The World of Dance Duels Part 3 airs tonight on NBC. Jennifer Lopez, Derek Hough and NE-YO make up the judges panel, while Jenna Dewan Tatum serves as host.
In the end, there’s only one million dollar winner. That’s right–the last act standing wins $1 million dollars.
Handpicked from qualifying events around the nation and thousands of online submissions, competitors are divided into three divisions: Junior (any size act under 16 years old), Upper (groups of 1- 4, over 16 years) and Team (groups of 5+, over 16 years). After an initial audition round (Qualifiers), the dancers will move on to “The Duels,” followed by “The Cut” and then the “Divisional Final.” In the “World Final” the three division winners will go head to head for $1 million and the title “Best in the World.” A panel of experts score the acts using a precise point system developed by World of Dance, using the following criteria: Performance, Technique, Choreography, Creativity, and Presentation. The judges award up to 5 points in each category. The act must score at least 80 points to move on to the next level.
The acts that scored the highest during the qualifiers round choose the dancers to duel against.
Kinjaz Choose Stroll Groove.
Kinjaz – Team – Their style is influenced by “ninja culture.” They create an old school Japanese set that incorporates movement, beautifully synchronized around moving walls. Impressive. This is how you win a competition, says Ne-Yo. Derek calls them “the masters of illusion.” He adds “I think that was a million dollar routine.
Stroll Groove – Team – They dance to a 90’s joint. They’re good, but completely outclassed by Kinjaz. It’s not even a contest. “It felt like a house party” says Ne-Yo of the step group. “You have to go for blood,” says Jennifer. She and Ne-Yo both felt they could have gone harder.
Kinjaz – 91.3 Stroll Groove 0 81.3. That was so lopsided. Zzzz. Kinjaz advance to the next round.
Luka and Jenalyn Choose DNA
Luka & Jenalyn – Upper – They do “Cabaret” ballroom. Lifts galore! Their big trick is a dangerous looking no hands head spin. They end with a really cool see/saw move that illuminates the couple’s physical strength. “That was amazing!” says Derek, “I wouldn’t want to follow that.” Jennifer felt it was better than the first time because there was more connection.
DNA – Upper – Newly married couple dance ballroom. While their tricks aren’t as spectacular, their emotional connection is stronger. Luka & Jenalyn are mechanical by comparison. In that sense, DNA are more entertaining to watch. I think Luke & Jena’s trick’s will prevail, however. Jennifer noticed a little “hiccup.” She adds “You have to smash the competition!” she warns. Ne-Yo calls it quality work, but they still look like they’re working too hard. Welp.
DNA – 80.3 – Luka & Jenalyn 88.7 – Luka & Jenalyn advance.
MONTAGEs: Immabeast vs Mini Request – Immabeast goes on to the next round. Kings Unite vs Pasion. Pasion advance. Rhythmatic vs Chapkis Dance Family. Chapkis Dance family advance. D’Angelo & Amanda vs Mihalkovic Sisters D’Angelo & Amanda – Upper – Ballroom dance couple. Ne-Yo and Jennifer both felt they came in under the bar. Mihalkovic Sisters – They’re young dancers, but very amateur. Still they advance to the next round.
Three acts remain and will compete for the last spot:
Rouge – All female crew. Hm. Can you say “cannon fodder”? I don’t even remember them from the qualifiers. Jlo loved their “booty shake” but the choreography could have been better. Both Derek and Ne-Yo give mixed reviews. Bye girls.
Jabbawockeez – I’ll predict that the world famous group wins the round. We’ll see. The judges missed the pop and locking the group is known for. Jlo compared the performance to battles from the 80’s. Derek warns that the bar is high for them. Ne-Yo loved the subtlety.
Ian Eastwood and the Young Lions – This group are basically chill background dancers. More cannon fodder. Derek felt they raised their game from last time. Ne-Yo agrees. “Now we have a dance battle on our hands,” says Jlo. SURE YOU DO.
3rd place – Rouge with 80 points, 2nd place – Jabbawockeez with 84.7 points. WHAT? Uhm. Ian Eastwood and the Young Lions Advance with 85.7 points. It’s as if the judges are sacrificing the Jabbawockeez for the sake of a shock boot.
Anyway… these “duals” were tedious compared to the qualifiers. Loved seeing the acts for the first time. Watching these manufactured battles? Not so much. Hopefully, the next round will be more entertaining.
Next week, Misty Copeland joins the panel. Half of the dancers go home.