Hey WOD fans…
We have finally arrived at the next phase of the competition- the cut! Tonight, Derek Hough will mentor the upper division and former host Jenna Dewan returns to mentor the junior teams. Only the three highest scoring routines will advance to the divisional finals.
And with no redemption in play, those scores from judges Jennifer, Ne-Yo, and Derek are so very important. Twelve acts enter but only six will make it through. Will any surprise acts make it or will the usual higher scoring acts advance easily? Let’s get this started!
We begin with the upper division tonight, mentored by Derek Hough.
Jonathan Y Jorge
Derek counsels them that the excitement needs to be maintained, especially in the side by side moments. He loves the tricks but wants them to make sure the entire routine is just as exciting. More of the same from these two to be honest. To their credit, they did up the energy where I didn’t see any lack of it toward the middle or end of the routine but I also didn’t see anything that they haven’t previously done for us. Those same tricks and Latin ballroom flare was on display and if you liked them previously, then you enjoyed this. But I don’t think they did anything to last through the five acts that have to go after them.
Derek was a little concerned about the tricks but they nailed them. Jennifer thinks they went for it in terms of the difficulty. She thinks they are a great dynamic pair and she saw some improved polish but still thinks they need refinement. Derek disagrees. Ne-Yo loves the partnership and tricks but didn’t think the side by side was strong.
Derion & Madison
They left the touring company they currently dance for in order to be in the competition. This show is more important to them than consistent work right now. Derek wants something that takes his breath away. He wants them to have faith in their choices. That was an absolutely beautiful routine. I love the push and pull of the dance. It had chemistry through the roof. And they ooze a quality of movement that is rarely seen. Good song choice as well which resulted in great musicality.
Derek marvels at the rawness and realness. Jennifer loves how sharp Madison is when she dances. Ne-Yo notes how difficult the moves were, especially doing them slowly. Derek says they give him the moments by the looks and feelings during the dance.
They have prepared a more intense routine and it also includes a prop (a cape). Derek works with them on how to make the cape work strong. That was so cool visually. I love that they did something entirely different from their last performance. Great use of the cape as well as I saw some fine Paso Doble steps in their. They are definitely a unique and memorable pairing and they continue to surprise.
Ne-You loved the energy. He just wanted a little more attack on the movements. He doesn’t think this is the best he has seen of them. Jennifer disagrees and believes it was a super strong routine. Derek loves the innovation and how they blur the lines of their style. He does say that he feels the music got a little bigger than the dancing in points.
Yikes. From this point forward, after each performance, someone will be going home.
She wants to show the judges she deserves to be here after winning redemption. Derek tells her to rework the ending and he wants to see her- not just the moves. Without redemption, Briar knows she has to show some vulnerability. Wow. So strong. Some of the moves just make your jaw drop. She definitely took Derek’s note and we saw her in this dance and she absolutely brought out a vulnerable side. The effortless way she just flies on the stage and even lands on her knees is so stunning. She makes it look so damn easy.
Jennifer had tears in her eyes by the end. She calls it a dynamic and powerful routine. Derek can’t believe they almost lost her without redemption. Ne-Yo sees a night and day different in the emotional connection. Ne-Yo says she might be the total package.
And with that score, Jonathan Y Jorge have been eliminated.
They are so excited to be the first tap dancers in the cut. The dance is their story. Derek wants them to clarify their story and make it have more of an impact. He wants them to nail the story. Well, Derek didn’t need to be worried about the story. It was clear as day. I loved the battle of showmanship with them. Nice solos. Nice back and forth trying to one up the other. And when they were together, great sync tapping with some quiet moments in the music so you could hear the steps. This score is going to be very interesting.
Jennifer thinks they are one of the best tap acts ever on the show. Derek loved the space in the music. Ne-Yo thought the concept was great. He calls it technically challenging but feels it got a little muddy. He thinks it might have been over complicated. Jennifer disagrees. She got some goosies in parts.
That score is not enough to overtake All Ready, and the D’angelo Brothers have been eliminated. I feel like Ne-Yo just doesn’t like tap as a genre. He always has issues with it and his score was really the reason they were just eliminated.
He has a balloon as a prop for this routine. It is literal and represents a heart. He wants to show popping can tell a story. Derek approves of the idea. The performance will show what would happen if he lost his heart (his wife). Derek wants him to tap into more authentic emotion. Hmm. That was a risky choice. On one hand, it was nice to see him do something different. However, the simplistic nature of the routine pales in comparison to what we have seen already tonight. He had to do something unique or the routine would look like a copy of his prior ones but I don’t think this particular choice did him a huge favor.
Derek got emotional. Ne-Yo says this dance style is not known for emotions. Jennifer calls him a seasoned performer. She calls it beautiful and says it worked amazingly. Derek gives him props for the vulnerability. Ne-Yo tells him he has a realistic shot at the million dollars.
Well, that clearly paid off more than I thought it would. Or more than I thought it deserved. Dance can really be subjective at times. And with that score, All Ready is eliminated.
The final three in the upper division is:
1. Briar Nolet
2. Poppin John
3. Derion & Madison
We move on to the junior teams now, mentored by Jenna Dewan.
The routine will represent the struggles in life. Jenna notes some moments weren’t as full of impact as it needs to be. She gives them some notes on how to achieve that. So good. The one take away I got from it that impressed me most was the cleanliness. It was truly like watching one dancer. Everything was so precise. The slow movement in parts really added to the overall aesthetic. Great routine.
Ne-Yo says they just bodied that. Jennifer says they were feeling one another’s energy. Derek feels like they don’t know how good they are. Jennifer says they smashed it. Ne-Yo marveled at how it was done without tricks or flips. Derek says the clarity in the choreography is great.
Damn, I did not expect the scores to be that high. They were fantastic but I thought the judges would score lower to give others a shot. Well deserved and that is going to be super hard to come close to for the other acts.
The theme is bouncing back via a basketball theme. Jenna says the prop needs to be perfect or they will lose points. She doesn’t want them to lose because they mess up the prop. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see the entire routine. From what they did show, this crew seemed to be doing some good stuff with ample use of the prop and no glaring issues. It is hard for me to judge because I would have rather seen it all from start to finish.
Ne-Yo says he loved the theme but the adrenaline made them frantic. Jennifer agrees and thinks they need control.
The piece is about girl power. Jenna wants them to thrash when the music changes. She loves the idea of the dance and believes if they land the emotion, they have a great shot. Again, we do not get the joy of seeing the entire routine and that sucks because it looked fierce. The portion they did air showed some great power and cool moves that definitely gave me that girl power vibe.
Derek thought it was amazing. Jennifer felt like there was a disconnect and she found herself confused. Ne-Yo feels like too much was going on and he missed something.
Damn. They totally rushed through those last two routines. Starting now, after each upcoming dance, someone will be going home. Hey show…about how less time with the judges and more with the acts? We get it- they are family, they have a lot of fun, and it is super cool for them to be there to judge. Can we move on?
The Crazy 8’s
This is the group with the young girl who has selective mutism. The piece they are doing is about how that girl is growing so much in the competition. Jenna feels the end felt a little disjointed. She wants them together at the end. Quite pretty. It was definitely a showcase for the little one and she took on a lot during the dance and did well. Some parts were a little messy though and I feel like a couple more hours practice could have fixed that. It didn’t lessen the overall impact but it would have helped. All in all, it was a pretty dance and it gave the spotlight to a deserving person.
Derek calls them beasts. Jennifer can’t believe the things they do. Derek thinks some of the transitions need work. Jennifer thinks it has a dance team mentality and they need to get out of that. Ne-Yo marvels at the level of flexibility and control. Jennifer tells little Naia to be proud as she was the star of the piece.
And with that score, Elektro Crew has been eliminated from the competition. Ugh. Sucks to see the little ones in tears. They should all be so proud of their accomplishments on this show.
Get Down District
Jenna wants more clarity in the routine. They are nervous because they are on the bottom of the score board. Again, the show opts to cut the routine and only show us a portion. And even a smaller portion that the previous two edited routines. Hard to say much of anything except they did a lot of whacking and it looked like they were having a blast.
Derek thinks it was too elementary. Ne-Yo agrees and feels it puts them in the party box. Jennifer notes how it took her back to the fly girls.
That score is not good enough and Get Down District has been eliminated.
These are the redemption round winner. Jenna wants to see the same fire as she saw during redemption. They are planning on doing voguing to surprise the judges. Jenna just tells them to have the right vogue attitude. She says be careful of the smiles because this isn’t like a ballroom routine. Jenna is really helping them get the attitude down. YES. YES. YES. I mean, come on. They danced to Madonna and they did not disappoint. Love the little ballroom mix in with the vogue theme too. So much attitude. One of, if not, my favorite routine of the night.
Ne-Yo says they looked the part and put on a show. Jennifer says even though they are a Latin group, it felt really diversified. She says they dance beautiful. She believes it is their best routine thus far. Derek marveled at the partner work and choreography. Ne-Yo says it looked like something you would pay to see. He does note that since they are wearing white gloves, some out of sync moments showeed.
And that high score means JDC is eliminated.
The final three in the junior teams is:
2. Dancetown Divas
3. The Crazy 8’s
I am SHOCKED that the three teams that made it were the exact three teams that the show aired the full routines of. LOL. Sarcasm intended. The show did such a good job with the editing for the duels but I was disappointed with the editing tonight in the second hour. We saw everything in the upper division but they messed up with the junior teams.
Next week, the juniors and upper teams take the stage. Ne-Yo and Jennifer will mentor. I hope y’all enjoyed tonight’s show and I will show you in one week’s time. :D