“World of Dance” was off last week due to the Independence Day holiday. Now that everyone is recharged — and hopefully air conditioned — how did the dancers do in episode six of season two, which continued the “Qualifiers” round? Scroll down to find out in our live blog with all the minute-by-minute developments as they happen.
This was the sixth week of the qualifiers round, in which the contestants dance for judges Jennifer Lopez, Ne-Yo and Derek Hough in the hopes of receiving average scores of 80 or more to advance to the next round, the single-elimination “Duels.” There were only three weeks of qualifiers in the 10-episode first season last summer, so we’ve already gotten twice as much fancy footwork. And the first five weeks of competition already delivered plenty of showstoppers.
We asked our readers who gave the best performance in the first five episodes, and a leading 34% of respondents picked Junior Division duo Sean and Kaycee for their fusion hip-hop performance in the season premiere episode. But they weren’t the highest scoring dancers so far. Karen y Ricardo performed that same night and received the highest average in the show’s history, 99.7. But they had to settle for second place in our poll with support from 31% of readers.
No one in week five on June 26 reached highs that high. It was a relatively slow night as far as the judges were concerned, with no one scoring better than 87; Junior dancer Madison Brown and Upper Team Royal Flux tied with that high score. Meanwhile, one unlucky group, the Upper Team Silver Beat, scored 78.7 and just barely missed a spot in the next round.
Whose dreams came true in week six, and who if anyone got their hearts broken like Silver Beat did? Find out below as we recount all of the night’s developments starting at 10:00pm. (All times listed below are Eastern.)
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10:00 p.m. – It’s time for another episode of the biggest dance competition in the world! Tonight the Qualifiers continue as the greatest dancers from around the globe compete for a spot in the Duels and the $1 million grand prize. Let’s get started!
10:05 p.m. – Up first is a married ballroom couple who call themselves DNA. Last season during the Duels, Denys and Antonia suffered a fall and were eliminated from the competition. Now they’re back stronger than before and determined to prove they deserve their place in the competition. They begin with a dramatic entrance to operatic music. I’m instantly captivated by Antonia’s flowing red gown as Denys carries her across the stage on his shoulders. They then move into their intricate footwork which is impressive to watch. As a casual viewer, I’m not blown away in terms of the entertainment value, but I can appreciate their high level of talent.
10:08 p.m. – Jennifer loved that they returned and have improved this season. Ne-Yo appreciated that Denys has been hitting the gym and didn’t appear to suffer with any of the lifts. Derek thought their dance was amazing and Antonia has amazing legs. For their scores, Ne-Yo gave them 85, Jennifer 89 and Derek 89 for an average score of 87.7. DNA is back in the Duels!
10:15 p.m. – Next to the stage is Brotherhood, a Canadian hip-hop crew from Canada. They love to tell stories on stage and admit to spending absurd amounts of money on costumes. This week they’re dressed in hockey uniforms and I’m curious to see what they do. I love the level of energy they bring to the stage and they’re all about having fun. The general b-boy moves are interspersed with difficult acrobatics. There were a couple of cool moves such as one member being propelled across the stage like a hockey puck, but they don’t stand apart from countless other hip-hop crews I’ve seen.
10:18 p.m. – Derek thought they were clean, intricate and in sync. Ne-Yo wanted them to work more with props and thought they’re facial expressions gave off a cheerleader vibe (in a bad way). Jennifer thought they were lacking some “IT” factor and she wanted it to be a little grittier. For their scores, Derek gave them 85, Ne-Yo 81 and Jennifer 75. Dang Jennifer! Brotherhood barely made the Duels with an average score of 80.3.
10:25 p.m. – The third act to perform is Vivian Ruiz, a 16-year old contemporary dancer competing at the junior level. She’s pouring her teenage heartbreak into her dance. After being dumped by her boyfriend, Vivian is ready to leave her heart on the dance floor. From the top of the routine she shows grace and flexibility as she spins and leaps across the stage. She has great movement, but I would have liked to have seen more interesting choreography. I’m not sure she’s strong enough to advance far in the competition without some help from strong mentors.
10:28 p.m. – Derek thought she was elegant and beautiful. Jennifer appreciated the softness and delicacy of her performance. Ne-Yo felt the pain in her performance and told her to keep her head high. For their scores, Ne-Yo gave her 83, Jennifer 84 and Derek 82 for an average score of 83. Vivian is moving on to the Duels!
10:32 p.m. – Up next are The Untouchables, a junior ballroom group. D’Angelo Castro is the leader of the group. Last season he competed as part of a duo, but is now ready to bring a whole new level of showmanship. His sister Ruby has already advanced to the Duels as part of her own duo so this family has talent! This crew is dressed in colorful yellow costumes with headdresses. The energy is incredible for such young competitors and they are bringing the Miami heat! I’m always blown away by how these ballroom dancers move their feet. This group has also incorporated Brazilian capoeira moves. The Untouchables have those intense facial expressions down and I’d give this crew an A!
10:35 p.m. – Jennifer loved the Latino energy they came out with and believes they have the makings of something really exciting. Ne-Yo loved the Brazilian vibe, but didn’t know where to look sometimes because there was too much going on. Derek enjoyed the various dance styles they incorporated. For their scores, Ne-Yo gave them 87, Jennifer 89 and Derek 90 for an average score of 88.7. The Untouchables are moving on to the the Duels!
10:42 p.m. – Up next are ST Kingz from Tokyo, Japan. They love incorporating joy and humor into their performances and emerge on stage with big smiles and dressed in dapper suits. They use their clothes as props and have a great sense of musicality by matching their moves to the music. They’re like an old vaudeville group transported into 2018. I love these guys!
10:45 p.m. – Derek thought it took too long to get to the dancing. Ne-Yo said they had more showmanship than technique. Jennifer wanted them to dig in a lot more. For their scores Ne-Yo gave them 79, Jennifer 78 and Derek 80 for an average score of 79. Boo! ST Kingz have been eliminated. They were my favorite performance of the night so far!
10:47 p.m. – Ashley & Zack are a contemporary duo from Los Angeles and make their living as dancers. They’ve worked with artists such as Prince, Chaka Khan, Gwen Stefani and even Derek Hough! I’m expecting big things! They’re giving a sensual performance full of intricate spins and lifts. This is pure erotica on stage but I ain’t mad! These two have more than sex appeal; they are lightning fast and strong to boot. Ashley and Zack are pros and appear in it to win it.
10:50 p.m. – Ne-Yo liked that they were sensual but not raunchy. Jennifer loved their cleanliness but criticized their song choice. Derek loves the emotion between the two of them and was impressed by their innovative moves. For their scores, Ne-Yo gave them 84, Jennifer 84 and Derek 87 for an average score of 85. The judges are harsh tonight! Jennifer was so turned off by their song choice (“Versace on the Floor” by Bruno Mars) that she was tempted to send them home just for that.
10:55 p.m. – Last to perform is The Rock Company, a junior contemporary group from Las Vegas. They’re dedicating their dance to the victims of last year’s tragic shooting in their home town. Dressed in all white, flowing outfits they look like some sort of heavenly creatures. Immediately their performance feels like it is on a whole different level than everything we’ve seen tonight. Each of them are fueled by passion and show incredible technique. The judges are on their feet and Jennifer couldn’t help but to run to the stage and hug them.
10:59 p.m. – Jennifer said it was powerful and showed true artistry. Derek said they produced something magical and special. Ne-Yo said there is nothing better than emotion that is REAL! For their scores, Ne-Yo gave them 97, Jennifer 97 and Derek 96 for an average score of 96.7. That’s the highest score of the night (and highest score of the season in the junior category) and well-deserved. The Rock Company is moving on to the Duels! That’s a wrap for tonight! The Qualifiers continue next week.