TV Watch So You Think You Can Dance
For the first time in So You Think You Can Dance history, America has crowned two winners.
"I don't know why we've never done it before," judge Nigel Lythgoe told PEOPLE after Tuesday's ninth-season finale of the FOX dance competition – where both a male and female were declared "America's favorite dancers."
"It's really great that they win in their own sexes," said Lythgoe.
And so, with the entire top 20 on hand, the season's final four – Cyrus Spencer, Chehon Wespi-Tschopp, Eliana Girard and Tiffany Maher – waited to learn who would take home the titles.
After weeks of rehearsals, performances and eliminations on So You Think You Can Dance, it has come down to the top two men and top two women, in a final push to claim America's vote for the winning spots.
As the competition winds down, each dancer performed five routines Tuesday. While Tiffany Maher delivered solid performances throughout the night, it was Eliana Girard who wowed the judges and the audience with both her technique and her stage presence.
After Girard's performance of a contemporary piece to "Without You" by Harry Nilsson, accompanied by season 7 alum Alex Wong, judge Nigel Lythgoe proclaimed that she was his "favorite dancer of all time in this series."
For the first time this season, the judges of So You Think You Can Dance had no control over who was sent home.
"You can breathe a sigh of relief and sit back and enjoy," host Cat Deeley told the panel on Wednesday's episode, which would determine, based on America's vote from the previous week, the final four of season 9.
But there was no sighing for the panel of Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy and guest judge Christina Applegate.
"It's nice to save someone. It's nice to have that feeling and be able to do that but it was America's choice tonight," Applegate told PEOPLE after Wednesday's show.
Tears were streaming during So You Think You Can Dance Wednesday – even before two more dancers were sent home.
The night turned emotional early on, when, with his Swiss parents in the audience for the first time, ballet dancer Cheyon Wespi-Tschopp took to the stage for his solo. "You have to remember these dancers are kids who have dreamed of doing this their whole life," guest judge Jesse Tyler Ferguson told PEOPLE after Wednesday’s show. "They grew up far away from L.A. and then are transplanted here. I think it is overwhelming for them."
All-stars raised the So You Think You Can Dance finalists to a new level Wednesday, but two contestants still went home after a night of stellar performances.
"The all-stars could have taken all of the thunder and stolen all the light, but that wasn't the case," judge Mary Murphy told PEOPLE after the show. "We had a lot to celebrate tonight in the fact that [the contestants] held their own.”
But the celebrating came to an end when host Cat Deely announced the bottom two boys and bottom two girls: Witney Carson, 18, Audrey Case, 18, George Lawrence II, 19, and Cheyon Wespi-Tschopp, 23.
"It was a really tough call," Murphy said about having to choose which boy and girl to send home. And for the first time in season 9 the decision was not unanimous between the judges.
After a two-week hiatus during the London Olympics, the top 14 contestants on So You Think You Can Dance returned Wednesday – and four were sent home.
The episode featured some of the best routines choreographed by three-time Emmy winner Mia Michaels. "I was very honored. It was cool as an artist to be celebrated like that," Michaels told PEOPLE after the show. "It's the most amazing feeling ever. It is actually better than any gold Emmy statue."
But while some dancers soared with their recreations of past numbers, others couldn't recreate the magic of the original performances from seasons past.
"It was a slaughterhouse to be honest with you," Michaels said about the judges' critiques and comparisons. "Tonight just wasn't it and I was disappointed. But the dancers did the best they could."
After another night of fantastic dancing, the top 16 became the top 14 on So You Think You Can Dance, as another boy and girl were sent home Wednesday night.
"It's a terrible situation," judge Nigel Lythgoe said after the bottom-six dancers were revealed to be Amber Jackson, Lindsay Arnold, Eliana Girard, George Lawrence II, Brandon Mitchell and Dareian Kujawa.
Lythgoe told Lawrence that he "looked a little tired" after his Nappytabs hip-hop number, but he was eventually saved.
The entire top 20 took to the stage to perform Wednesday on So You Think You Can Dance, but only 16 made it through season 9's first elimination.
"You must be dreading it," host Cat Deeley said to the judges at the beginning of Wednesday's live show.
The judges were tasked with sending home two men and two women of the six dancers voted into the bottom by viewers.
But first, all 20 contestant took to the stage to perform this week's routines, which ended with a rousing Bollywood number by Whitney Carson, 18, and Chehon Wespi-Tschopp, 23.
Fresh off the show's 200th episode, So You Think You Can Dance's season 9 had its first live show on Wednesday.
After a workplace-set group number by the top 20, judge Mary Murphy handed out a ticket on the "hot tamale train" to ballroom dancer Witney Carson, 18. But her ballet-dancer partner Chehon Wespi-Tschopp, 23, did not fare as well.
"When we pulled ballroom I wanted to die a little bit. I'm so new to this and I felt awkward," Wespi-Tschopp told PEOPLE of working with their choreographer, Dancing with the Stars pro Louis Van Amstel, who called him a "pretty boy with work to do" in rehearsal.
Receiving more positive feedback were jazz dancer Tiffany Maher, and contemporary dancer George Lawrence II, both 19, who left Murphy "breathless" after their Sonya Tayek contemporary routine.
So You Think You Can Dance is turning 200-episodes-old!
Fox's hit dance competition, which requires hip-hoppers to tackle the tango and ballroom dancers to try Bollywood, is celebrating with a special episode, airing Wednesday (8 p.m. ET).
The judges will announce this season's top 20 finalists (10 men and 10 women), "who will perform their own specialties, free of any judgment, so that America can get to know more about them and their talents," according to a press release.
But that's not all! The show has also put together this video tribute, showing 200 dancers in 200 seconds. It's a fun way to spend the next three minutes and 20 seconds!