SALT LAKE CITY — Though two of our Utah dancers are heading home, Provo’s Ezra Sosa has made it to the “So You Think You Can Dance” Top 8.
During last week’s episode of “So You Think You Can Dance,” audience members voted on their favorite dancers, and the four who got the fewest votes were “in danger” this week.
This week’s episode opened with a gorgeous contemporary piece featuring the 10 remaining dancers. That was the last time the Top 10 would perform together. The dancers then broke up into pairs and performed duets, receiving feedback from the judges and audience. Taking recent performances into consideration, the judges chose two dancers to save.
Eddie Hoyt, a 19-year-old tap instructor from Orem, and Utah County ballroom dancer Stephanie Sosa didn’t make the cut.
But before hearing their fate, the contestants shared their love of dance and recalled the stories behind their first-ever performances.
Stephanie Sosa shared that in her first performance, she did a Mexican dance in a long skirt. “I felt like a Latina queen,” she said. Eddie Hoyt’s first performance was a highland dance — complete with a kilt — when he was 7. Ezra Sosa recalled his first performance at a children’s ballroom competition. “I just remember feeling so free,” he said.
Stephanie Sosa was first to perform in a duet — a fast-paced jive to Little Richard’s “Long Tall Sally (The Thing).” “I’m loving every second, ‘cause this is my element,” she said of the ballroom piece.
The judges loved it, too, giving Stephanie Sosa and her partner, fellow contestant Gino Cosculluela, a standing ovation.
While the judges were clearly more focused on Cosculluela, they were also impressed with Stephanie Sosa’s speed and technique.
“Steph, you were also equally as amazing (as Gino),” guest judge Dominic “D-Trix” Sandoval said.
“I have one thing to say,” added fellow guest judge Laurieann Gibson. “I smell greatness.”
“You’re in your element and it was fantastic,” finished judge and producer Nigel Lythgoe.
But after all of the positive feedback from the judges, Stephanie Sosa was faced with the harsh truth: The audience votes from last week’s episode placed her in the bottom four. That meant that her place on “So You Think You Can Dance” was completely up to the judges, who would choose between her and the other lowest-ranked female dancer.
Eddie Hoyt performed next, dancing with contestant Sophie Pittman. Hoyt struggled last week, so the pressure was on for this performance. His piece, a contemporary routine to Billie Eilish’s “When the Party’s Over” was deeply emotional and filled with athletic jumps and lifts.
According to the judges, Hoyt has struggled to convey emotion in his previous performances. But he came into his own with this piece.
“Thank you guys so much for that chemistry,” Sandoval said.
“(The piece was) so strong … you were marvelous,” Lythgoe added.
“Life … is about picking yourself back up,” “scream queen” judge Mary Murphy said. “You were just living that tonight.”
Unfortunately, like Stephanie Sosa, the votes from last week’s performance left Hoyt in the bottom four contestants. Both had to wait to see who the judges would choose to continue competing on “So You Think You Can Dance.”
Ezra Sosa, who was last to perform and danced with Madison Jordan, was assigned a sensual jazz routine to Joe Cocker’s “You Can Leave Your Hat On.”
The routine had its fair share of impressive stunts, but the routine was about much more than that, as the judges commented on the pair’s strong connection.
“(The) chemistry between you was certainly there,” Lythgoe said.
“You were just terrific,” Murphy added.
After Ezra Sosa’s performance, show host Cat Deely broke the news that Ezra Sosa, along with his sister Stephanie Sosa and Hoyt, was in danger of being sent home.
Between Stephanie Sosa and the other lowest-ranked female dancer, Anna Linstruth, the judges chose to keep Linstruth on the show. Between Ezra Sosa and Hoyt, Ezra Sosa won out.
Everyone was emotional as they said their goodbyes.
“I’m just so proud of you,” Ezra Sosa said to his sister. “This has been a dream of ours ever since we can remember, and we’ll always be there for each other no matter what.”
Hoyt thanked the judges, his partner and the other contestants for the amazing experience. “This show pushed me to understand what it means to be a dancer,” Hoyt said. “Never, ever doubt yourself,” he told contestants and the audience.
Stephanie Sosa thanked her family for everything they’ve done for her and finished with emotional encouragement to everyone watching.
“To all the girls out there that think that they’re not skinny enough, pretty enough, worth enough,” she said. “You can do anything if you work hard.”
“So You Think You Can Dance” airs on Fox at 8 p.m. on Mondays.