‘World of Dance’ recap: Who made it through week 7 of ‘The Qualifiers’ as the Duels round quickly approaches [UPDATING LIVE BLOG]

World of Dance” season two held its seventh round of “Qualifiers” on Tuesday night, July 17. There’s just one episode left for contestants to qualify for the next stage of the competition before “The Duels” begin next Wednesday, July 25. So who were this week’s top competitors? And who will they face in the head-to-head next stage of the competition? Read about all of this week’s developments below in our live blog with all the minute-by-minute developments as they happen.

You only need an average score of 80 or above from the judges during “The Qualifiers” to make it through, and the earlier weeks of this round were chock full of elite performances. In the season premiere episode alone five of the seven acts scored over 90, including the Upper Division duo of Karen y Ricardo, who got the highest score ever recorded on the show (99.7).

In later “Qualifiers” episodes such undeniable performances were fewer and farther between. Eva Igo, who returned this season after reaching the finals in season one, was the only score over 90 in “The Qualifiers 4,” and no one scored that high in “The Qualifiers 5.”

It wasn’t until the end of last week’s “Qualifiers 6” that a performance got back into the stratosphere. The Junior Team Division troupe The Rock Company blew the judges away, scoring a remarkable 96.7 for their dance in honor of the shooting victims in their hometown of Las Vegas last fall. That was the highest score yet for a Junior Team act.

The more and more performances that the judges see like that, the higher the standard will be when “The Duels” start. That will be a one-on-one knockout round, so performers who aren’t up to par will go home immediately. Follow along below starting at 10:00pm Eastern to find out who made it and who (if anyone) didn’t quite have what it takes. (All times listed are Eastern.)

10:00 p.m. – Last week the fight to win the title of “World’s Best Dancer” intensified. Tonight, the Qualifiers continue. New competitors hope to leave their mark on the world’s biggest stage. Who will move forward in hopes of winning the $1 million grand prize? Let’s find out!

10:05 p.m. – The first act to hit the stage tonight is Cubcakes Dance Crew, a group of adorable junior hip-hop dancers with plenty of sass. Casually dressed in jeans and panda t-shirts, they overwhelmed the judges with cuteness overload before the dancing even started. But when these girls hit the dance floor it’s purely business. They hit HARD, have acrobatic moves and the best facial expressions to date. It’s not the cleanest routine by any stretch, but they nailed it.

10:08 p.m. – Jennifer called it “strong, clean and precise” before telling them they have the makings of a “really great dance crew.” Ne-Yo loved the flips and felt uncomfortable judging the youngsters. Derek also complimented their moves and reminded them that they aren’t just cute, they’re fierce. For their scores, Derek gave them 80, Ne-Yo 84 and Jennifer 85 for an average score of 83. Cubcakes Dance Crew is moving on to the Duels!

10:15 p.m. – Up next is the power duo returning from last season, Luka & Jenalyn. They were heartbroken when the judges cut them last year, stating “there wasn’t enough dance.” This season they’re determined to prove they belong in the world’s biggest dance competition. They were careful to focus specifically on their dance moves for the first third of the routine before Luka showed off his brute strength by completing some of the most ridiculous lifts I’ve seen on a stage. Jenalyn is impressive as she flies through the air, but when it comes to dancing, Luka still looks a bit stiff.

10:18 p.m. – Jennifer can see the growth from last year and she’s happy they are back. Derek told Luka not to do the body roll next time (which is the move that made me think he looked stiff). Ne-Yo told Luka he needs to pay attention to his face because he constantly looks like he is straining. For their scores, Derek gave them 87, Jennifer 86 and Ne-Yo 88 for and average score of 87. Luka & Jenalyn are heading to the Duels.

10:25 p.m. – Next up is The Jam Project, a crew of tap dancers in the Upper division that are hoping to bring sexy back to tap. They have been tapping together since they were kids and have a strong connection. The six-man crew is bringing the rock & roll to the stage tonight as they work the crowd  with smiles and show off varying styles. I can’t judge the difficulty of tap, so let’s see what the judges say!

10:27 p.m. – Derek said to be clean in a tap team is difficult and he loves their counter-rhythms. Ne-Yo appreciates how they used the entire stage and got the audience involved. Jennifer said it’s a classic art form and they need to bring that legacy with them. For their scores, Ne-Yo gave them 82, Jennifer 83 and Derek 84 for an average score of 83. The Jam Project has qualified for the Duels!

10:35 p.m. – At the halfway point of tonight’s episode is Marinspired, a contemporary duo in the upper division. We don’t see a two-male duo often, so this is an exciting spin on traditional dance. While these two don’t feel graceful, they’re incredibly athletic and I like their charisma. It was fun to watch!

10:37 p.m. – Jennifer stood up at the end of the performance and said it was “awesome.” She also commented it was the first time they’ve had two men on the stage portraying a relationship. Derek said it wasn’t “beautiful” but it was “abstract.” Ne-Yo said “the lack of order is what makes it beautiful.” For their scores Derek gave them 90, Ne-Yo 88 and Jennifer 96 for an average score of 91.3. Wow! I enjoyed them but I’m shocked by Jennifer’s score. I look forward to seeing their next dance. Following the scoring Jennifer said “anyone who can’t appreciate that is just scared.”

10:42 p.m. – Up next is another duo Alisa & Joseph, a couple that is romantically involved and describes their style as contemporary urban dance. Right off the bat I love the constumes! They’re ready to tell a story of two nerds at the beginning stages of love. Their moves are intricate but what’s most entertaining is their storytelling, which we don’t always get from artists on “World of Dance.” I loved it!

10:45 p.m. – Jennifer called it “adorable” and “delightful.” Ne-Yo loves when it “feels real” but he feels like he’s seen it before. Derek appreciates their movement and clarity, but isn’t sure it can be competitive. Jennifer interrupts and says “I think it absolutely is.” For their scores Ne-Yo gave them 92, Jennifer 94 and Derek 86 for an average score of 90.7. Alisa & Joseph moving on to the Duels!

10:47 p.m. – Next up are The Gentleman, a junior hip-hop duo who also happen to be brothers. They’re dancing to a Ne-Yo song so hopefully they can impress him! They have a lot of energy and they’re fun to watch but editing cut the performance short. That might not be a great sign!

10:48 p.m. – Jennifer said it felt like “two brothers dancing on the street.” But they need to take it to the “stage level.” Derek said they have swag and groove. For their scores, Ne-Yo gave them 81, Jennifer 79 and Derek 79 for an average score of 79.7. So close!

10:50 p.m. – Next up was Dragonhouse. They are a trio that specialize in the animation style of dance. I recognize at least one of them from a previous season of “So You Think You Can Dance.” Their performance was also cut short so I doubt they will move forward. For their scores Derek gave them 79, Jennifer 80 and Ne-Yo 81 for an average score of 80. Dragonhouse barely slides into the Duels by the skin of their teeth! Wow! They better bring it next time.

10:55 p.m. – The final act of the night is Quad Squad, a junior contemporary dance crew. They feel that their quad strength and flexibility give them the edge over other dancers. They’re out to prove to girls that they can be strong and beautiful. They enter the stage like a real team. There are nine of them so they fill the stage and are clearly well-trained. It feels like the level of competition completely shifted. One girl did a spin with her ankle up behind her head – a move I’ve only seen figure skaters do. They’re incredible!

10:58 p.m. – Derek called them a great team. Ne-Yo loved their movement and also complimented the girl that baffled me saying “I thought you had a roller skate on!” Jennifer said there were some mind-blowing moments in the routine and they all played to their own individual strengths. For their scores Jennifer gave them 86, Derek 90 and Ne-Yo 91 for an average score of 89. What? How could they not get the top score of the night??? Regardless, Quad Squad is moving on to the Duels!

10:59 p.m. – That’s a wrap for tonight! Seven acts advanced to the Duels led by Marinspired’s score of 91.3. Next week the Qualifiers conclude on Tuesday and the Duels get started on Wednesday.

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