I’ve had a bone to pick with “World of Dance” judges this season over how they have treated contemporary soloists, withholding big scores from powerful performances. I was especially annoyed during the Duels when contemporary-ballet standout Kayla Mak lost her head-to-head match-up against hip-hop duo Funkanometry. But Mak won the redemption round that night and earned a spot in the Cut. And on Sunday night she made the most of that second chance by acing the Cut and earning a spot in the Divisional Final. Watch her routine above.
Judge Jennifer Lopez did double duty during the Cut as a mentor to the Junior Division contestants. During her one-on-one with Mak she praised the beauty of technique that comes out of Mak’s classical ballet training, but where she often encourages dancers to allow more softness and vulnerability into their routines, she actually encouraged Mak to dance harder and bring more of a no-holds-barred, ferocious energy to her performance.
That she did. Though I think Mak’s song choice, Hozier‘s “Take Me to Church,” overpowered the intensity she was trying to bring to some of her movements, she nevertheless took me to church with the confidence of her movements and the beauty of the shapes she was able to create with her flexible frame. The judges had a religious experience too because she ended up with an average score of 93.7, which placed her second in the Junior Division and thus earned her a spot in next week’s Divisional Final. She even outdid Lauren Yakima, who had been a front-runner in the division but was surprisingly eliminated during the Cut.
Could Mak go from just barely avoiding elimination to potentially winning the million-dollar grand prize at the end of the season? Make your predictions here in our predictions center.
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