Tonight on So You Think You Can Dance, the Top 8 dancers will perform -- and Ellen DeGeneres is at the judges's table.

As you might have heard, tomorrow is the 100th episode of SYTYCD, and there's going to be a big ole party. Lots of revisiting of favorite moments -- and favorite routines, and Emmy-winning routines -- and Katie Holmes will perform, which could maybe be a trainwreck or maybe awesome. If anyone has been thinking about testing the SYTYCD waters, tomorrow would be a great time to do so.


(Incidentally: Mary Murphy, please never say "off the chain" ever again.)

Choreographer (and former contestant) Travis Wall is back, working on a group dance with the Top 8. This should be good -- his first choreography experience on the show last week was great, and the group dances are typically amazing. It's an interesting and fun routine; he compares it to a rave at some point far in the future, and the dancers all have neon lights on their faces and hands. (The eye pieces are soooo Geordi La Forge.) Nigel Lythgoe tells them it makes him feel like a proud father, which is pretty sweet.

The first couple of the night (by the way, they are switching it up all the time now) is Evan and Janette, who are doing a jazz routine with Sonya Tayeh, that she is about "wanting people to shut up." I love these two, and I want to love the dance, but I don't really feel like they quite capture the "escalating frustration" that Sonya was going for. Their lifts were amazing, though. Nigel says he is finally getting more from Evan as requested and that Janette was absolutely wonderful. Ellen says it was complex and full-bodied and then she goes off about some wine. Mary says it was a lot of fun seeing them outside their category, but she thinks they could have been "a little bit more gutsier" (sigh) toward the end. Mia Michaels says she thinks Evan made a step in the right direction, that he usually is emotionally is about the same place. She adds that because he is so adorable, he is never going to be the rough, edgy, hard-hitting dancer that Sonya requires, but he was still good. Then Mia drops the bomb that Janette is her "favorite, favorite, favorite this season." Janette freaks out and starts pulling the "We're Not Worthy" move from Wayne's World.

Kayla has the first solo. I don't usually have a ton to say about the solos, but this one really jumped out at me as very strong and put-together.

Brandon gets paired up with Jeanine for the waltz with Hunter Johnson. It's soft and graceful and lovely, and to my eye, they totally pull it off. Nigel says it was a very difficult routine, partially because the music was so slow. He didn't think they had the control to pull it off at that speed. (People boo.) Ellen disagrees with Nigel and thinks they were fantastic. Mary says it was the slowest waltz they have ever had on the show and that any ballroom pro would have had a tough time with that tempo, and "You guys did it respectable." Mia says she expected their "space, length and breath" to be amazing, but she wasn't taken away. So maybe there is an upside to having an untutored eye.

Jason is up for his solo.

Ade and Melissa are reunited for the cha-cha with Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPlatin. I'm kind of underwhelmed by the performance, but I'm not sure why. This dance demands amazing hip action, and I'm not sure they exactly got it. There are a couple of interesting maneuvers, and Melissa looks amazing and not inappropriate despite wearing about one-eighth of a dress. Nigel thinks it was a great routine. He warns Melissa to keep her legs from turning out, which limits her hip action. And Ade, he says, was good. Ellen says they nailed it. Mary says the execution of the material was good, but because the dance was a little slowed down, their technique was a lot more visible. She says Ade was too high and not down into the floor and that Melissa had her feet turned in too far or too out at times. "It's just a little teeny bit below what I expected." Mia tells Ade she thinks it was his worst performance this season and that he didn't get "down and dirty" at all. And she says Melissa did a good job breaking down her ballerina training and creating the hip action that she needed.

Janette does a solo that is much more of a solo than usual.

Jason and Kayla are paired up for Broadway with Tyce DiOrio. And this is the performance of the night so far, I think. It's energetic and engaging and entertaining -- they're dancing hard but not making it look hard. Love it, will definitely be rewatching. Nigel says that style will go on and on, and says Jason's toes were exactly perfect and that Kayla's lines, as usual, are amazing. He liked what Tyce's routine did for both of them. "This is one of the best routines I've seen this evening to show off your personal talents," he closes. Ellen says she doesn't know what to say and then makes a silly "nailers" joke. Mary: "It just seemed to flow effortless." (Mary seems to have Paula Abdul syndrome when it comes to adjectives and adverbs.) She pulls out a whistle and says Kayla is on the hot tamale train. Mia: "I seem like the only sane one up here, and that's scary." She liked it, but she wants Jason to work on the lines of his upper body. She asks if Kayla sings or acts. She says, "Sometimes." "You should," Mia says. "You would take Broadway by storm. ... Tony after Tony after Tony after Tony. ... You're like the epitome of a girl, you're such a girl, and it's just so awesome to see how brilliant a girl can be, so thank you for that."

Ade does his solo. It's busy, but I feel like he is always grinning like crazy even when it's not warranted by what he's dancing like. Just me?

Janette and Evan then have a rumba with Tony and Melanie. Oh, Evan. This is not his strong suit, but he is ready to give it a go. They dance to Kris Allen's version of "Heartless," amusingly enough. So it seems like it could be a trainwreck, but Evan does OK. (Tough to pull off a black lace shirt, though, for anyone.) He does bobble a couple of times that I notice, though. Janette seems spot on, but she should be. Nigel says he loved the choreography but says it is an exceptionally hard style to get votes with because it is so smooth. He says Janette has it down pat and that Evan didn't show any passion in his face. "You've got heavy eyelids, which sometimes makes you look kind of drowsy. ... If you don't perform with your face, you lack chemistry." Ellen says she doesn't know what she's talking about, but she loves Evan's face and eyes and that he doesn't look like everyone else in this town. She also thinks Janette was just amazing. Mary says Evan did a really good job with some tough choreography and was right there for Janette the whole time. She tells Janette that Tony and Melanie just added to her flavor. Mia agrees with Ellen and says that not everyone has to be the sexpot ... "What you bring to the stage Evan, there's not a lot of people who can do that. We celebrate you and we love you. ... I was like, ooh, I don't know if I want to see him be sexy, but you know what, you did it. ... But you did it with a Zoolander face." Hee!

Then it's time for Melissa's solo, which, frankly, is kind of boring.

Brandon and Jeanine (pictured above) do pop-jazz with Laurieann Gibson, whom I don't think we've met before. She wins me over when she says that there is no story, there is only their dancing. The American Idol theme continues, as they are dancing to Jordin Sparks' "Battlefield." They just kind of exude the aggression and the passion that Laurieann seemed to be going for -- they're very strong and on point to me. Nigel says that is all he is asking of their Top 8: "You just showed us exactly what we want. .... It's finally begun this evening for me. Everybody's saying how wonderful it is tonight. This is the flattest evening I've ever experienced on So You Think You Can Dance up until now. Everyone's got to realize how tough it is to be a dancer." He credits Jeanine for staying with Brandon and both of them for stepping up to the choreography. Ellen is happy that Nigel is that happy. Mary says it was strong and powerful and they just hit it all the time. [Hot tamale train routine.] Mia says they danced in a place that was "more than dance" and that they "went inside" of it.


Evan has to follow that with his solo. He drops his hat, which is unfortunate, but he handles it and shows off his personality, as per usual.


Jeanine's solo is next, and it seems a little unfocused tonight.

Melissa and Ade do a contemporary piece with Tyce that is about a woman with breast cancer. No pressure to perform this emotional dance well, right? And they do, it seems, though the end kind of comes out of nowhere. Maybe that is the point, though. The jumps are amazing and moving. Nigel says it showed him why he loves dance so much ... "because it can express so much emotion without words." Once they all start talking about it, I get teary, too. Nigel says it was one of the most memorable dances on the show and that they were the best couple for this dance. Ellen says she feels privleged that she got to see that. "It was just the most beautiful thing I've ever seen." Mary says this takes her to a scary place, but that they danced it beautifully and that they won't forget it. She thanks Tyce for shedding light on the subject. Mia, also crying, says this was an important piece of work and that she wishes she could have had the strength that they had in this piece for her father when he was ill.

Brandon does his energetic solo to one of my most favorite feel-good songs ever, Robert Randolph and the Family Band's "Ain't Nothing Wrong With That." Love it.

Jason and Kayla have the last dance of the night -- a zombie-themed hip-hop routine with Shane Sparks. (Waitwaitwait ... they are following the touching, emotional cancer dance with the zombie dance??? Oh. My. Wow. I don't quite know what to say about that.) Anyway ... it's good and fun and entertaining, though maybe a little off-putting when it ends with the zombie (Jason) kind of breaking and killing Kayla. Nigel likes that it was Michael Jackson-inspired and thinks Shane brought something out of them. He said he has been a little disappointed with the hip-hop this season, but that this was great and knocked it out of the park. Ellen says if they keep dancing like that, they will have their own talk show someday. Mary thinks her little puppy dog "got bit by the rabies." She screams. Mia says this is her favorite Shane routine and that she loved the final image of him strangling her. "It was disturbingly hot."

I agree with Nigel that this night started out in a pretty lackluster fashion, but the Top 8 finished strong. Who'd you like and dislike? I think Jason and Kayla probably had the best night overall; I liked both of their performances a lot. Evan and Janette didn't really have a shining moment, but I think they are popular enough to probably be OK. Those last three dances tonight were something else. I wish all eight had been as fabulous.

What did you think about the night?

(Photo by Kelsey McNeal/FOX)