Hey WOD fans…
Tonight, we have arrived at the divisional finals! The top three from each division will go head to head to see which ONE will make it to the world final. Only four acts can get there and twelve are competing for those coveted spots. Will your favorite from each group make it? Let’s get to the competition…
This season, the judges can save ONE eliminated act from any division to go to the world final, meaning FIVE acts will be competing next week for the million dollars!
We begin tonight with the upper division.
Derion & Madison
Ne-Yo wants more moments that shows how ridiculously strong they are together. He wants them to find a way to innovate. They are working on a difficult ending move. That was a cool routine. Very different from anything we have seen from these two. It was unique and a little weird, which is a good thing. They still showed what kind of dancers they are, from the power moves to the stunning musicality. However, the ending move was a mess and I worry that they took a risk too big with the actual dance and didn’t tell enough of a story for the judges to be adequately satisfied. Sometimes risks pay off and sometimes they don’t.
The judges try to make Madison feel better about missing the last move. Ne-Yo thought it was good that it had a beginning, middle, and end. Ne-Yo likes that they showed joy can be competitive. Jennifer feels it was a very difficult routine. She thinks maybe they challenged themselves with one too many things.
Ne-Yo wants his vocabulary of movement to be elevated now. He wants something the judges didn’t see coming. John is ready to win this show and buy a house and start a family with his wife. He thinks this round could change everything. More of the same from John in terms of his popping moves but a different narrative here which was nice to see. It was kind of like a Matrix thing for me and it was cool to watch. He is crazy talented in what he does and at this point, it is purely subjective as to whether you feel his style is worth awarding a million dollars too and whether it is competitive with the other dancers.
Derek feels it was his best routine of the season. Jennifer says John takes her back to her childhood but he does it at a high level. Ne-Yo feels he added elements to what he does. Jennifer calls it a great routine.
Ne-Yo doesn’t want her to pack the routine with too much gymnastics. He wants her to marry the technique with the acrobatics. Briar feels like she fought really hard to get here and wants to continue. That was really good. She was all dressed up like Britney Spears, dancing to a Brit song, and looking very fierce throughout. It was the most clear routine we have seen so far in terms of story and she went out there and gave it her all. She also took Ne-Yo’s mentoring to heart and incorporated enough technical aspects without overpowering us with the athleticism. Very good job.
Ne-Yo feels her growth is ridiculous. Jennifer has learned that Briar thrives with pressure. Derek thinks it had everything in it and was so seamless. Jennifer wanted a little more dancing in parts.
Derion & Madison
Briar Nolet has won the upper division and will move on to the world final. We will see if Poppin John gets the wildcard later on tonight.
We move on to the junior team division now.
The Crazy 8’s
The story of this piece if about wishing. One of the girls wishes that Naia would speak to her. Remember that Naia is the girl with selective mutism. Jennifer wants them to have a beginning, middle, and an end. Really strong routine. For the first time tonight, I saw these girls really tap into their emotions while dancing and it didn’t look like just a performance out of a dancing school. Not to say they weren’t special before but it adds something to the routine when it looks as though it is coming from the heart and not just a place of practiced steps.
Derek says they have been consistent throughout. Jennifer notes how Naia just spoke to the girl for the first time. The cynic in me doubts she has never spoken to her before but let’s go with it for the sake of the show. LOL. She thought the execution was beautiful. Ne-Yo calls them little powerhouses. Jennifer says the most powerful thing was how the two girls came together at the routine’s conclusion. Derek says they make him excited for the future of dance.
Jennifer needs them to pepper the routine with other things besides what they do normally. She thinks they can with the division so she cautions them not to allow an upset. Oh my goodness. That was so good. So good. The synchronicity is crazy. Loved the boxing/fight theme. They included so much in that including some great wacking. It was the full package of choreography and entertainment and technical dancing with swagger. Really fire. One of the strongest routines tonight we have seen.
Ne-Yo says very few even come close to their synchronicity. Jennifer notes some of the best stuff in the routine including the breaking legs illusion. Derek believes the theme was appropriate.
They are showing girl power in this routine and how boys aren’t needed for ballroom. Jennifer isn’t getting a powerful moment yet and wants to. She tells them to have a moment where we feel the power of who they are. That was good. They took the girl power theme and ran straight with it. From the costumes to the song. It had elements of ballroom which was done very well and showed good girl/girl partnering. I’m not sure the stuff outside the ballroom material was really out of this world special but everything was done with purpose here and they had a clear vision which was very well executed. The scoring is going to be very tough here.
Derek feels like it was their best routine so far. Ne-Yo says they epitomize girl power. Jennifer is very proud of them. She sees them growing up empowered and unafraid. She notes girls can do anything. They are all crying, including Jennifer.
The Crazy 8’s
Vpeepz have won the junior team division and will move on to the world final. Dancetown Divas could earn the wildcard spot later.
Time for the junior division.
Ellie & Ava
The piece is about how you don’t know what the people who you are closest to are going through. Derek encourages them to give names to their anxieties and other troubles and act it out so they can take control of it. Aww, that was sweet of Derek to be so comforting. That was stunningly beautiful. I absolutely loved the way the choreography mirrored the music there. Such strength in their movements, always matching, and always leaning and depending on one another. They really shined in that both technically and emotionally.
Jennifer found it so moving and says it was perfect. She can’t believe how perfect it was. Derek says they had no wobbles and every move is finished. He is in shock right now. Ne-Yo calls them graceful and flawless. Jennifer says it was poetry in motion and makes her emotional.
Julian & Charlize
Derek wants them to find a moment to bring it down. He doesn’t want them hitting every beat because it won’t be special anymore. Hmm. That was…underwhelming. I’m not sure Julian choreographed a winning routine there. They had some sync issues and while fun to watch, it didn’t really do much for me. It was just there. I think they dropped the ball stepping up here and it will cost them the division.
Jennifer says they are a clinic in musicality. She compliments Julian’s choreography. Derek loves the textures in the dancing. Derek says it was so good.
Kayla wants to show something different. Derek tells her to take a simple move and repeat it because it creates a suspenseful moment. That was really solid. When it switched into the second gear toward the middle, I personally had goosebumps. Kayla is an incredible ballerina but her true star quality comes when she is able to mix it with contemporary moves that take your breath away. Granted, a lot of this looked like her last routine when she also had to mirror elegance with power but it still awesome to watch.
All the judges mention her gracefulness. Jennifer calls it beautiful. Derek says every move is stunning.
Damn. The producers really raced through this division, only showing short mentoring sessions and short judge comments. It makes sense though as the juniors haven’t really turned out like they have in past seasons. This season is being owned by the uppers.
Julian & Charlize
Ellie & Ava
Ellie & Ava have won the junior division and will move on to the world final. Kayla Mak has a great shot at the wildcard with her score, as does Julian & Charlize.
Finally tonight, the upper team division. And they are being mentored by dance superstar Twitch.
Twitch wants them to remind people what they do. He calls them a beast together. The team notes they overcame a lot of struggles. One suffers from a rare disease. His parents even apologized for not giving him a healthy body. He takes medicine so he can dance. The team name means “home” because to them, dancing and being a team is home. As per usual, an amazing routine from these guys. The spins and B-boy moves remain so impressive. I didn’t see anything that they did here which was new and unique which could be an issue since two other teams have to go but for what they do- they are in a class by themselves.
Derek calls them world class B-boys and dancers. Jennifer says they do amazing things upside down. Derek says the control is miraculous. Ne-Yo says they didn’t have as many pictures in there and he missed that. Derek agrees and says it wasn’t their best performance.
The story is about Zack walking out on a family with one of the girls representing a daughter. They are using a door prop. Twitch has nothing for the choreography but he does note that he wants to feel more emotion. He was watching it but not feeling it. He counsels them by telling his own story. Zack learned well from being on So You Think You Can Dance. I don’t say that as a knock but he knows that pieces like that- with a door prop and emotion and a lot of contemporary really does well with audiences. This was very moving and it was one of those dances that goes beyond just technicality. This is an incredible tough division as the Heima are amazing and we still have the Kings to go.
Derek says he is grateful to be a part of this show to see moments like that. He calls it pure art. He marvels at the emotion and he felt every bit of it. Jennifer says the ones in white (the angels) were perfectly in-sync. She says Zack and Ashley are two of the best contemporary dancers they have ever had. Ne-Yo notes he has never gotten goosies until today. Ne-Yo’s first goosies. Ne-Yo says “that was perfect.”
Yep. Emotional pieces like that work. You could tell me it was choreographed by Travis Wall and I would believe it.
They are playing an Indian mythological character. Twitch says the tricks are death-defying. He wants them to spend time on the entire performance instead of transitioning from trick to trick. He says they don’t have everything together yet. One of the dancers got injured in rehearsal. He still plans on dancing though. Wow. He really hurt himself yet he will power through. These guys are just INSANE. Every single time they perform, it is brand new and totally amazing. I can’t even adequately put into words how good they are. They were literally drop kicking one another on one another’s shoulders during that. CRAZINESS. And they remember to dance in between the tricks. And dance well too. They just bring a certain fire and energy totally unique to them to each dance. Each routine is like a show at a stadium that we are paying to watch. Like damn.
Jennifer calls it out of this world. She says they pushed the tricks to another level. Ne-Yo says they have such an identity. Derek mentions all the cool moments during the dance. Jennifer notes they are the full package and Ne-Yo thanks them for making their job so hard.
…and the injured dancer leaves in a wheelchair. He is really in pain. Scores and wildcard pick coming up.
The Kings have won the upper team division and will move on to the world final.
I feel like Unity LA is going to get that wildcard spot. Not just for the score but it seems like the judges had a real hard time scoring the last two acts considering all those perfect one hundreds. Some of the other acts that did a bang up job previously faltered a little tonight, while Unity LA stepped up in a big way and just lost out to a monster group.
OOO. The show cuts away right as the judges deliberate on who gets that wildcard spot. My money is on Unity LA but we will all find out in one week’s time.
For now, the final FOUR heading into the world final are:
Ellie & Ava
One more will join those four and compete for the million dollar prize in our grand finale. I hope you guys join me for the all the fun in seven days. :D