07/31/2009 at 12:00 AM EDT
Even in a So You Think You Can Dance
episode as jam-packed with great performances as Thursday's, it was hard to forget that two dancers would leave at the end of the night. Sadly, but not surprising, it was stylish ballerina Melissa Sandvig
and (this one was a little tougher to swallow) contemporary dancer Ade Obayomi
"It always hurts every week ... You die a little bit every week -- two times," judge Lil C
said backstage, before offering some words of wisdom: "Losers have more to learn from losing than winners have to learn from winning. So pay attention to where you are and what's been given to you."
Clearly everyone was and is a winner in this season's amazing top six, but now moving into next week's finale, eyes are on Brandon
, who moved a little further ahead of the pack after a memorable solo
"If they're going to stand any chance against Brandon, they're going to have to pull their sox up and come up to his standard," Nigel told PEOPLE after the show, "which anyone of the three are capable of doing."
Nigel explained further: "People will have forgotten Brandon's solo by next week and they'll want them to deliver again. They've always got to deliver, otherwise, the two who left tonight would always have won because of that one brilliant routine."
Backstage, after the show, the four remaining dancers were glowing when PEOPLE caught up with them, just happy to have survived the grueling process with so much talent all around. Evan
was "humbled" and "in awe" of it all, while Jeanine
was "numb from head to toe" and Kayla
was just "incredibly thankful to have the fans support, family and also the judges."
Brandon, who said it was "mind-blowing" to have come so far, explained how his game-changing solo was not about closing the door on the competition, but rather an expression of his love and appreciation of dance. "I don't even think I was thinking about sealing the deal," he said. "I was just going out there and doing what I love and dancing is what I love. I just wanted to give my all for all the that supported me so much."
Next week, in the final exhausting lap, men will dance with men and girls will dance with girls, vice-versa, solos, group numbers, etc.
Said a proud Nigel: "It's going to be a great final." --Jed Dreben
Tell us: Did the right two dancers go home? Who will win So You Think You Can Dance