It's a good thing Tyce Diorio waited for Ellen DeGeneres' guest appearance to unleash his latest work on us.

Our tears might have carried us away, Alice in Wonderland-style, if she hadn't been there to provide some comic relief on the heraldic 99th episode of the understandably Emmy-nominated So You Think You Can Dance.

Let's start from the beginning (and parts of the middle), however, shall we? There was nothing not to like about former contestant Travis Wall's opening group number. And now that Kupono's gone, each solo was as impressive as the next. And Brandon's, the last of the night, was especially good.

The routines (two per couple) were a bit hit-and-miss, however. But when they hit...holy crap, did they hit. Right in the heart, in fact.

Janette Manrara & Evan Kasprzak

(1) It's not really fair for the dancers when a routine gives one couple the opportunity to look all gloriously in lust and love (or wrenchingly in pain), while another has to bring an affected 'tude. Evan, whom we love (gloriously), doesn't do sneering attitude the way he does love and devotion, so he was just kinda there, while Janette tore through a Sonya Tayeh jazz routine. The wee salsa dancer can't help but master everything she's taught, week after week. The effervescent Ellen compared them to a fine wine—"hard-hitting, complex, rich, full-bodied." Nigel Lythgoe actually thought Evan stepped it up, 'tude-wise, tonight, but the ever-discerning Mia Michaels acknowledged that he'll never be the "dark, twisted, freakish dancer that Sonya requires."

SYTYCD, Janette Manrara, Evan Kasprzak

Kelsey McNeal/FOX

(2) Tight Latin-dance pants aren't our favorite look for Evan, but the all-black outfit was only part of what made this Tony Meredith-Melanie Lapatin rumba way better than his stab at the samba. The slower tempo of the rumba—to Kanye West's "Heartless" as done by American Idol Kris Allen—allowed the old-school specialist one more time to immerse himself in the style and match Janette sway for sway. Of course, no one can really touch Janette when it comes to the Latin rhythms, but Evan kept up. Interestingly, Nigel chose tonight to pick on Evan's eyelids. But Ellen and Mia had his back, with Ellen calling him "so charming and so charismatic" and Mia reminding him of his singular stage presence.

Jeanine Mason & Brandon Bryant

(1) Is there nothing these two extraordinary dancers can't do? Well, they can't waltz together, apparently. We didn't see anything too amiss, but the pros saw a lot lacking in this Hunter Johnson routine. The very slow music almost put Nigel to sleep and he "didn't get as much as [he] wanted" from the two powerhouses. "Respectable" was what Mary called it, and Mia appeared to be talking to just Brandon, her nemesis turned object-of-admiration, when she said, "Maybe if you weren't dreaming about birds and bunnies, the performance would have been better." Oh...we see how it is.

(2) It was the stage that was the battlefield tonight for Jeanine and Brandon, who fought back with a vengeance after getting their worst respective critiques of the season for their waltz. Laurie Ann Gibson's feisty pop-jazz routine was just the ammo they needed to blast their way back into the judges' hearts—and land themselves on the hot tamale train, natch. "It's finally begun—this evening—for me!" exclaimed Nigel. "It was strong, powerful, dynamic," Mary said. "You guys danced in a place that was more than dance," praised Mia.

Melissa Sandvig & Ade Obayomi

(1) We admit, our office is very, very cold. But is that why we couldn't feel very much heat radiating from Melissa and Ade's Tony-and-Meredith cha-cha? On the surface, it was lovely. Ade moves and we are riveted. But it was slow (not their fault) and decidedly not fiery. Nigel and Ellen dug it (seemed to be the theme with Ellen tonight, of course), but Mary felt, like us, that things were moving in slow motion. "A little teeny bit below what I expected," the ballroom expert said, while Mia considered it Ade's worst performance of the season.

(2) Unlike this one. We misted up just thinking about it and, sure enough, we cried a little bit during the dance and then afterward, as the judges' tough facades melted under the impact of Tyce Diorio's contemporary routine, inspired by a friend's battle with breast cancer. Yes, the lifts, the leaps and the dancers' stability and center of gravity were breathtaking. But it was the emotion radiating from the stage that truly stunned. As the judges said, we're grateful it was the reunited Melissa and Ade who got to do it. "If this isn't [an Emmy] nomination next year, I'll be hugely surprised," a choked-up Nigel said, singling out Ade's superior strength and Melissa's maturity as two of the qualities that made the pairing so successful. "I feel so privileged that I got to witness that," an abnormally subdued Ellen said. "It was just the most beautiful thing I've ever seen." "It  really was well-done and I don't think I'll ever forget it," added a tearful Mary, while Mia's remarks were punctuated by sobs. "What an important piece of work," she said.

Kayla Radomski & Jason Glover

(1) Free of Caitlin's chemistry-resisting ice-queenery, Jason has blossomed. He and the chameleonic Kayla jazzed it up to perfection in Tyce's bluesy Broadway number. Some of Jason's 'round-the-stool moves reminded Nigel of Gene Kelly and Mary still has Kayla riding first-class on the hot-tamale train. But while Mia thinks Kayla could win Tony after Tony on Broadway and should have her picture next to "girl, perfect and star" in the dictionary, she kinda wants to take a hammer to Jason's collarbone to adjust his lines. Yikes.

SYTYCD, Kayla Radomski, Jason Glover

Kelsey McNeal/FOX

(2) Following Melissa and Ade's second dance, quite a change of pace was this Shane Sparks hip-hop number, featuring Jason as a murderous monster and Kayla as his endangered zombie mistress. Interesting, fun, macabre and a much-needed breath of theatrical, unserious air. "You keep dancing like that and you'll have your own talk show one day," Ellen said, concluding the comedic portion of the evening. "I think my little puppy dog there got bit by the rabies or something," squawked Mary, referring to Jason's demonic turn. "I loved that strangle thing—it was hot," approved Mia.

Hand us a tissue, and then tune in tomorrow for another unfortunate pair of eliminations, a special performance by Katie Holmes and a whole bunch of celebration in honor of SYTYCD's 100th episode.

In the meantime, you've got some voting to do.

SYTYCD's Top Eight Doubles Up
Who rocked your soul tonight?


Here's the touring top 10 from SYTYCD's fifth season.

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