Walking in to a thunderous applause from the studio audience before the cameras started rolling, Gaga held an air of regality in her Asian-inspired Sgt. Pepper outfit Wednesday, but as soon as the dancers took to the stage, her true SYTYCD fan-girl came out.
“I have a sweet spot for you,” she told Ricky Jaime. “I think you’re extremely sexy,” she said to Caitlynn Lawson. But it was Melanie Moore who had Gaga on her feet instigating a standing ovation – and in over-sized platform shoes, she towered above fellow judges Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy and Hollywood director Rob Marshall.
“As soon as I am done with the SYTYCD tour, Gaga, I will be calling you,” Moore told PEOPLE of being offered a spot as a dancer on Gaga’s tour.
The panel was again moved – to tears this time – when Marko Germar danced a Sonya Tayeh routine inspired by the relationship between a mother and child.
“I’m just so proud of you,” Gaga told Germar with tears streaming down her face.
“I was honored to see her shed tears for me. And it was great to see my mom,” said Germar, whose mother had flown in from Guam to be in the audience for the first time. “She only sees me through TV and for a mother to see her son go through something like this and to only be as close as a TV, it must be sad.”
During the last number of the show, Gaga again could not contain her excitement, banging her judge’s notebook on the table and standing to her feet halfway through the routine.
“Everybody can pack up and head home, because that was the performance of the evening,” she said before throwing her bright pink shoe on stage towards Sasha Alexander and Melanie Moore – said to be an old dance tradition to mark a job well done.
“She would have stage-dived for that shoe,” Moore said of Alexander’s enthusiasm for the keepsake that Gaga signed for the girls after the show.
After two hours of critiquing, the most negative Gaga got was over some of the choreographer’s choices to use props that she found distracting, despite admitting, “You know me, I love a prop.”
Head judge Lythgoe was not as much a fan of Wednesday’s performances. While he did tell Moore she was “a carpenter because you nailed that” – quoting former guest judge Ellen DeGeneres, who was in the audience Wednesday along with wife Portia de Rossi, Katie Holmes and her daughter Suri Cruise – he gave the most ominous critique of the night, warning Ricky Jaimie, “I’ve got some reservations of whether you’re going to be in the bottom.”
“I understand what Nigel said. It maybe was not my best,” Jaimie said of his hip-hop routine with Germar. “But I was living and having a freaking blast out there.”
But, while Lythgoe said Jaime could be in trouble on Thursday’s elimination show (8 p.m. ET), Gaga was quick to retort, “Not when I vote!”