“World of Dance” begins its third season tonight on NBC — its first spring season following previous editions that took place during the summers of 2017 and 2018. But even after a couple of years of elite international contestants the world doesn’t seem to have run out of talent, as evidenced by this performance by Junior Division soloist Lauren Yakima. Could the contemporary phenom follow in the footsteps of season one finalist Eva Igo or season two finalist Michael Dameski? Watch a sneak peak of her routine above.
Yakima does sure remind me of Igo and Dameski. She has the same acrobatic complexity, the same otherworldly flexibility, the same intensity. And though you don’t see the judges’ critiques in the preview video above, Jennifer Lopez can be heard during the performance admitting that she got “goosies” — that’s goosebumps for the “World of Dance” uninitiated. And Derek Hough looks like he’s having an out-of-body experience with her every contortion. At the end of Yakima’s dark, moody interpretation of the song “(I Just) Died in Your Arms Tonight” as remixed by Hidden Citizens, the trio of panelists launch to their feet in a standing ovation. Something tells me she’s going to advance to the next round pretty easily.
In season one Junior Division champion Igo became a fan-favorite for the precocious intensity of her contemporary dances, but she narrowly lost to hip-hop duo Les Twins. She returned in season two but was eliminated surprisingly early. However, season two delivered another contemporary solo dark horse: Australian “So You Think You Can Dance” champ Dameski, who pulled off a huge upset just by making the finals last year. Alas, he too fell short of the world title. Will Yakima go all the way, and maybe even win?