Contemporary dancer Michael Dameski had to sit in suspense on “World of Dance.” During the Cut he was one of seven acts competing for just three slots in the Upper Division Final. Not only that, he was the only soloist competing against six duos. And if that wasn’t enough pressure, he had to go first, setting a standard and hoping it would hold up through the rest of the round. What did you think of his performance? Watch it above, and vote in our poll at the bottom of this post to let us know if you think he deserves to win the Upper Division.
Dameski was mentored by judge Derek Hough and his sister Julianne Hough before his performance. He told the siblings that his routine was inspired by his grandparents, who have been an important part of his life, but who are back home in Australia and in declining health. So the Houghs encouraged him to dig deep and really pour out those emotions on stage.
He did just that, but the judges weren’t just impressed by his emotionality. They also loved his technique. Jennifer Lopez thought he danced “like an angel” through his routine. Hough appreciated how Dameski’s acrobatic tricks were connected with “movement and fluidity” instead of just going from back flip to back flip. Ne-Yo pointed out a few of the subtler moves in his dance that looked elegant but must have been more punishing than Dameski let on.
The performance scored 91 from Ne-Yo, 95 from Lopez and 93 from Hough, giving Dameski an average of 93. To eliminate him from the competition, at least three other competitors needed to score better than that, but one by one they fell shy of his high marks. He clinched a spot in the Division Final when there weren’t enough competitors left to knock him out, though the performance by Latin cabaret duo Karen y Ricardo that closed the show blew away all the competitors. They scored 99, which knocked Dameski down to second place.
It might be hard for Dameski to compete against Karen y Ricardo in the Division Final since hardly anyone in any division has been able to match their scores. So if there are any stops he hasn’t pulled out yet, now’s the time.