I can usually see where the “World of Dance” judges are coming from even when I don’t agree, but I think they blew a call big time on Sunday night during The Duels 3 when the Junior Division was cut down from 10 performers to 6. Kayla Mak went up against Funkanometry in their head-to-head, single elimination battle. After they both performed, I thought Mak had it in the bag. But the judges picked Funkanometry instead. Watch their Dueling performances above and decide for yourself who should have gone through to the next round.
Kayla Mak combines ballet with contemporary dance, and that unique fusion made her the third highest scoring act in her division during the Qualifiers round, so she got to choose her opponent for the Duels and she settled on the hip-hop duo Funkanometry. That was a risk since Funkanometry did well in the Qualifiers too: they ranked fifth in the division. But she thought she could beat them, and judge Ne-Yo had questioned whether Funkanometry’s choreography was competitive on the world stage.
Funkanometry’s hook is their humor and personality, which set them apart from numerous other hip-hop acts in the competition. But while Jennifer Lopez thought they “moved the crowd” and delivered “great entertainment,” and they made Derek Hough laugh — in a good way — their choreography still lacked the complexity of other hip-hop acts this season, even during the same Duels.
Mak performed next, and Hough told her that her moves were “on another level,” and all the judges raved about the innovative way she performed the Milly Rock dance en pointe, so even though Lopez dinged her for a couple of admittedly wobbly balance checks, she had by far the more difficult routine and I thought she’d sail through to the next round.
Alas, even though she was reasonably scored — 90s from Ne-Yo and Lopez, 93 from Hough, for an average of 91.0 — the numbers for Funkanometry were through the roof relative to their choreographic content. They got 92s from Ne-Yo and Hough and a 91 from Lopez, giving them an average of 91.7. The judges have eliminated more sophisticated choreography than that this season.
Luckily for Mak, her score was high enough to qualify her for a redemption round dance at the end of the night against House of Tap, who had lost their Duel against Lauren Yakima. Mak emerged victorious from that battle, but I don’t think she should have had to redeem herself in the first place. Will she get her revenge against Funkanometry when she faces them again in the next round, the Cut? Vote in our poll below to let us know who you think gave the best performance during the Junior Division Duels.