mesmerizing routines, a testament to the show's six Emmy award nominations. Starting the night off with a Tyce Diorio Broadway number honoring the late Charlie Chaplin and the silent film era, the top 16 set the stage for success.
While it was unfortunate to see contemporary dancer Amber Jackson and the show's first top 20 stepper Brandon Mitchell eliminated, it was still a night to celebrate. Here's how the pairs performed.
Tiffany Maher and George Lawrence II
One of season nine's favorites, Tiffany and George opened the show with a fun Nappytab hip-hop routine inspired by the impending birth of their first child. Although they hit hard, the talented duo was surpassed by their cuteness and lack of "grundge."
Amber Jackson and Brandon Mitchell
Losing their partners last week, Amber and Brandon began a new pairing together and took on a Ray Leeper jazz routine. Their sultry and soulful dance had everyone wiping the sweat off their brow. Amber outshone Brandon with her graceful agility, but Brandon (who can also be seen in the main crew on "Step Up Revolution") definitely held his own as a strong partner.
Janelle Issis and Dareian Kujawa
Former "SYTYCD" finalist Pasha choreographed Janelle and Dareian in an interesting cha-cha to Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe." The petite couple has floundered because of a lack of chemistry, which was evident in this performance. Janelle's belly-dancing background should have helped her excel in this particular style, but alas, she fell flat. The extremely talented Dareian is otherworldly in his contemporary style but just hasn't found his footing in other styles yet.
Lindsay Arnold and Cole Horibe
Contemporary diva Mandy Moore choreographed this dynamic duo in a deep routine about love and hate. Lindsay, who has often danced in the shadow of fellow ballroom dancer Witney, finally got the recognition she deserved. Her lines and emotions were exquisite. And Cole, well ... he always rocks.
Amelia Lowe and Will Thomas
We got to see another Mandy Moore routine as she choreographed a jazz number for the most eccentric pair in the competition. Amelia and Will, who usually exude chemistry, felt disconnected in this routine about opposites attracting. Technically flawless, the couple just didn't cut it with the judges.
Audrey Case and Matthew Kazmierczak
Another "cute" couple, Audrey and Matthew found themselves face-to-face with a sexy salsa by Liz Lira. Their struggles in rehearsal showed onstage as the jazz and contemporary dancers couldn't find the rhythm, style or emotion of the dance. Mary Murphy might have put it best when she said "it looked really uncomfortable."
Witney Carson and Chehon Wespi-Tschopp
If you didn't love Witney and Chehon before, there is no way that you don't love them following their performance of a Stacey Tookey contemporary piece. Exquisite. Breathless. Magical. Those are the only words to describe the dance that left not only the audience in awe but the judges in tears. Deservedly, Witney and Chehon received a standing ovation for their routine to Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" and clinched the top spot for the night.
Eliana Girard and Cyrus "Glitch" Spencer
This joyful couple was lucky enough to nab a Napoleon and Tabitha hip-hop routine in which they got to show off Glitch's robotics and Eliana's grace. The surprise came when ballerina Eliana (dubbed the best female dancer in the competition) hit the moves harder than Glitch. Showing her versatility helped her maintain a spot on the show after finding herself at the bottom, while Glitch, a crowd favorite, coasted on by.
Which four dancers will be eliminated on the next episode of "So You Think You Can Dance"? We will have to wait until August 15 to find out.