They’ve made it through the Qualifiers, and they’ve made it through the Duels. This weekend “World of Dance” enters its next round, the Cut, which is aptly named since it will cut the field in half. Will Upper Division soloist Briar Nolet advance to the next round? NBC has released a preview of her performance (watch it above), but we’ll have to wait until Sunday night to find out what the judges thought.
I think Nolet is one of the most outstanding acts of the season with clean, precise, flowing movements and almost unparalleled acrobatic skill. And our readers have been consistently wowed by her as well. But her scores from the judges have left much to be desired. She averaged 87.3 in the Qualifiers, which was just over the 85.0 threshold she needed to advance. And then she lost her Duel against the duo All Ready with a score of 90.3. She would have been eliminated outright had the show not instituted a new redemption round for the highest scoring dancers who lost their Duels. She won redemption, and now she really has something to prove.
Nolet’s Cut routine may be her best yet. She dances to Celine Dion‘s “Ashes,” which was recorded as a tongue-in-cheek love ballad for “Deadpool 2.” But Nolet plays it straight, and true to the lyrics of the song, beauty comes out of “Ashes.” She executed gymnastic maneuvers I can hardly describe while delivering the kind of emotional intensity the judges are usually looking for in contemporary dance routines. And it seemed to get strong reactions from Jennifer Lopez, Derek Hough and Ne-Yo while they were watching it.
But will they give her scores to match? Many contemporary soloists this season have struggled to get the numbers I think they deserve. No matter what happens (it’s possible her five opponents will legitimately blow her out of the water), let’s hope Nolet gets her due when the scores go up.