So You Think You Can Dance: Top Eight Perform

Top eight week on So You Think You Can Dance finally brought the long-awaited pairing of contestants, providing dancers with just a little better opportunity to showcase strengths.

It’s refreshing, in a sea of routines sometimes overburdened by a detailed narrative, to get a dance with one simple purpose: movement. Choreographer Mandy Moore is good with these (see Season 7’s fun and effective “Boogie Shoes”), and she was gifted with a versatile and rhythm-savvy duo in Koine Iwasaki and underrated All-Star Marko Germar to take it on:

And speaking of versatile, one hour later, Koine got the chance to tackle her first ballroom-adjacent number of the season in this salsa from Dancing With the Stars pro Val Chmerkovskiy. Though the inclusion of a Latin specialist in Kiki Nyemchek helped this number’s success, Koine held her own with real salsa choreo better than some other past contemporary contestants. And though the lifts made it clear salsa has its differences from competitive ballroom, Kiki, too, clearly relished the opportunity to perform a bit closer to his own wheelhouse:

For another all-contestant number, the show couldn’t resist pairing up off-stage couple Taylor Sieve and Lex Ishimoto for a romantic routine. Choreographer Spencer Liff, however, found a way to tweak expectations, producing this creative avian-styled jazz to George Gershwin’s always-winning An American in Paris: