So You Think You Can Dance, with Anna Kendrick as the guest judge, returned to Fox on Tuesday night with a string of memorable performances.

First up were Jenna Johnson and Tucker Knox who performed a hip-hop routine choreographed by Luther Brother to Wale’s “Slight Work.” The judges were pleased with the performance, noting that the pair left everything up on the stage. However, as the routine was meant to recreate a club scene, they could have done with some surrounding dancers.

Alexis Juliano and Nico Greetham was the next couple to take the stage. They performed a Sonya Tayeh contemporary routine to "Ashes" by the Bengsons. The dance, according to Tayeh, “starts at the point in a relationship where everything starts to fall apart.” It was an incredibly moving performance that Kendrick admitted took her breath away.

Dancing a tango choreographed by Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo was Hayley Erbert and Leonardo, who replaced Curtis Holland who suffered an injury during rehearsals. Moving to the sounds of Juan D’Arienzo’s “Este Es El Rey,” Hayley kept the pace with her professional partner, and wound up giving once of the season’s best ballroom performances.

Mackenzie Dusman and Paul Karmiryan performed the second Tayeh routine of the night, taking on a jazz number to “You’ll Find a Way (Switch & Sinden Remix)” by Santigold. It was another brilliant performance by the pair – the powerful and stunning Mackenzie and Armenian SYTYCD winner Paul.

Performing Justin Giles contemporary routine, inspired by Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree, to Birdy’s “The District Sleeps Along Tonight” were Jasmine Harper and Aaron Turner. Jasmine took on the role of the tree, while Aaron played the boy who keeps taking her bright red apples. Mary Murphy had high praise for the couple.

Next on the stage were Amy Yackima and Dushaunt “Fik-shun” Stegall, who took on a hip-hop routine by Christopher Scott to Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.” Once again, the couple proved to have perfect chemistry, complimenting each other throughout the narrative of their dance. Although impressed with their work, Nigel Lythgoe wants them to get out of the rut of playing the “happy-go-lucky-regular folks.”

Last up were Malece Miller and Alan Bersten, dancing a Jonathan Platero salsa number to “Pa’ Los Rumberos” by Tito Puente & His Orchestra. Platero, a former contestant on the show, gave a modern spin to the ballroom routine, letting Malece and Alan have some fun on the stage. Host Cat Deely, Murphy and Kendrick were all wowed by the routine.

The bottom six from last week had been Jasmine, Alexis, Mackenzie, Alan, Curtis and Nico. After the “dancing for your lives” segment – Alexis and Curtis (who wasn’t able to dance for his life due to his injury) were sent home.

So You Think You Can Dance returns to Fox next Tuesday at 8/9c.

– Chelsea Regan

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