‘World of Dance’ recap: The 8th and final ‘Qualifiers’ set the stage for the ‘Duels’ [UPDATING LIVE BLOG]

After nearly two months of performances the first round of “World of Dance” season two came to an end on Tuesday night, July 24. “The Qualifiers 8” was the last opportunity for contestants to impress the judges before “The Duels” get underway immediately on Wednesday, July 25. So who advanced to the next round, and who if anyone fell short when Jennifer Lopez, Ne-Yo and Derek Hough made their final pronouncements? Find out below in our live blog with all of the night’s developments as they happen.

You might think nothing could surprise the “Dance” judges after eight weeks of qualifying performances, but the contestants have still had some new tricks up their sleeves. Week seven brought the show its first same-sex romantic dance duo, marInspired, who got that night’s highest score. And before week-eight aired on Tuesday night NBC previewed this season’s first flamenco performer, Victoria Caban.

But the qualifying dancers will have to work even harder to stand out when they compete in “The Duels.” That’s a head-to-head battle round where competitors will face off against another act in their respective divisions — Upper Division (age 18 and up with as many as 4 members), Upper Team Division (18 and up with more than 4 members), Junior Division (under 18 with as many as 4 members), and Junior Team Division (under 18 with more than 4 members). The winner of each battle will move forward to “The Cut,” while the loser will be eliminated. That makes the stakes higher than ever.

Did any of tonight’s performers look like they have what it takes to survive “The Duels,” and maybe go all the way to the million-dollar world final at the end of the season? Find out below in our minute-by-minute recap starting at 10:00pm. (All times listed are Eastern.)

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10:00 p.m. – For the past seven weeks, dancers from around the world have been chasing their dreams. Tonight, the Qualifiers come to an end and the remaining acts have one final shot and securing a spot in The Duels. Who will move one step closer to the $1 million prize? Let’s find out!

10:05 p.m. – Up first is Victoria Caban, a 14-year old Flamenco dancer who loves to express her inner “ferocious tiger.” She is proud to represent Puerto Rican culture at a time when the country needs everyone’s support. This girl is dressed to the NINES in a flowing gown and dazzling, low-hanging earrings. I love her passion. This girl is FIERCE! But I can’t help but think this would be more effective within a duo or group.

10:10 p.m. – Jennifer said Victoria’s lines are exquisite and she loves Victoria’s power. Ne-Yo applauded her for incorporating different styles into her dance. Derek said she is the Misty Copeland of Flamenco. For their scores, Ne-Yo gave her 89, Derek 90 and Jennifer 93 for an average score of 90.7. Victoria is moving on to The Duels!

10:17 p.m. – Next is Pursuit, an Upper-level contemporary dance team. They’re all working odd jobs in Los Angeles as they pursue their dreams as professional dancers. Dressed in blue suits, this seven-person group comprised of both men and women immediately kicked things off with some complex lifts and throws. This piece was full of hard-hitting movements, but it didn’t give me “the feels” I wanted it to. Jennifer, on the other hand, got “goosies.”

10:20 p.m. – Jennifer thought they were great. Ne-Yo enjoyed it “top to bottom” and felt it was elevated contemporary. Derek enjoyed that they used counter-rhythms in their movement. For their scores, Ne-Yo gave them 86, Jennifer 89 and Derek 86, for an average score of 87. Pursuit will now compete in The Duels!

10:25 p.m. – The next act on the stage is L&J, a duo that is performing a contemporary dance. I’m distracted because they are dancing to a Pink song and I feel like I’ve seen Pink do this in her show. They’re unquestionably talented, I just didn’t see anything I haven’t seen before.

10:26 p.m. – The judges were so moved by their passion they ask if L&J are a real-life couple. They laugh it off and admit to both having boyfriends. For their scores, Derek gave them 88, Jennifer 89 and Ne-Yo 94 for an average score of 90.3. We will see L&J in The Duels.

10:28 p.m. – We quickly move on to The Pulse, a junior ballroom act from Utah. Derek along with his sister, Julianne Hough and many other successful ballroom dancers hail from Utah, so this crew could be one to watch. This group consists of four couples, which fills the stage with so much more energy than ballroom duos. I wasn’t blown away by their moves, but it was entertaining enough.

10:30 p.m. – Derek found some of their movement a bit erratic, but they were overjoyed when he joined them on stage for a personal lesson. Jennifer said there is stuff they need to work on. Ne-Yo said they have potential but they’re not quite there yet. For their scores, Ne-Yo gave them 78, Jennifer 84 and Derek 79 for an average score of 80.3. The Pulse squeaks through for their shot in The Duels!

10:39 p.m. – Up next are Avery & Marcus, a junior duo who dance a fusion of contemporary and ballet. They immediately capture the attention of the judges when they walk out on stage in leather and point shoes. I find their mix of acrobatics, flexibility and ballet refreshing. It’s at least something I wasn’t expecting and that I haven’t seen before!

10:40 p.m. – Jennifer said they are great dancers but she could feel their nerves. She tells them to believe in how amazing they are. Ne-Yo was impressed by their skill and flexibility, but thinks they need to “level-up.” Derek loved their energy, but saw struggle in their transitions. For their scores, Ne-Yo gave them 85, Jennifer 83 and Derek 84 for an average score of 84. I’m excited to see what Avery & Marcus do in The Duels!

10:46 p.m. – Next up are the Funkywunks, an Upper-level hip-hop group from Orlando. The all-male dance crew represent different races, ages and sexual orientations but always remain true to themselves. Dressed in bright clothing, these guys are full of energy on the stage. They’re almost like a cheer squad because they definitely pumped up the crowd and even threw in a few twerks.

10:48 p.m. – Jennifer commented on their ability to make the audience smile and have a good time. Ne-Yo thought it was fun from start to finish. Derek loved the trajectory of the routine. For their scores, Derek gave them 85, Jennifer 87 and Ne-Yo 89 for an average score of 87. Funkywunks have blasted their way into The Duels!

10:50 p.m. – Featured in a quick montage were various junior acts including Iowa Girls who scored 87.3, Dem Raider Boyz who earned 84, Girlcool achieved 81.7, Second to None tallied 82.7, Lil Killaz Crew scored 83, 3 Xtreme brought in 83.3  and Tribe Unleashed earned 83 to move on to The Duels. Also moving on are Upper Level dancers Opus Dance Collective who scored 80.7 and Angyil who earned 85.3. The full performances of these acts can be viewed on YouTube.

10:55 p.m. – The last act to perform tonight is Morning of Owl, a street fusion dance crew from South Korea. They’ve been dancing together for 18 years and have won various competitions throughout Asia. There’s something graceful about their movements even though they’re hard-hitting street dancers. They create great lines. Just when I thought this was just “okay,” they broke out some of the coolest moves I’ve ever seen in a dance competition! These guys are sick. Loved it!

10:58 p.m. – Jennifer called it “spontaneous” and “fun.” Ne-Yo loved their incorporation of martial arts. Derek thought it started slow, but was wowed by the end of it. For their scores Ne-Yo gave them 82, Jennifer 86 and Derek 84 for an average score of 84. They were robbed on that score, but they’re still moving on to The Duels!

11:00 p.m. – That’s a wrap for The Qualifiers! We will be back tomorrow covering The Duels. “World of Dance” will continue to air on Wednesday nights throughout the remainder of the season.

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