The “World of Dance” Duels continued for the third week on Wednesday night, August 8, but were the results as dramatic as they have been for the last two weeks? Follow along with our live blog below for all the minute-by-minute developments as they happen.
The first week of the Duels ended with an upset: first-season runner-up and fan-favorite Eva Igo was eliminated after the Junior Division duo of Avery and Marcus unexpectedly outscored her in their head-to-head match-up. That demonstrated just how much more intense the competition has gotten just from one season to the next. So all of this year’s competitors need to stay on their toes — literally.
The second week of Duels ended with a bang too. It wasn’t a surprise victory, but there was a historic score. Junior Division duo Charity and Andres set the standard for all other teams — and for themselves going forward — by scoring a perfect 100 from all three judges: Ne-Yo, Jennifer Lopez and Derek Hough. In two seasons of the show that was the first time anyone ever got a perfect score. Unfortunately, that came at the expense of eliminating Vivian Ruiz, who earned such a high score she would have beaten everyone that night but Charity and Andres.
So what did week three of the Duels have in store for us? Were there any jaw-dropping routines? Any shocking upsets? Any monumental scores? Follow along below starting at 8:00pm (all times listed are Eastern). And let us know what you thought of this week’s competition below in the comments or here in our reality TV forums.
8:01pm — Looks like there’s going to be a three-way Duel tonight! An odd number of competitors in the division perhaps?
Junior Division: Jaxon Willard vs. Lucas Marinetto
8:03pm — Junior soloist vs. Junior soloist. But two vastly different styles. Jaxon is a contemporary dancer and Lucas is a tapper. But I like seeing a head-to-head between soloists.
8:04pm — Jaxon’s routine is inspired by his feelings about being given up for adoption by his birth mother. Emotion goes a long way with the judges on this show, so it might be tough for Lucas’s tap routine to match that intensity. Lucas knows he’ll have to put out “the best performance of my life” to beat Jackson.
8:06pm — Jaxon is up first. His movements are so well controlled, and his transitions are so incredibly fluid. This is one of the best solo contemporary routines I’ve seen this season so far, even compared to Eva Igo, and he got a standing ovation from the judges. “You should be so proud of this guy,” says Ne-Yo to Jaxon’s adoptive mother. Jennifer thinks God gave him “the ability to fly … There’s an elegance to the way you dance, and it’s an honor to watch it.” Derek calls Jaxon a “master storyteller.” I don’t envy Lucas right now.
8:10pm — Lucas definitely brought intensity and charisma to his routine, but I don’t think it’ll be enough to beat Jaxon, not as much emotional connection. Jennifer admires him as an entertainer. Ne-Yo thought he was the essence of cool, and Derek thought it was satisfying to hear such crisp clear sounds from his tapping. But those were some muted compliments compared to Jackson. I don’t think he has a chance.
Scores for Lucas Marinetto: Ne-Yo (86), Jennifer (89), Derek (89) — Average: 88
Scores for Jaxon Willard: Ne-Yo (97), Jennifer (98), Derek (93) — Average: 96
8:14pm — Lucas tearfully embraced his mother after losing the Duel. I feel bad for him. Jaxon certainly deserves his spot in the next round, but the show definitely benefits the emotional vulnerability of contemporary over the subtle intricacy of tap.
Upper Team Division: Poreotics vs. Marissa and the Heartbreakers
8:18pm — Time for the Duel that was previewed online by NBC. They were almost too close to call when I watched their routines the first time. I’m looking forward to seeing them again and especially looking forward to hearing what the judges think. I thought Poreotics had a slight edge.
8:20pm — Host Jenna Dewan warns Poreotics to make through their odd theme (“beach yoga”) comes through to the judges. The Heartbreakers are intimidated by the Poreotics, who have won competitive dance competitions before, but they’re ready to represent as the only all-girl group in the Upper Team Division.
8:22pm — Wow, I’m incredibly impressed again by the Heartbreakers’ flexibility. Poreotics certainly don’t match them on that dimension. Derek thought they “elevated” their routine from their Qualifier. Ne-Yo admired their “great artistic choices.” Jennifer reminds everyone that they’re performing in “stilettos,” which is remarkably impressive, but she thought the choreography was a bit “wobbly.” I think I liked this performance better than the judges, who were mostly complimentary but fairly subdued in their praise. Now I think Poreotics may be a lock to win this match-up.
8:30pm — Okay, watching this Poreotics routine again after hearing them describe it as “beach yoga” … I’m definitely not getting the “beach yoga” part, but I’m still loving the choreography. Derek loved the “centipede moment,” but it took a while to get to the best bits. Ne-Yo agrees that they needed to take advantage of their whole time on the stage and to fill their entire routine and not take so long to get to the good part. Jennifer thought it was “stellar,” but she too sounds a bit underwhelmed relative to her comments. This might actually be close.
Scores for Poreotics: Ne-Yo (86), Jennifer (89), Derek (88) — Average: 87.7
Scores for Marissa and the Heartbreakers: Ne-Yo (81), Jennifer (85), Derek (85) — Average: 83.7
8:33pm — Not a complete blowout in terms of the scores, but a decisive victory for the Poreotics. But Derek warns the winners to frame their routines better, make them fuller and more complete.
Junior Division: Jonas and Ruby vs. Freshh
8:39pm — Time for a young ballroom duo going up against a hip-hop quartet. “We are doing everything we can to get as many points possible,” says Ruby. But Jonas acknowledges that when two styles that are so different compete against each other “anything can happen.”
8:41pm — Jenna warns Freshh to add a couple of “fresh,” more contemporary touches to their ’90s-inspired moves.
8:42pm — Jonas and Ruby are up first, doing an Argentine tango. My only experience with this style is watching it on “Dancing with the Stars,” but it’s always one of my favorite styles there. Their movements are incredibly sharp and precise, and they managed to mix in a couple of surprise costume changes. I’m impressed. Jennifer is “a sucker for a quick change on stage,” and she appreciates the drama they added their their impeccable tango. Derek gave them a standing ovation, which is the most you can ask for from the ballroom specialist on the judging panel, but he took the stage to give them a couple of pointers, as he is wont to do. I wonder if he’ll do that with every ballroom contestant. You can’t keep that guy off the stage for long. Ne-Yo thought they were so smooth they looked like they were on skates. Rave reviews all around, so I’m liking their chances.
8:50pm — Great job by Freshh, a nice combo of fast moves and slow-moving swagger, with great synchronicity. Jennifer thinks they greatly improved from their first performance. Ne-Yo appreciates their increased personality from their first routine; he thinks it will be a tough call. Derek thought the music didn’t quite match all of their movements, though he did love most of their moves. I’d give the edge to Jonas and Ruby myself, and I think the judges will too.
Scores for Jonas and Ruby: Ne-Yo (90), Jennifer (90), Derek (94) — Average: 91.3
Scores for Freshh: Ne-Yo (90), Jennifer (88), Derek (86) — Average: 88
8:53pm — The judges agreed with me on this one, but Ne-Yo actually gave both teams the same score, so he declared it a tie. However, Jennifer liked the ballroom team a little better, and Derek liked them a lot better — by eight points!
Upper Team Division: Pursuit vs. The Ruggeds
8:59pm — A contemporary team take on a breaking crew from the Netherlands. Pursuit did slightly better during the Qualifiers, but this might be a close contest, since neither team really broke out in a big way in the first round. Jenna thinks Pursuit needs to increase their difficulty level in this round going up such a highly technical breaking team.
9:02pm — The Ruggeds are up first. A lot of great, inventive tricks, but not always that clean or synchronized. Their innovative moves definitely help them, though. Ne-Yo appreciates them for adding more dancing in-between their tricks. Jennifer thinks the dancing still needs to be stronger and more together. Derek loved the transitions, but he agrees with Jennifer that the dance moments in-between their tricks still need work. They’ve definitely left the door open. I suspect Pursuit will have the stronger technique, but they’ll need to have enough difficulty to match the Ruggeds’ tricks.
9:09pm — I’d say Pursuit were solid, but not necessarily show-stopping. I’m not sure how this will go. I have a feeling this will be one of the lower-scoring Duels. Jennifer thinks Pursuit need to stick to their strength, so she didn’t quite like the hip-hop they added to their contemporary work. She feels how I feel, that neither team really owned their routine tonight. Ne-Yo liked the song better than the routine, feeling it was a missed opportunity. Derek loved their abstract movement, but felt there was a disconnect between song and choreography. I think The Ruggeds are going to win this one.
Scores for Pursuit: Ne-Yo (80), Jennifer (84), Derek (83) — Average: 82.3
Scores for The Ruggeds: Ne-Yo (85), Jennifer (84), Derek (85) — Average: 84.7
9:13pm — Ne-Yo warns The Ruggeds still has work to do even though they won this Duel. It won, even though it was one of the lowest scoring routines of the night, so they need to step it up in the next round.
Junior Team Division: Dem Raider Boyz vs. Cubcakes Dance Crew vs. Flip
9:15pm — There are three teams left in this division, so they’re all going against each other. I’m most excited to see the Cubcakes, who serve such good stank face.
9:17pm — “They have their work cut out for them, says Jenna about Cubcakes, who are the youngest team in the competition. So Jenna is working with them on their timing. Unfortunately, one of the Cubcakes injured herself 10 minutes before their performance, landing on her head while practicing a maneuver.
9:23pm — “We’re going to do it all for her,” says one of the Cubcakes about moving forward with their performance without their injured teammate. Now I’m really rooting for them to win, but Flip is going first in the triple Duel.
9:24pm — I really love Flip’s complexity and symmetry, and their black-and-white vertical-striped pants really accentuate their movements and coordination. Jennifer was surprised at how well they were able to elevate their waacking style. Derek gave them a standing ovation and called them “razor-sharp … This was definitely a redemption dance.” Ne-Yo thought they proved why they belong on the show. That will be a formidable routine for the other two to beat.
9:28pm — Dem Raider Boyz took a while to heat up, but when the music dropped out and their stepping really took over, it really came alive. Derek thought they improved on their Qualifiers performance. Jennifer loved their stepping work when the music dropped. And Ne-Yo thought they did an excellent job of keeping their energy up. But none of them sounded as enthusiastic as they were during Flip’s routine, so I have a feeling the waackers are the ones the Cubcakes will have to beat.
9:32pm — I loved watching the Cubcakes. They have the best energy and attitude of any of these teams, though their choreography isn’t quite as intricate as Flip’s. But everyone is crying when the injured teammates joins the rest of the Cubcakes on stage, so I’d still kind of feel bad if they don’t win this Duel. Jennifer thinks their “attitude is beautiful.” Derek thinks they’re “so sassy it’s ridiculous,” and he’s impressed at their ability to keep it together after the unexpected injury. Ne-Yo loved how “sassy” and “clean” they were. But I still have a feeling Flip will edge them out.
Scores for Cubcakes Dance Crew: Ne-Yo (88), Jennifer (88), Derek (88) — Average: 88
Scores for Dem Raider Boyz: Ne-Yo (86), Jennifer (84), Derek (86) — Average: 85.3
Scores for Flip: Ne-Yo (90), Jennifer (88), Derek (93) — Average: 90.3
9:38pm — Jennifer declared a tie between Cubcakes and Flip, but even though it was close Flip’s performance was too big to fail here. Ne-Yo lets them know, though, that they’ll need to keep reinventing themselves to make their waacking competitive in the next round.
Upper Team Division: Connection vs. Funkywunks
9:44pm — Connection are the first hip-hop team from Mexico, and they were the third highest scoring Upper Team Division connection. they picked Funkywunks because they wanted to be evenly matched with their rivals, and the ‘Wunks are a similar style of hip-hop team. Jenna thinks Funkywunks are a “home run” as long as they’re clean.
9:47pm — Bring in da noise, bring in da ‘Wunks — the Funkywunks are up first! They’re incredibly good at what they do, and their routine was clean with two or three really show-stopping, innovative moves, but I think the door is open for Connection. Jennifer liked their innovation and a move Derek calls “The Artichoke” (the team calls it “The Carousel,” but I like “The Artichoke” better). Ne-Yo thought their blend of the old and the new “worked perfectly.” Derek was also sold on their retro flair.
9:53pm — Connection had me from the first beat. More playful and clever in its choreography than the Funkywunks, and they used the music (“My Humps” by Black Eyed Peas) expertly. Jennifer didn’t like the music choice as much as I did. Derek thinks the dancing elevated the song (I agree). Ne-Yo thought they had enough personality to pull off the song choice. I’d personally give this battle to Connection, but it sounds like it’ll be close from those judges’ comments.
Scores for Connection: Ne-Yo (85), Jennifer (86), Derek (85) — Average: 85.3
Scores for Funkywunks: Ne-Yo (84), Jennifer (85), Derek (86) — Average: 85
9:58pm — The closest battle of the night, with Ne-Yo and Jennifer picking Connection by one point, and then Derek picking Funkywunks by one point. This Duel came down to a mistake on one trick by the Funkywunks. That’s about as close as you can get.