Since dancing is one of the purest forms of self-expression, So You Think You Can Dance and Lady Gaga are a perfect fit, don't you think?
Three years after making her broadcast-TV performance debut on the show, the Grammy winner was back tonight, this time as a guest judge—and sporting aqua-blue hair.
And she had opinions, baby.
Of the remaining eight finalists, who was Lady Gaga's favorite, who got dissed, who made her cry—and who got her shoes?!
"My hat's off to you, baby," Gaga told Melanie Moore, literally doffing her red leather sailor's cap after being the first of the judges on her feet when Melanie hurtled into all-star Neil Haskell's arms during a Mandy Moore contemporary number. "You are my favorite in this competition. I would hire you tomorrow to dance on my tour all around the world."
Not a bad proposition, eh? (BTW, check out season-five fave Mark Kanemura as one of Lady Gaga's backup dancers during tomorrow's elimination-show performance!)
Nigel Lythgoe deemed Sasha Mallory his fave after she kicked off the show quickstepping with Pasha Kovalev, but he had to get on the Melanie train, too.
"Well, I warned Sasha that I'm fickle and I may change my mind," he said hesitantly. "And I've changed my mind. You are now again my favorite dancer."
But hard feelings aren't the name of the game here, and Sasha joined forces with the competition for a showstopping (literally, because it was the last dance of the night) jazz routine that had the whole audience out of their seats—and Lady Gaga out of her mile-high platforms. For reals!
The diva, whose shoes were described by Nigel as "water bottles on [her] feet," offered up one shoe to the dancers and tossed another to Sonya Tayeh for choreographing the piece, leaving her barefoot and in need of a security guard to carry her off the set when the taping was over.
"Everyone can pack up and go home, because that was the performance of the evening," Gaga said self-deprecatingly, referring to the performance she was about to tape for Thursday once tonight's live show was over.
While Gaga was on her feet twice for Melanie, it was Marko Germar and all-star Allison Holker apologizing to their moms for the sins of their youth in another Sonya piece that had the hitmaker in tears and in need of a makeup touch-up during the commercial break. (Perfect timing, because Marko's mother was attending her first live show after flying in from Guam.)
"I'm just so proud of you," she said, her face shining with tears. "You really love to dance...There were so, so many things that I did wrong when I was younger and so many things that I wish I could take back, and I felt every moment of that through your dance tonight."
Heck, everyone was crying: Marko, his mom, Sonya, Mary Murphy (who declared Marcus to be her favorite contestant). It was definitely the touching moment of the night.
Lady Gaga, who obviously was a very hands-on judge (also patiently waving, blowing kisses and mouthing "I love you, too" at all the fans trying to get her attention during the breaks), had tender words for the entire top eight, taking time to say unique things to each one—be it praise or constructive criticism.
"Honey, you give me such hope, because it's no surprise that I'm quite short," Gaga told the wee Jordan Casanova after she danced Tyce Diorio's badass pop jazz routine with first-time all-star Ade Obayomi, in which her kicks hinged at a remarkable angle.
"I have a fashion catheter so I don't have to leave to go to the bathroom during the show," she added, showing off those massive shoes.
Gaga told Ricky Jaime, after he jived with Anya Garnis, "I have a sweet spot for you. And I don't know why, and I can't explain it, but I love that you're high." Posture, people! "I love that you're up there, because that's you."
"Adversely," she added, "I felt that Anya was...I think maybe it was the styling or something about it, but it felt a little Dancing With the Stars. It didn't feel as modern as what you were."
Just in case anybody was wondering if Lady Gaga wouldn't have any pointed criticisms.
Fan-favorite hip-hop choreographers Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo didn't play to Gaga's preferences tonight, either!
She didn't think the props were necessary in their first routine, which contained choreography that she "didn't necessarily love." Gaga told Jess LeProtto that his performance "outshine all of that," including some props she didn't feel were needed.
Later in the show, she felt that, in Tabitha and Napoleon's men-at-work routine for Marko and Ricky, "the interpretation of hip-hop was a bit contrived."
Let's just say, Tabitha and Napoleon may not have been first in Gaga's receiving line backstage.
For the record, fellow guest judge Rob Marshall did a fine job as well, at one point rightfully wondering (after Jess and Jordan's theatrical rumba) why people saying something is "so Broadway" is bad.
"Broadway is fantastic!" the stage and screen director delightfully noted.
Unfortunately, while getting the shoe tonight was a badge of honor, two more dancers will get the boot tomorrow.