The first cut in any talent competition is always one of the hardest. At Thursday night's So You Think You Can Dance elimination show, it was obvious none of the contestants were ready to go home. While many predicted Mitchell Kelly would be saying bye-bye to center stage after being sidelined from Wednesday night's first live show due to injury, the judges pulled a fast one that left everyone in the audience scooping their jaws up off the ground.
So who's in and who's out? How are the contestants acting around each other now that the competition is officially underway and what did the judges tell us exclusively after the show?
There's no doubt So You Think You Can Dance is the hottest ticket of the summer. From our seat behind the judges table at Thursday night's show we had to plug our ears to save ourselves from the manic screams and shrieking coming from the packed studio audience.
Regardless of the electricity running high, there was a show to get to, and the judges wasted no time getting to singling out the bottom three couples. After a pretaped opening performance by the top 20, 13 were deemed safe and sent to wait for the results in front of the judges table.
Those in danger of elimination, Jess Leprotto, Clarice Ordaz, Mitchell Kelly, Miranda Maleski, Jordan Casanova, Tadd Gadduang and Robert 'Woo-hoo' Taylor kept their cool and got massive support from the audience and their fellow contestants who were blowing kisses, waving and shouting encouraging words as they readied to dance for their lives.
Each of the potential eliminates were given 30 seconds to prove they deserved to stay on the show. We gotta hand it to judge and executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, he knows how to make good TV. After all seven danced for their lives, he pulled a SYTYCD first and asked two of the guys, Mitchell and Robert, to dance again.
Needing more time to decide who was going home, he had Jordan, Miranda and Clarice take the stage where he complimented each on their dance skills, but wouldn't say who he was sending home. He asked for the guys to join the girls on-stage and critiqued them.
Nigel never told them why he felt they were in the bottom seven and instead, seemed more baffled that contestants like Jess, Clarice, Jordan and Tadd were in danger of elimination.
The dancing talent was so strong, Nigel, in another unprecedented event, announced there would be no elimination this week stating, "I want to give America the chance of seeing more of you."
The contestant jubilation was out of control as everyone who was safe rushed the stage and lingered there long after the cameras stopped rolling to hug, laugh, high-five and break out in celebratory dance. You would never know they have only really known each other for just a few weeks.
Although it was good news for the contestants, Nigel warned them not to get too excited because two couples will be going home next week.
After the show we got a chance to chat with Mary Murphy who said it was only fair to break the rules.
"I was thinking that it would have to be Mitchell because he didn't get to perform this week, but I didn't think it was fair at first," Mary said. "But when he did his solo it just kind of changed everything! With Robert's personality and the other two dancers, we just couldn't see [who to eliminate] so I'm so happy Nigel made the recommendation, 'We'll do something that we've never done before, we'll keep everyone right now and next week we'll take four off.' So right now we're super celebrating, but it will make it even more difficult and it will be a shock wave to the top 20 contestants because they get another full week to bond."
Nigel said in order for contestants to stay they need to work on making their mark on the stage and not just be a face among 20 dancers.
"People don't vote people off the show," he said. "They vote to keep people on the show. People don't vote for the first few weeks because they're not sure who to vote for. There's too many people. They don't have the connection that they will get later on in the series."
While it was announced that Lady Gaga will be a guest judge later in the season, Nigel said not to expect any little monster mentoring, but solid advice to inspire the dancers.
"We don't have mentors," he said. "We have choreographers to do that and they know exactly what they want. So I certainly don't want to start people mentoring, but what she will do on the panel is give great advice on somewhat how to handle yourself, how to be creative with what you do and how to be a fabulous performer. She has actually done what I want these kids to do, which is get an audience behind them. You have to be unique in this. You can't be one of 20 dancers otherwise you'll disappear very quickly. It's the ones that make you pick the telephone up that will be around."
It's no secret the judges have vocalized their favorites which many fans think is an unfair advantage next to their fellow contestants, but guest judge Megan Mullally doesn't see it that way.
"They gotta say something and I think its better to be honest than not. They're all so good it's really tough."
Are you happy no one was eliminated? Who are your favorite dancers? Do you think it's fair for the judges to play favorites? Let us know in the comments!