Top 20 contestants and Cat Deeley
06/17/2011 at 08:50 AM EDT
After the cameras stopped rolling on So You Think You Can Dance
Thursday, contestant Jess LeProtto was bawling uncontrollably and Jordan Casanova screamed out, "What just happened?" as the audience sat stunned in the aftermath of a shocking first elimination for season 8's top 20 contestants
After a series of breathtaking solo dances from the seven dancers on the chopping block, the judges were at a loss as to who to send home.
"It's crazy, they really are making the decision at the last second and there are these different ideas that were floated," guest judge Megan Mullally told reporters of the hectic deliberation that took place during a commercial break. "And at the last minute, [judge Nigel Lythgoe] said, 'Wait, we're keeping everybody.' "
And so LeProtto and Casanova were sparred elimination this week along with the other members of the bottom three couples – Robert Taylor, Taad Gudduang, Miranda Maleski, and Clarice Ordaz – as well Mitchell Kelly who was automatically up for elimination because his dislocated elbow
prevented him from performing on Wednesday..
"I was thinking it would have to be Mitchell [going home] because he didn't perform this week," explained judge Mary Murphy. "But when he did his solo it changed everything and with Robert's personality and the other two dancers we just couldn't see [who to send home]."
Both Murphy and Lythgoe hope Kelly's next choreographer takes in to account his injury when planning next week's routine but say that he should be able to perform a dance that does not require him to lift with his injured arm.
And while the SYTYCD
family rejoices in staying together this week, Murphy knows the feeling won't last long.
"Now we are really, super celebrating, but it will be more difficult because we are now giving them another week to bond [before] their new best friends go home," she says of having to send four dancers home next week. "It will be a shockwave that runs through this show and who may be on the top in our minds and the fans' minds could easily change by next week."
With that amount of pressure on the judges panel, Mullally is glad she will replaced as guest judge by Debbie Reynolds next week.
"I was just thinking," she said. "How the hell do they do this every week?"