Tonight, it’s the last of the World of Dance season 2 Duels. Jennifer Lopez, Derek Hough and NE-YO are back on the judges panel, while Jenna Dewan serves as host.
In this round one, thirty acts face the deepest and most intense cut of the season. The judges will score each act’s performance based on their artistry, precision and athleticism. Only the top three highest-scoring acts from each division will move on to the Divisional Final and be one step closer to winning a grand prize of $1 million.
Special guest mentors include actress, dancer, singer and Emmy Award-winning choreographer Julianne Hough, who will be working with her brother, judge Derek Hough, mentoring the Upper division and Tony Award winner Savion Glover, who will collaborate with judge Jennifer Lopez, mentoring the Junior Team division. TV-PG
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 Junior teams are first. Jennifer Lopez and guest Savion Glover will mentor the acts.
Flip – Savion says as an ensemble, they have a role, “You have to bring me in.” Jennifer critiques the transitions, calling them “bumpy.” This wakking troupe is really precise. They bring something different. Derek loved the intro. Ne-yo found it entertaining, energetic. Jlo says it came up 100% from the beginning – Ne-Yo – 87 Jlo – 88 Derek – 90 Total – 88.3
Expressenz – They are just small town girls from Indiana. “Everytime you practice or rehearse it has to be like a performance,” says Jlo. Oh these are the girls who pirouette over and over again. Like, that’s their thing. Ne-Yo loved the whimsical fantasy vibe. He felt maybe the spins were too long. Jlo says “stick with your signature!” She likes the turns. Jlo felt that they took her notes. Derek loves their technique. – Ne-Yo – 86 Jlo – 87 Derek – 88 Total – 87
The Pulse – The group is dancing a paso doble and Jlo urges them to dance with passion. We get a quick look at their routine. The judges are fairly complimentary but they score an 88.
The Lab – This group was cut at this stage last season. Savion calls their piece “fabulous.” Oh. The routine is about one of the dancers. She’s crying. She doesn’t reveal what it is, but we can imagine. And this group ain’t going nowhere. The emotional routine ends with hugging and crying. The emotion and love sets the group apart says Jlo. Derek is now crying. “You need people around you to support and love you.” Ne-Yo says, “There’s nothing better than real emotion.” Ne-Yo – 100 Jlo – 97 Derek – 98 Total – 98.3 That high score is based on 100% backstory. Expressenz are eliminated
Quad Squad – These young gals are all about core strength. No dainty flowers they. The group incorporates black lights and lasers into the routine. Jlo says it felt powerful in moments, but the lasers were distracting. – 86 – Quad Squad is eliminated.
The Rock Company – They got to the duals with the highest score, but barely made it through the duels. The group has to have a clear story, says Jlo. “Beginning, middle and end,” says Savion. The mostly all girl contemporary group features one boy, who is the center of this routine. A compelling routine, The Rock Company is not going home. Jlo calls it “poetic and beautiful.” She’s happy they took her notes. Derek says, “You excite me about the future.” Ne-Yo calls it “technically perfect.” Ne-Yo – 93 Jlo – 93 Derek – 95 Total – 93.7 – The Pulse is eliminated.
Fabulous Sisters – This Japan based group’s routines so far have been compelling. Jlo says, through the interpreter, that the piece needs a ton of work, though. These girls are pretty fierce. I hope they move on. Ne-Yo loves the way they turn elementary moves into something amazing. Jlo says, “Your formation went up so much.” Derek compliments the choreography. THANK YOU they say in unison after every compliment. Cute. Ne-Yo – 94 Jlo – 97 Derek – 96 Total – 96.3 – The Flip are eliminated.
The Upper Division is next. Derek Hough and his sister Julianne Hough will mentor the division.
Junior Team Division
Michael Dameski – A contemporary dancer, Michael won SYTYCD in Australia. His routine is a dedication to his grandparents. It’s tough, they are elderly and frail and he’s so far away in LA. Derek and Julianne tell Michael to picture his grandparents as he moves. His control is incredible. Jlo says “I just didn’t know what was coming next!” Derek calls him an incredible dancer and compliments the way he integrates acrobatics. And he took his notes on connecting. Ne-Yo felt the power and emotion. Ne-Yo – 91 Jlo – 95 Derek – 93 Total – 93
DNA – This married ballroom couple were eliminated at the Duels last year. Redemption!. Hm. I didn’t think they deserved to move on. I bet, at this point, the show is done with them. Derek and Julianne are FULL of critiques. Jlo felt a real surrender and trust between them. Ne-Yo calls the routine “elegant.” Derek calls it “solid.” – Ne-Yo – 90 Jlo – 89 Derek – 89 Total – 89.3 Hm. They might squeak through. But the top 3 will likely all score in the 90s. Maybe the last to be eliminated?
Alisa & Joseph – This hip hop couple are from Estonia. They’ve been criticized for being a bit “lightweight.” They perform a whimsical style of lyrical hip hop which is fun to watch. But this tropical themed choreography doesn’t step up from last time, so they are toast. – 86.3
BDash & Konkrete – Krumping duo. They scored in the 90s during the Duels. The two talk about growing up in Compton. They practiced wherever they could. The duo work on their transitions with Derek and Julianne. Likable, and really clever use of props. Derek is immediately on his feet. Jlo calls the concept “amazing.” Derek loves their production. “You take us on a journey,” he says. But it took a little too long to get to the dancing. Ne-Yo says the meld storytelling and dancing very well. Ne-Yo – 92 Jlo – 91 Derek – 90 Total – 91 – Alisa & Joseph are Eliminated
Marinspired – One of the dancers in this bold male duo talks about being bullied after coming out as gay at 13. The routine, which tells the story of a romantic couple, features strong lifts and a kiss in the middle. If audience voting were involved, they would have been gone at the Qualifiers. Jlo calls it a “clumsy man thing.” She didn’t get the story, but loved the dancing. It was Derek’s favorite so far. Ne-Yo notes they are unique in the competition. Ne-Yo – 88 Jlo – 87 Derek – 88 Total – 87.7 – Marinspired are eliminated. Hm. Prefer them to the ballroom dancers DNA, but they would have been eliminated eventually in any case.
Ashley & Zach – They have an advantage. Both were on Derek and Julianne’s tour. The routine is dedicated to Zach’s best friend who passed away. Still, Derek feels there is something missing in the piece. Oh so much crying. I see where this is going. OH. Fix You is the music. Game over. Derek calls it “stunning.” Ne-Yo says, “This is a prime example of what real emotion looks like.” Jlo felt the difficulty in the struggle. Ne-Yo – 90 Jlo – 91 Derek – 93 Total – 91.3 – DNA is Eliminated. Not eliminated last, as I predicted, but next to last.
Karen Y Ricardo – Whoa. They scored a 98.3 in the duels. The routine will honor their 15 year partnership. Derek calls the dance kind of a risk, because a slow routine shows weaknesses. Wow. The breast grab. This routine is super sensual. Yeah. No way are these two leaving the competition. Those tricks. He nearly smashed her head on the floor. The judges are on their feet. Jlo calls it “insane.” Derek says, “You guys were hotter than the fire behind you.” Ne-Yo appreciated the slower pace. Ne-Yo – 100 Jlo – 99 Derek – 98 Total – 99 – BDash & Konkrete are Eliminated – Aw. After their elimination, BDash & Konkrete are both in tears. Their scores were good, but not quite good enough.
The performance order feels predicated on the judges knowing how they will score the acts ahead of time. For instance, I imagine the panel watching rehearsals and deciding who will go and who will stay? Also, for all the effort put into “scoring” routines as if it were a professional competition? Nah. WOD is like any other reality show. Acts that bring a sobby backstory have a better chance. Additionally–watching the acts waiting backstage to see if they will be knocked out of the competition by the performing act is brutal!
The Lab – 98.3
Fabulous Sisters – 96.3
The Rock Company – 93.7
Expressionz – 87
Quad Squad – 86
The Pulse – 88
Flip – 88.3
Karen Y Ricardo – 99
Michael Dameski – 93
Ashley & Zach – 91.3
Alisa & Joseph – 86.3
Marinspired – 87.7
DNA – 89.3
BDash & Konkrete – 91