Hey WOD fans…
Welcome to week two of the cut! Tonight, the upper teams and the juniors will take the stage. Ne-Yo and Jennifer Lopez will help mentor and once again, when all is said and done, only three from each division will advance to next week’s divisional finals.
We begin tonight with the junior division, mentored by Jennifer Lopez.
The dance is about them dancing in space as half-humans, half-robots. They also have a big surprise planned. Jennifer wants more dynamics because she has seen similar stuff from them. I guess the big surprise was starting behind the judges? Okay. Well, it was entertaining and they took the dancing in space theme to heart for sure. Love the comedic way they attack all their routines. I’m just not sure it is really going to be super competitive when five other routines are on display tonight. They have a memorable quality for sure but will it be enough to take them all the way?
Derek says they always deliver on entertainment. Jennifer felt like were dancing in space and it really came together. Ne-Yo says they are becoming a favorite of his. He feels they earned the funny. Derek feels the concept and costumes were better than the routine itself. Ne-Yo would still pay money to come see it.
Hmm. I’m more with Derek on that than the others. A good score regardless and it will be interesting to see how it holds up against the others.
This piece is about having something there you adore who lifts you up. In this case, it is Lauren’s mother. Jennifer wants her to go a couple of layers deeper. She needs her to become vulnerable and not act it but actually feel and do it. A nice emotional piece. Honestly, besides the music choice, I really wasn’t getting the vibe that Lauren was explaining in her rehearsal package. That or it was lost on me. Also, and surprisingly, I saw a few wobbles in her dancing. It was especially evident in her turns. Not Lauren’s strongest performance on this show.
Jennifer loved watching it go from rehearsal to what it was now. Derek thinks her maturity and quality of movement are beyond her years. Ne-Yo says the strongest moments were almost when Lauren wasn’t dancing. Derek mentions the wobbly moments.
Decent score but definitely lower than expected from Lauren. So far though, she is in first.
They are planning an aggressive and darker routine. Jennifer tells them it feels very one-note right now. There was a lot of good stuff in there and good use of the table. We’ve seen table props used before on so many shows but they did their thing. Of course, I have to mention that one dancer nearly fell off the table after a flip, which was an unfortunate and glaring issue. Also, despite the entertainment value, nothing in that routine stood out as truly amazing or new.
Derek loved they use the prop throughout. Jennifer feels the choreography needed to build.
Moving 4ward is currently in third place and from now on, after every performance, someone will leave the competition.
Julian & Charlize
The story is that Julian is trying to impress Charlize but she is really playing hard to get. Jennifer wants to make sure the cat and mouse game of the dance is all the way there- not just touching on it. That was a really strong number and the best junior routine of the night so far. Such good musicality and Julian is a master choreographer. He knows how to really drive home the steps and Charlize is his perfect partner. I love that they took a very overdone concept and made it feel fresh and new. Good stuff.
Derek calls it great. He feels like he saw the choreography more than the dancing though. Jennifer calls it an amazing routine. She loved the narrative. She says it had a beginning, middle, and end. Ne-Yo feels he almost got lost in it but that doesn’t take away from it being danced beautifully.
As they take first place (and a guaranteed spot in the divisional finals), Moving 4ward have been eliminated from the competition.
She won redemption to get to the cut. She says this piece is more powerful. It is about liberation from her insecurities. Jennifer says she can’t hold back in the strength department. She wants more dynamics in seeing her be a soft flower and an animal. Nice. She absolutely took Jennifer’s mentoring to heart. Loved how she went from soft, angelic ballerina dancing to hard hitting contemporary movements. If anything, I would have liked to see her go even harder at times. But nitpicking aside, it was a really strong number danced effortlessly.
Derek says that shows how ballet can compete on this show. Jennifer says it was beautiful to watch her tap into the attack. Derek loves the grace. Ne-Yo says there is an edge to what she does. Derek calls her ridiculous.
She takes first and Funkanomety has just been eliminated.
The last routine in the junior division tonight is Ellie & Ava
They want to show a different side tonight. The story is about never giving up and staking their claim. Jennifer didn’t get it at all during rehearsal. The dance is being dedicated to their grandpa. Jennifer wants the story to be clear. They changed the entire dance after the mentoring session, which is a huge risk. So good. Loved that these two showed off a different side as compared to their last two moments on the stage. They were so together during this- doing athletic and stunning moves that brought out a ferocious side that we haven’t seen. Whatever the choreography was before this, I am glad they changed last minute so we could see this. Really strong number.
Ne-Yo says the power behind it was real. He loved how in character it was. Jennifer feels the tone was perfect. She notes that they pulled it together after mentoring.
Damn. A first place finish for them and that means Lauren Yakima has been eliminated.
The final three in the junior division is:
1. Ellie & Ava
2. Kayla Mak
3. Julian & Charlize
Time for the upper teams, mentored by Ne-Yo.
They made it here via redemption. The piece is very unfinished right now. Ne-Yo wants them to show the world that they belong and what they are capable of. That was fun. A whole lot of cool tricks in there. And they sustained their sync and harnessed the energy into a very memorable routine. I’m not sure it had any clear narrative but it didn’t really need one. It was just fun to watch and a nice showcase piece for them.
Ne-Yo says they found their confidence. Jennifer says they nailed the trick. Derek mentions a few tricks that he loved. Jennifer notes some of the spacing was a bit off. Derek thinks some of the dancing in between the tricks dropped in energy but he says it was really good.
They are mixing robotics and dubstep with Indian influences. Ne-Yo has no idea what it is supposed to look like but he is intrigued. He tells them to streamline it a little so he doesn’t miss anything during the routine. OH MY GOODNESS. I am in awe of these guys. Each and every time they have performed, they have done something completely different and mastered it. The level of excellence in both the tricks and dancing is off the charts. The musicality, cleanliness, transitions…. I mean all of it…. it is just one big bowl of WOW.
Ne-Yo says it was just enough comedy and it made sense. Jennifer was concerned at the beginning. Derek agreed and says when it got going, it blew them away. Jennifer and Derek go through some of the more crazy moments of the dance. Jennifer says it cannot be compared to anyone else. She loves the flavors.
Yeah, they are in first, of course. A very well deserved score.
The concept is about growing older, especially when it comes to dancers. Ne-Yo tells them to fix the stuff with the prop (a cane). He wants it to not look messy due to a prop. Interesting. That seemed very short? They went all in with the prop and I am pleased by the conviction to stick to a theme and really sell out. But it wasn’t as impressive overall as their previous routines. I don’t think the prop hindered them but just the overall experience for me wasn’t as dynamic as it could have been. I’m feeling… a little confused.
Derek says they did a phenomenal job with the prop. Jennifer thought it was super creative but they need to be careful not to be too abstract.
They are in second at the moment and from here on out, someone will be exiting the competition after each dance.
Fuego Dance Crew
Ne-Yo mentors them on making some moves have fire. He wants them to turn up the sexy. They plan on directing their sex appeal to Jennifer. LOL. Well, the first word that comes to my mind is corny. I mean, it was like a boyband doing a music video. I get the idea and they are good dancers but it is just one big cheese fest with the attempts at being overly sexy and bringing out that Latin charm. A bit trying too hard I would say.
Derek appreciated they fixed the wave. Ne-Yo feels like they listened to his mentoring. Jennifer says this round is tough and she feels like they have improved but it is elementary. Derek feels the routine needed some more gasoline. Jennifer notes some good moments. Derek doesn’t feel it was strong enough for this stage.
That score is not enough and Fuego Dance Crew has been eliminated.
The piece is centered around gun violence. They want to dance for something they believe in. Ne-Yo counsels them to be careful of abandonment versus control. It still has to look like a proper dance despite being emotional. Really solid. A great piece based on theme. Nothing there was shocking in terms of dance and we have seen it all before but they really did a great job of combining dance skill with emotion. It also looked so very pretty to see them in red all in sync together. It was a piece based on more than just dance and they excelled with it.
Derek found it very powerful. He was moved tremendously. Derek feels a few moments weren’t together and Ne-Yo agrees. He thinks the message is important. Jennifer loves using art to express things. She feels the piece could have been stronger. The execution wasn’t there in terms of the dancing. She didn’t get the narrative clearly.
After those harsh critiques, I though the score would be lower. They make it into third place for now and Exiles have been eliminated.
No masks this time. They want to show their true selves. Ne-Yo says maybe they should start with the masks and then take them off. One of the dancers speaks of some facial paralysis he was born with. Oh, so a bit of a backstory as to why this group takes their masks so seriously. Controlled chaos is what I would call that. Such impressive B-boy moves. The head spinning is just insane. But beyond that, these guys have an uncanny ability to make it all look so easy despite about three hundred things going on at once. And it never seems sloppy and my eyes never wonder where to look. Very glad they went without masks as well.
Jennifer calls them explosive and exciting. She loves that they know what they are. Derek loves the spinning. Ne-Yo says they took a major risk and it was worth it. He loves the smiles and the personality.
That score earns them a tied score for first place and Radiance has been eliminated.
The final three in the upper teams division is:
1/2. The Kings/The Heima
3. Unity LA
Next week, it is the divisional final. Only one winner from each division will head into the world finale, also known as the season finale in two weeks.
Tonight’s episode was much better in terms of editing. No racing through routines like last week. But I do need to say that the juniors this season (both the teams and the regular juniors) are underwhelming as compared to seasons past. I feel like someone from either the uppers or the upper teams will take the prize. The little ones have not brought it like we have seen previously on this show.
See y’all next week. :D