World of Dance season 2 Duals round begin tonight. Jennifer Lopez, Derek Hough and NE-YO are back on the judges panel, while Jenna Dewan serves as host.
In this round, the top qualifying acts from each division will choose a rival and face off in a head-to-head elimination duel. The judges will score each act based on their artistry, precision and athleticism, and the top scoring act from each duel will move forward in the competition and be one step closer to winning a grand prize of $1 million.
A total of 72 acts compete this season in four age-based categories: Junior (17 years old and under, 1-4 dancers), Junior Team (17 years old and under, 5-15 dancers), Upper (18 years old and older, 1-4 dancers), and Upper Team (18 years old and older, 5-15 dancers).
The highest scoring acts from the qualifiers choose who to challenge. The judges decide who moves on and who goes home. Jenna mentors the performers as they prepare for battle.
Karen Y Ricardo (99.7) vs Luka & Jenalyn (8.0) – Upper – Both acts do lots of tricks. The first act has won many national championships. The latter were knocked out of the competition in season 1.
Karen Y Ricardo – This duo perform a salsa that features trick after trick after trick. At one point, a move leaves barely any room between Karen’s head and the floor. It’s downright dangerous! Jlo calls them “so solid. It’ is so incredible what you do.” Derek calls them “insane…the tricks you do are death defying.” Ne-Yo “I was definitely on the edge of my seat. Ne-Yo – 97 Jlo – 99 – Derek – 99 – Total – 98.3 – WINNER
Luka & Jenalyn – The two perform with Jenalyn’s arms wrapped in a straight jacket. So it’s mostly her partner tossing her around until he rips it off. It’s an edgy performance, but nowhere near the skill of Karen & Ricardo., who are the clear winners. Jlo calls it “super gutsy…exceptional…you really stepped it up.” Ne-Yo calls it “risky and daring.” Derek loved the concept and creativity. Ne-Yo – 90 Jlo – 92 – Derek – 95 – Total – 92.3 – ELIMINATED
The Untouchables (88.7) vs Expressenz (87.0) – Junior Team – The Untouchables are a salsa ballroom team (Deangelo from season 1 and his choreographer father Manny are back), while Expressenz danced a contemporary routine to Carrie Underwood’s “Something in the Water.” The Untouchables are more skilled, but Expressenz are going for the gut punch–they hope their routine brings awareness to teen suicide.
The Untouchables – Oh this is VERY different from their Qualifiers routine. There are elements of Paso Doble, Argentine Tango and Contemporary. The choreography is masculine and strong. “That really felt like Dual material to me,” says Jlo, comparing it to gladiators. Ne-Yo felt every style had it’s time to shine. Derek, however, felt the choreography was a little simple. Jlo thinks the strong storytelling made up for it. “It could have been a touch cleaner,” says Ne-Yo. Ne-Yo – 89 Jlo – 89 – Derek – 90 – Total – 89.3 – ELIMINATED
Expressenz – The routine is a mix of contemporary and ballet moves driven by emotion. The judges are on their feet. UH OH JLO HAS THE GOOSIES. “It was so strong in its softness and so perfectly in sync with every moment you tried to create,” she says. Derek compliments their technique and control. Ne-Yo said it was like one person up there. Ne-Yo – 93 Jlo – 95 – Derek – 94 – Total – 94 – WINNER
BDash & Konkrete vs Pasha & Daniella – Upper – The former performed hard hitting street Krump. They took choreography classes to up their games. The latter are ballroom dancers from Russia who incorporate earthy elements into their routines. Ne-Yo wasn’t entirely impressed with them, which really lit a fire underneath them.
Pasha & Daniella – Ha. When they face off against the competition, Daniella gives the boys the old fingers-to-eyes. It’s another edgy routine, but they are noticeably dressed more conventionally. Last time, Ne-Yo seemed to be totally put off by their unconventional style. “Danielle you’re a beast!” says Derek. He compares her to a gazelle or tiger. Ne-Yo still feels they could have brought something more. Jlo agrees–she kept waiting for something else to happen. I was expecting some trickier moves, but it was hard to take my eyes off Danielle. Ne-Yo – 85 Jlo – 89 – Derek – 91 – Total – 88.3 – ELIMINATED
BDash & Konkrete – They do a circus inspired routine dressed as clowns. Unfortunately, Derek DOES NOT LIKE Clowns. Oops. The vibe is very sinister, for sure. But the storytelling is creative, compelling and these guys are A+ Krumpers. Derek noted Krumping usually doesn’t have a narrative, but it paid off. Jlo was nervous for them, but now she’s a believer. “So creative,” says Ne-Yo. He feels they elevated the style. Ne-Yo – 95 Jlo – 95 – Derek – 94 – Total – 94.3 – WINNER
Fabulous Sisters (94.7) vs Rascals (84.7) – Junior Team – The former are a team of contemporary girls from Japan. The Rascals are a hip hop crew from Hawaii. Oh gosh, these little girls giving each other stank face during the faceoff is hilarious.
Rascals – These kids and their gangsta moves are both impressive and kind of adorable! Jlo loves their grit and griminess. Ne-Yo compliments how clean and sync they are. “The grooves are sick,” says Jlo. Ne-Yo – 97 Jlo – 94 – Derek – 92 – Total – 94.3 – ELIMINATED
Fabulous Sisters – Whoa. There moves are so in sync. They are going to be very hard to beat. “Super mature movements, art in motion,” says Ne-Yo. Jlo calls it “perfectly synchronized and beautiful.” Derek says, “You have so much power.” He notes their competitive work ethic. This contest is done. (I’m surprised the vote totals were close). Ne-Yo – 95 Jlo – 96 – Derek – 96 – Total – 95.7 – WINNER
Michael Dameski (92.7) vs Angyil (85.3) – Upper – The first solo acts of the night! Michael is a contemporary dancer, while Angyil is a popper. Oh. Michael won SYTYCD Australia. He picks a piece outside of his comfort zone. Angyil is also classically trained, though. And is very used to battling.
Michael Dameski – He really is a beautiful dancer. Very graceful, yet strong. Ne-Yo is literally shouting. “You’re like a damn superhero. Pure artistic beauty.” Jlo calls it an emotional roller coaster. He choreographed the routine himself. “It’s like you’re dancing in water,” says Derek. I think Michael’s incredible choreography will win the day. Ne-Yo – 95 Jlo – 94 – Derek – 95 – Total – 94.7 – WINNER
Angyil – She’s really good too. Her popping moves are precise, isolations superb. Impressive. Who should win? Her whimsical routine is charming. “I love the separation in your movement,” says Ne-Yo. He felt she needed to give the moves time to breathe. Jlo loved the routine. She can’t decide between the two. Derek loved the first 30 seconds. He agrees with Ne-Yo a little bit. Angyil says that most of the routine was freestyle. I understand Angyil losing the Duel, but the scores should have been closer. Ne-Yo – 90 Jlo – 87 – Derek – 88 – Total – 88.3 – ELIMINATED
The Bradas (87.7) vs The Jam Project (83.0) – Upper Team – The Bradas are a hip hop crew, while the Jam Project are a tap dance group. This should be interesting. The Bradas had create agility and clever tricks. The tappers were good, but a little odd with their dad rock musical choices. It’s not 1977 fellas.
The Bradas – They up their game even higher, with effortless tricks and prop game. When they whip out those rods from nowhere? What the heck. Derek says the prop work paid off. “So many things could have gone wrong!” Ne-Yo had suggested they add more dancing to their routine–he’s happy they took his note. Jlo is NOT OVER IT. “Amazing,” she says. Ne-Yo – 90 Jlo – 90 – Derek – 89 – Total – 89.7 – WINNER
The Jam Project – This time they dance to a James Brown’s “I Feel Good.” I think they try too hard to be masculine. Eh. I’m not feeling this. Although it’s cute when they toss a prop out to The Bradas (The Bradas had thrown a tap move into their routine.) Derek loved everything about it–clean and crisp he says. Ne-Yo is impressed by how in sync they were. Jlo calls it dynamic and entertaining. She feels they really stepped it up. Ne-Yo – 86 Jlo – 88 – Derek – 91 – Total – 88.3 – ELIMINATED
Eva Igo (95) vs Avery & Marcus (84) – Junior – Eva came in second place in season 1. So this Duel is probably already decided. The duo are a mix of ballet and contemporary. Also, Eva performs well under pressure, Avery & Marcus suffered from nerves during the Qualifiers.
Eva Igo – She’s a talented young dancer, but she never changes it up. This routine is very similar to stuff she’s done in the past, and she hasn’t really stepped it up. “You always give me chills,” says Derek. He’d like to see more structure in her steps, though, Ne-Yo calls her a power house. “I feel like I’ve seen this before,” Ne-Yo says. YEP. That’s the problem with her. Jlo calls her “fearless.” I call her “OVERRATED.” Ne-Yo – 94 Jlo – 91 – Derek – 91 – Total – 92 – ELIMINATED
Avery & Marcus – Eva is looking really nervous, because this is really good. The choreography is full of surprises. The maturity is really impressive. I think they should win. Derek calls them innovative and creative, “Elegant and beautiful.” He loves they way they fuse ballet and contemporary. Ne-Yo loved that each got their moments to shine. Jlo complimented them on getting rid of the nerves. She advises them to pay attention to the moments in between. Ne-Yo – 95 Jlo – 93 – Derek – 92 – Total – 93.3 – WINNER
Before the last matchup I was thinking about how obvious the outcomes were for every duel–even before the dancers took the stage. There was very little suspense until the last performance. Eva was expected to go far this season. Maybe even win this time. But in order to compete she needed to bring something fresh to the game and she did not. Avery & Marcus on the other hand were hungrier, smarter and more creative.
Next week–the first PERFECT score in WOD history.