“World of Dance” aired its second week of Duels on Wednesday night, August 1, and after the end of the first two-hour Duels episode on July 25 we were ready for anything. So which competitors advanced to the next round, and who was knocked out of the competition altogether? Find out below in our live blog with all the minute-by-minute developments as they happen.
So far three acts have moved on to the Cut round in the Upper Division (age 18 and over with up to four members): Karen y Ricardo (who defeated Luka and Jenalyn), BDash and Konkrete (who defeated Pasha and Daniella) and Michael Dameski (who defeated Angyil).
Two Junior Teams (under age 18, more than four members) also advanced to the next round: Expressenz (who defeated The Untouchables) and The Fabulous Sisters (who defeated Rascals).
One Upper Team (18 and over, more than four members) advanced when The Bradas overtook The Jam Project.
And one competitor from the Junior Division (under 18, up to four members) moved on: Avery and Marcus, who unexpectedly took down returning favorite Eva Igo.
That battle of Avery and Marcus against Eva Igo closed the show last week, and it was the night’s biggest upset. Igo was the runner-up for the entire competition last season, so the fact that she was knocked out at such an early stage of the competition came as a shock, even to the judges who decided the outcome.
Were there any upsets that big as the Duels continued on August 1? The show already previewed one Duel between Junior Division rivals Vivian Ruiz and Charity and Andres (watch that sneak peek here). Find out below in our live blog, starting at 8:00pm (all times listed are Eastern).
8:00pm — Looks like there’s going to be a perfect score tonight. I wonder who’s going to get it!
Junior Team Division: The Lab vs. Lil Killaz Crew
8:03pm — Jennifer Lopez thinks the Killaz are especially formidable because b-boys learn to dance by battling. The Duels are their natural habitat. But host Jenna Dewan thinks the Killaz need to work on their cleanliness to overtake the Lab.
8:06pm — The Lab is up first. They’ve got tons of intensity, innovative shapes, great unison, great attitude. Lopez thinks it’s the best group routine she’s seen, adult or junior. That’s high praise — I’m not sure I’d go that far. Derek Hough jumped out of his seat. Ne-Yo thinks they’re superheroes and they have great synchronicity. They move like one person. I agree that they might be tough to beat.
8:10pm — I think the Lil Killaz killed it, They threw everything at the wall, though they might not have had quite the synchronicity of the Lab. Jennifer thinks they have upped their game. Derek thought they had great musicality. Ne-Yo agrees with me that it was a little chaotic. I think the Lab is going to win this one.
Scores for The Lab: Ne-Yo (95), Jennifer (95), Derek (95) — Average: 95
Scores for Lil Killaz: Ne-Yo (84), Jennifer (87), Derek (85) — Average: 85.7
8:13pm — Wow, that wasn’t even close, though I think the judges made the right call with this one.
Upper Division: Alisa and Joseph vs. Elektro Botz
8:18pm — Ne-Yo wants to see something more complex than their qualifying performance for them to survive the Duel. And Derek was skeptical about whether they’ll be competitive.
8:19pm — Jenna at least thinks they’ve taken it up a notch, and they’d have to since they picked the team that scored the next highest behind them for their Duel to prove they can cut it.
8:21pm — Alisa and Joseph take the stage first. They have incredible control, and their movements are precise and pristine, but their style is very subtle and doesn’t lend itself to big showstoppers, so I’m a little concerned for them.
8:23pm — “A gentleman would not be afraid of three kids,” says Joseph about his competitors. Ne-Yo thought they were “super-smooth,” but he too wonders if they’ll really be competitive against the Botz. Ne-Yo and I seem to be on the same page tonight. Jennifer thought it was a solid routine, but her praise was a little muted too. They’ll need to keep their fingers crossed.
8:28pm — Elektro Botz are definitely solid, but I was expecting more fireworks. This might be closer than I expected. Jennifer thinks they’re evenly matched and both “solid,” but both could have pushed the choreography a bit harder. Derek agrees that nothing stood out as an obvious winner from either team. Ne-Yo wanted them to be a little cleaner. Hmmm, I might have to give the edge to Alisa and Joseph personally. But just barely.
Scores for Elektro Botz: Ne-Yo (85), Jennifer (85), Derek (91) — Average: 87
Scores for Alisa and Joseph: Ne-Yo (88), Jennifer (87), Derek (88) — Average: 87.7
8:32pm — That was predictably close, though I’m surprised Elektro Botz scored so much higher from Derek. That seemed a little generous. But either way Alisa and Joseph have the lowest-scoring winning routine of any Duel so far, so they’ll need to kick it up a few notches for the next round. I could definitely go for that perfect-scoring routine right about now.
Upper Team Division: Desi Hoppers vs. Opus Dance Collective
8:38pm — Desi Hoppers were the highest scoring Upper Team competitors, so they’ll be tough to beat. But this will be two wildly different styles — Indian hip-hop vs. Canadian contemporary — so anything could happen with this Duel.
8:40pm — Jenna says the Desi Hoppers will wow the crowd, so Opus will need to pull the heartstrings and tell a story. Emotional resonance is the difference between winning and losing a Duel, especially if it’s close. But Opus are going first, so they’ll need to leave a lasting impressive.
8:42pm — I can’t point to anything I disliked about that Opus performance, and there were many lovely moments, but it stopped short of electrifying me. Jennifer appreciated the story they told, but Derek didn’t have his breath taken away. Ne-Yo also didn’t feel as much of the emotional connection he was hoping for, especially since it was supposed to be their strong suit. I don’t think it’s looking good for Opus.
8:48pm — I’m way more impressed by the innovations, shapes, and energy of Desi Hoppers. I think Opus might be toast. Jennifer loves how they “run the gamut” of emotions, and their fusion of styles sets them a “level above” other teams. Derek finds them refreshing. And Ne-Yo appreciates that no one dances the way they dance. I think they’re close to locks to win this round.
Scores for Desi Hoppers: Ne-Yo (90), Jennifer (90), Derek (91) — Average: 90.3
Scores for Opus Dance Collective: Ne-Yo (80), Jennifer (85), Derek (85) — Average: 83.3
8:51pm — Another complete blowout, and a well-deserved victory by Desi Hoppers! But still no perfect score. Maybe they’re saving it for the end of the show like last week’s Eva Igo showdown.
Junior Division: Sean and Kaycee vs. 3 Xtreme
8:56pm — Sean and Kaycee were the highest scoring performers in the Junior Division during the Qualifiers, scoring 96. The hip-hop fusion duo is up against hip-hop, so their styles are similar, but 3 Xtreme only scored 83.3 in the first round, so they might be at a disadvantage.
8:58pm — 3 Xtreme are excited to face off against the best of the best, but Jenna warns them not to let their excitement and energy hurt their cleanliness. Keep it sharp, kids!
9:00pm — Jennifer Lopez appreciates their “fight,” thought she wanted it to be cleaner. Ne-Yo enjoyed it, though he thought the moves were “messy” at times. Derek loved the entertainment value, but he too called them “messy” at times. Jennifer finishes by saying they were good, but “not otherworldly good.” Not a good sign.
9:02pm — Sean and Kaycee were definitely cleaner and more creative, though I wouldn’t necessarily say it rocked my world. Ne-Yo thought they had amazing musicality, though he didn’t feel an emotional connection. Jennifer strongly objects to that last critique and calls it “poetry in motion.” Derek loved the musicality too, but wants them to frame it a little differently. Though there was some disagreement on the panel, I expect all three of them to give this to Sean and Kaycee.
Scores for 3 Xtreme: Ne-Yo (86), Jennifer (87), Derek (88) — Average: 87
Scores for Sean and Kaycee: Ne-Yo (95), Jennifer (93), Derek (92) — Average: 93.3
9:06pm — I’m not surprised by the outcome, but I am surprised that Ne-Yo gave Sean and Kaycee the highest score since Jennifer was the one who defended them against Ne-Yo’s critique.
Upper Team Division: Royal Flux vs. Lock n LOL Crew
9:10pm — Royal Flux are returning from last season, hoping to do better. They’re a contemporary team who had so much grit that one of their dancers performed in the Qualifiers with a broken foot. But the foot is about “85% better” according to the injured dancer.
9:12pm — Jenna warns Royal Flux to maintain perfect unison, which could be the key to success or failure. And the Korean Lock n LOL Crew needs to careful with their props: they’re using fans. No guts, no glory!
9:13pm — Royal Flux take the stage first. They did an excellent job with a lot of clever tricks, but no wow moments for me. I wanted a little bit more from that routine. Derek appreciated their synchronicity and their “amazing” work. It started slow for Ne-Yo, but it picked up as it went along. Jennifer was also effusive with her praise, but she wasn’t jumping out of her seat with excitement, so I think they left the door open for Lock n LOL.
9:20pm — Lock n LOL definitely brought their A-game … or at the very least their B+ game. I thought it was excellent, but also not mind-blowing. But Jennifer Lopez had an amazing finish, and Derek gave them a standing ovation and “loved the routine from start to finish.” And Ne-Yo thought they were highly innovative within their locking discipline. I think this may be Lock n LOL for the win.
Scores for Lock n LOL: Ne-Yo (89), Jennifer (89), Derek (90) — Average: 89.3
Scores for Royal Flux: Ne-Yo (86), Jennifer (89), Derek (90) — Average: 88.3
9:24pm — Poor Royal Flux disappointed again after falling short last year. I think the judges got it right, but it was another relatively low-scoring winner. Lots of dancers have been eliminated this round with scores better than 90, so to win with an 89.3 means they’ll need to take it to the next level during the Cut round.
Upper Division: MarInspired vs. Dragon House
9:29pm — I’m rooting for MarInspired in this round given how original and emotional they were in the first round. Dragon House were a little disappointing in the Qualifiers and just barely advanced to the Duels.
9:30pm — Brutal honesty: MarInspired admitted they picked Dragon House for their Duel because they had the lowest score in their division. Okay, that’s a little cynical for me. Even if you really feel that way, you could at least pretend to respect the competition.
9:32pm — Okay, MarInspired win back some sympathy: they’re performing a routine inspired by a teenage dancer who was killed during the Parkland school shooting earlier this year. The dancer was a student of their choreographer.
9:33pm — MarInspired are up first. Solid routine, cleanliness isn’t their strong-suit, but their rough-around-the-edges emotionality is their strong suit. I think they were good, but vulnerable. Derek thought it was a little anti-climactic at times. Ne-Yo thinks they’re difficult to judge since it’s so abstract, but he thought they were a bit “pedestrian.” Jennifer defends them for their storytelling. But I agree with the judges to a degree. I think Dragon House might overtake them.
9:36pm — Dragon House definitely improved from round one. I was impressed by their work, but I don’t think it was a decisive victory. Ne-Yo thinks they were holding back. Derek thought they had great musicality, but he wanted it to be more dynamic. Jennifer admired how they made some moves look new. Personally, I’d give this round to MarInspired because they’re doing something markedly different from other competitors.
Scores for MarInspred: Ne-Yo (85), Jennifer (87), Derek (88) — Average: 86.7
Scores for Dragon House: Ne-Yo (85), Jennifer (84), Derek (90) — Average: 86.3
9:40pm — Another close call. And it was about as close as you could get. Not only was it numerically down to the wire, but it was a split decision for the judges too. Jennifer preferred MarInspired, Derek prefered Dragon House, and it was a draw according to Ne-Yo. But again, an 86.7 probably won’t cut it during the Cut. I don’t think MarInspired will ever be the cleanest or most acrobatic team, so they’ll need to tap into their emotionality and storytelling even more in the next round. Maybe they should borrow some of Eva Igo’s angst.
Junior Division: Charity and Andres vs. Vivian Ruiz
9:44pm — NBC already previewed this battle online, and from the looks of it Charity and Andres knocked it out of the park. I wonder if this will be the perfect-scoring routine. Because it was unbelievable. And they choreographed it themselves, experimenting with brand new lifts.
9:47pm — Vivian is up first. It’s a lovely, emotional performance with great flexibility and emotionality, but it feels a bit like Eva Igo-lite, though I think it’s more dynamic than Igo’s Duel performance. Jennifer loves Vivian “so much right now … It moves me to tears.” Derek thought she stuck every moment and thanks her for the gift. Ne-Yo also thought it was a “great job.” Really great critiques. I have a feeling that the loser of this round is going to have one of the highest scores of the night, which is a real shame.
9:55pm — All three judges up out of their seats. “That was crazy!” Jennifer exclaims. She’s almost speechless. Ne-Yo thought they did things human beings shouldn’t able to do. And when they found out they choreographed it themselves they were even more astonished. Yep, they’ve definitely got the perfect 100.
Scores for Vivian Ruiz: (95), (96), (96) — Average: 95.7
Scores for Charity and Andres: (100), (100), (100) — Average: 100
9:58pm — A well-deserved perfect score for Charity and Andres, but as I expected Vivian got one of the highest scores of the night. Actually, she got the second highest score of the night. That’s right, she got a higher score than everyone else who won their Duels tonight. The only performance that was better was the one she lost to. No offense to some of those other outstanding dancers, but can we get some kind of judges’ veto for next year so a 95.7 doesn’t get eliminated while an 86.7 advances to the next round?
10:01pm — On the plus side, the judges practically begged Vivian Ruiz to come back next season. They saw the writing on the wall that the second best performance of the night would have to be eliminated.