Time is up for performers who want a chance to advance to the Duels on “World of Dance.” The final Qualifiers round took place on Sunday night, March 10. So who did judges Jennifer Lopez, Ne-Yo and Derek Hough send through to the next round, and who fell short? Scroll down for our live blog with all the minute-by-minute updates as they happen.
This season the contestants had to score 85 points during the Qualifiers to advance to the next round. That’s up from the 80 points needed to advance in seasons one and two. But even though the bar has gotten a little higher, most of the dance acts we saw in the first two Qualifiers episodes were up to the challenge. However, the math is a lot different during the Duels, and it could be a lot harder to survive that round.
That’s because the Duels will be one-on-one battles where the score you need to advance depends on the caliber of opponent you’re up against. For instance, you could make it through with a score of 85 if your rivals scores, say, 84 from the judges. At the same time, though, you could be eliminated with a score of 99 if you’re up against an act that gets a perfect 100.
Going into Qualifiers 3, no one had yet scored 100 from any of the judges, and maybe it’s too early for numbers that high, but it wasn’t too high last season. In season two the Qualifiers included a performance by Karen y Ricardo that averaged an extraordinary 99.7 thanks to perfect scores from Ne-Yo and Lopez. Find out below if anyone made that big of an impact on Sunday night starting at 8:00pm (all times listed are Eastern).
MKAM (Junior Team Division)
8:03pm — A high school team from California with green hair and purple jackets — I’m getting Joker vibes from this crew. They’re a rock-solid hip-hop team, but this routine didn’t necessarily show me anything I haven’t seen before.
Judges — Ne-Yo sees them like a “genuine” team with seamless transitions, but they lost steam towards the end and the choreography wasn’t very intricate. Jennifer agrees they were “so clean that everything was a beautiful picture,” but she also thinks they need to step up their choreography. Derek thought their routine was “fire” with “creative” transitions.
Scores — Ne-Yo (88), Jennifer (89), Derek (92) — Average: 89.7
8:10pm — Those scores were very generous, and the judges’ post-dance commentary makes it sound like half of those points were for the purple jackets. I liked their style, but this isn’t “Project Runway,” guys.
Denise and Josh (Junior Division)
8:16pm — They’re a contemporary teen duo who have known each other for four years. We’ve seen a lot of contemporary duos on the show, and a few really dynamite teen duos in particular, so the standards are high. “The goosies is the goal,” says Josh about how he wants to impress Jennifer Lopez.
8:18pm — The choreography was very good, and there were a very particularly memorable tricks, but what really distinguished them was their emotional presence. We haven’t seen that much this season. Terrific performance.
Judges — Derek loved that they left enough space in the movements to convey the emotions: “I have high hopes for you.” Ne-Yo thought they expressed “real emotion,” and he can’t think of a single negative thing to say. Jennifer did’t even take notes because she was so involved in their movements, but she thinks Denise needs to work on her upper-body movement to match Josh better.
Scores — Ne-Yo (90), Jennifer (92), Derek (91) — Average: 91.0
8:21pm — Jennifer adds that she had “goosies from head to toe,” so Josh achieved his goal. High score, and well deserved. One of the better routines of the Qualifiers.
Invictus (Junior Divison)
8:26pm — Short segment. Jennifer thought they needed more time to develop, and they were eliminated with 82.0.
The Rookies (Upper Team Division)
8:27pm — Short segment. Jennifer thought their choreography was too elementary, so they were eliminated with 83.0.
Main Guys (Upper Team Division)
8:28pm — A Norwegian hip-hop crew. No offense, but I hope their dancing is more memorable than their name.
8:29pm — A really excellent routine, one of the better hip-hop performances I’ve seen in the Qualifiers so far. A great use of the physical space, great synchronicity, perfectly clean and precise, the formations and shapes were unique.
Judges — Derek thought they “absolutely crushed that routine.” Jennifer loved their unique style that is “swaggy, easy and cool.”
Scores — Ne-Yo (89), Jennifer (89), Derek (91) — Average: 89.7
8:31pm — Excellent, well-deserved scores. I thought they were better than MKAM, though, so the fact that they got the same average surprises me.
Kozmic Edge (Junior Team Division)
8:37pm — One member of this team, Victoria Caban, competed last season as a flamenco dancer, and now she’s with a hip-hop troupe. That’s … an unexpected transition. It turns out she’s really good at hip-hop, and now I’m wondering if Caban would have been even better last season if she mixed a little more hip-hop into her flamenco, or if this performance had more flamenco in it.
Judges — Ne-Yo wanted more passion from the whole crew. Jennifer felt the routine wasn’t intricate enough, and that maybe the team isn’t seasoned enough.
Scores — Ne-Yo (83), Jennifer (83), Derek (83) — Average: 83.0
Unity LA (Upper Team Division)
8:40pm — Ashley and Zack from season two are part of this contemporary team. they were disappointed by their loss last season (they were eliminated in the Division Finals), so they decided that this season they would bring their friends along for the ride.
Judges — Standing ovations from all three judges. Derek got goosies on his thighs. Jennifer thought it was an “amazingly dynamic, strong group of dancers” and the routine had great musicality — “It was out of this world.” Ne-Yo was wowed by how the group managed to create such dynamic movement set to just vocals and violin. Derek concludes, “You guys are an absolute force to be reckoned with in this competition.
Scores — Ne-Yo (97), Jennifer (94), Derek (95) — Average: 95.3
8:46pm — An extraordinarily high score, one of the highest of the season. I’m not sure I would have gone that high, but I agreed with the judges about how well the group matched the intensity of an unusual piece of music to dance to. I’m looking forward to seeing what more they’re capable of.
Str8 Jacket (Upper Team)
8:52pm — Short segment. Jennifer was disappointed that they abandoned their narrative midway through their routine, so they were eliminated with 83.7.
Battle Droids Crew (Junior Team Division)
8:52pm — This group from Belgium spent some time backstage flirting with the all-girl junior team Intention, but right at the beginning of their routine there looked like a major mistake on a lift. The rest of it was strong, though, and they ended with one member doing a remarkable slo-mo head spin with no hands. That might have made up for the initial mistake.
Judges — Jennifer thinks they have some work to do to clean up their style. Derek gets on stage to have them demonstrate the move they bobbled on; it looked great, but Derek has no choice but to dock them a point for the error. Ne-Yo admired their perseverance.
Scores — Ne-Yo (85), Jennifer (87), Derek (89) — Average: 87.0
8:57pm — A well deserved score. Strong routine, and they really did make up for that big boo-boo with the rest of their performance.
Intention (Junior Team Division)
8:58pm — The team Battle Droids Crew was flirting with, so the Belgians better hope these ladies make it through this round. I’m not sure, though. It was a lovely routine, but the choreographic content was somewhat simple. It doesn’t seem especially competitive.
Judges — Jennifer thought it was “subtle and touching.” Derek felt they were “likable.” Ne-Yo thought it was “crystal clear all the way through.” The critiques were a little muted, but they might make it through.
Scores — Ne-Yo (88), Jennifer (88), Derek (87) — Average: 87.7
9:01pm — I’m not sure I would have scored them 85 for that performance. After the great roll-off at the beginning, the steps felt fairly routine. But at least they’ve still got a shot with Battle Droids Crew. They exchange Instagram information, but Intention intends to “annihilate” the Droids if they face each other in the Duels.
Skyscrape (Upper Division)
9:08pm — Short segment. Classical ballet duo. Derek wasn’t sure how well it would hold up compared to other dancers in the competition, so they were eliminated with 83.7.
Derek Piquette (Upper Division)
9:06pm — He had one of the dancing lead roles in “Cirque Du Soleil: Kooza,” but eventually he started feeling pain in his hips, and he learned he would have to have hip-replacement surgery. After he gets the procedure done he won’t have the same range of motion. Since this might be his last chance to dance at his best, “I’m not holding back at all.”
Judges — Derek thought it was “stunning” and “effortless … You make it look so simple,” but he wants Derek to have a stronger payoff to his routine. Ne-Yo also felt the only part of the routine that didn’t work for him was the very end, but the rest was exceptional.
Scores — Ne-Yo (90), Jennifer (93), Derek (91) — Average: 91.3
9:13pm — Great scores, well deserved for a routine that was soft and fluid but with tons of attack, unique movement and grace. I’m surprised they never mentioned that Piquette also competed in season 12 of “So You Think You Can Dance” just a few years ago. He made the top eight. Maybe “World of Dance” doesn’t want to cross-promote a show on another network, or maybe they don’t have the rights to. This isn’t the first time a “SYTYCD” alum has competed on this show. Last year’s Upper Division champion Michael Dameski won “SYTYCD” back in Australia. And in season one American “SYTYCD” winner Fik-Shun competed.
Audrey and Mia (Junior Division)
9:19pm — A krump duo who have been dancing together for two years.
Judges — Derek loved the juxtaposition of their dance style and their sweet wardrobe style. Ne-Yo wanted more intensity. Jennifer doesn’t think they were both dancing at the same level of intensity.
Scores — Ne-Yo (87), Jennifer (87), Derek (85) — Average: 86.3
House of Tap (Junior Division)
9:21pm — Tap duo! I’m always excited to see tap dancers since it’s so underrepresented on this show. They’re excellent, with great attitude, though I think their choice of a hip-hop song with a heavy beat kind of obscured their dancing a bit. They were actually more impressive backstage.
Judges — Ne-Yo loved their synchronicity and cleanliness, but he too thinks the music overwhelmed their movement and the sounds of their feet. Derek agrees with Ne-Yo, but thought they’re an excellent tap duo. Jennifer loved their swagger.
Scores — Ne-Yo (85), Jennifer (86), Derek (86) — Average: 85.7
9:25pm — “You have to have a routine that kills us,” says Jennifer, warning them that they’ll be dead meat in the Duels if they don’t pull out all the stops. I think what they need to do is drop the music or use it in a more innovative way. Tap dancers have the potential to not only dance to the music, but to be the music.
DD Flection (Upper Division)
9:30pm — This contemporary duo won “World of Dance” in Thailand, which is a little odd. I mean, isn’t Thailand technically the same world as this won. To win a different “World of Dance,” they’d have to fly to Mars or something. They could corner the dance market there.
Judges — Derek says there’s an expectation now that he knows they’re past champions, but he thought the choreography was “stunning,” and their totem pole move was outstanding. Ne-Yo felt the “real emotions.” Jennifer thinks they’re “perfect partners” in an “extremely difficult routine” that they made look easy.
Scores — Ne-Yo (90), Jennifer (95), Derek (91) — Average: 92.0
9:35pm — Now that I’ve seen them perform, I don’t begrudge them another world to conquer. That was excellent. I don’t think that was a million-dollar performance, but it looks like they’re capable of one. And of course they’ve given a championship performance before.
Siudy Flamenco (Upper Team Division)
9:41pm — Short segment. Jennifer felt the regal quality of flamenco from their group performance. So they advanced with 86.7.
Apprentice (Junior Team)
9:42pm — Short segment. Jennifer loved their emotional intensity, but didn’t feel enough physical intensity from them. So they were eliminated with 83.7.
Style and Grace (Upper Team Division)
9:41pm — This Canadian group was inspired to do “World of Dance” because they didn’t see all-female hip-hop crews on the show before, so they came to represent. They’re dynamite dancers, but again it’s nothing we haven’t seen before from hip-hop crews.
Judges — Ne-Yo admired how one member got up after an unfortunate fall, but they thought the choreography needed to be more advanced. Jennifer loves their overalls and thinks they have a lot of potential. Derek could sense their nerves.
Scores — Ne-Yo (87), Jennifer (85), Derek (83) — Average: 85.0
9:46pm — I didn’t think they’d make it to the next round. The routine wasn’t very competitive, but Jennifer is right that they have potential. In the Duels they’ll need to amp up their choreographic content significantly, or hope they get a lucky draw for their opponent.
Radiance (Upper Team Division)
9:51pm — A female team from all over the country but now based out of Los Angeles. They say they’ve never actually danced together before this, which makes me skeptical of how cohesive they’ll be, even though they clearly have the camaraderie.
Judges — Ne-Yo thinks their name fits, but they had a few synchronicity issues. Jennifer loves the group and thinks they had moments of beauty, but she was concerned about their lifts; she wanted more of a story from their routine. Derek says, “There doesn’t always have to be a story,” but feels there should be one dancer who serves as a focal point.
Scores — Ne-Yo (87), Jennifer (87), Derek (90) — Average: 88.0
9:57pm — I’m not sure I understand Jennifer’s criticisms of this routine. There have been plenty of routines that didn’t have a narrative arc, and Jennifer has given rave reviews and high scores to plenty of them. And that includes plenty of the performances tonight. I understood Derek’s objection because this criticism really seemed to come out of nowhere.
DD Flection — 92.0
Derek Piquette — 91.3
Upper Team Division
Unity LA — 95.3
Main Guys — 89.7
Radiance — 88.0
Siudy Flamenco — 86.7
Style and Grace — 85.0
Str8 Jacket — 83.7
The Rookies — 83.0
Denise and Josh — 91.0
Audrey and Mia — 86.3
House of Tap — 85.7
Invictus — 82.0
Junior Team Division
MKAM — 89.7
Intention — 87.7
Battle Droids Crew — 87.0
Apprentice — 83.7
Kozmic Edge — 83.0